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TLA-Holbrook Lawyers Misleading the Public
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original article in Oct. 9, 2019 Randolph Journal-Sun
Oct. 4, 2019
Recent articles in the Journal & Sun about the TLA-Holbrook trash transfer station reflect confusion about the zoning permit blocked by the Holbrook planning board on September 18. Confusion reigns because the TLA-Holbrook legal team distributed an intentionally misleading letter, on which I'd like to cast some light.
In the Sept. 25 edition of the Journal & Sun, an excellent article, "Holbrook board derails trash station," detailed how the Holbrook planning board failed to approve a required permit, and the dozens of people in the audience and the community (including myself) cheered our first major victory. Because of public participation in the process, by residents from Randolph, Avon, Braintree, as well as Holbrook, the members of a Holbrook board for the first time declined to kowtow to the TLA-Holbrook LLC's wishes.
But then on Sept. 23, the TLA-Holbrook LLC's lawyers sent out a letter declaring that the failed permit had been "constructively granted" (whatever that means) because an August 15 deadline had been missed. This letter was sent "BY COURIER" (as noted by the clever lawyers in the distributed copy – all that really means is they paid Fedex $15 instead of a 55-cent stamp) to the Holbrook Town Clerk, and pretended, misleadingly, that the permit had already been granted and therefore the Sept. 18 vote was too late and hence overturned.
None of that is true – it's all lawyers' tricks intended to mislead the public. And the lawyers' tricks are working – the discussion on Facebook, and in public meetings that I've attended since then, all say things like, "Well, the lawyers beat us on a technicality, but I suppose we have to follow the rules, and we'll know better next time." In fact, the lawyers have NOT beaten us – they just wrote their letter to SOUND like they have already beaten us, to try to dishearten us and to get us to stop pressuring Holbrook to do the right thing.
The legalese mumbo-jumbo of their letter simply means that they intend to appeal the Sept. 18 permit vote. And that means that opponents should attend more meetings to show that the public overwhelmingly opposes the TLA-Holbrook trash transfer station. I list the next upcoming meetings below, or you can write to the "recipient" of the lawyers' courier letter, Town Clerk Jeanmarie Tarara, at 50 North Franklin St., Holbrook MA, 02343, to express that she should see through the lawyers' tricks and listen to the public.
The trash station would be built on a toxic waste site adjacent to the Randolph-Holbrook commuter rail (right on the border of Randolph, which is downstream on several waterways). I oppose the TLA-Holbrook trash transfer station on "environmental justice" grounds – Holbrook gets all the benefits from the project, while Randolph gets most of the toxic runoff, the foul smell, the garbage truck traffic, and the environmental risk.
With the RATTS coalition (Residents Against the Trash Transfer Station), I'm acting as the "Toxic Waste Watchdog," and wow, the TLA-Holbrook project needs a watchdog! We will keep an eye on their legalistic shenanigans, and work to ensure that they follow all the rules, and that the Holbrook permit boards listen to public input. But we need YOU to provide that public input! Public pressure WORKED to persuade the planning board in their Sept. 18 vote – and public pressure will work again in the future!
Upcoming meetings include:
- The Holbrook Conservation Commission meets for a permit hearing on Oct. 28 at 7:30 PM at the Holbrook Town Hall Heritage Room. (Re-scheduled at the last minute, from original Oct 7 date)
- The Holbrook Board of Health meets with state DEP and federal EPA for a 5-year review of the toxic waste site, on Oct. 23 at 6:30 PM at Holbrook Town Hall, 50 North Franklin Street.
- The RATTS coalition can be reached at StopHolbrookTS@gmail.com – please download and sign our petition at www.JesseGordon.com/TLA