TOWN OF AMSTERDAM -- The town planning board met Wednesday night to discuss concerns it has with Power Pallet.
When the board gave the Route 30 company, which specializes in recycling pallets, plastic, paper and other materials, site plan approval nearly a year ago, it was contingent on several conditions.
James Partyka, board chairman, claims Power Pallet has not been in compliance with most of those conditions, even though a site inspector and the town code enforcement officer have visited the property and both said they found no major violations.
Partyka doesn't think that's good enough.
In a memo to site inspector Larry Rogers, Partyka outlined six issues the board has with the company's performance.
Partyka said the company has begun an "obvious construction of a building near the grinding operation," without communication with the planning board.
"We're not idiots," Partyka said.
The presence of "fugitive dust" is also a concern in the area and neighboring properties, he said.
"Also, the dust is highly visible on the new snowfalls," Partyka said.
He said other concerns are the growing amount of wood mulch, or solid waste, on the site, failure to include a wind screen and to keep up with landscaping, and the "unknowns of their operations now being a recycling center."
Partyka is asking the site inspector to visit Power Pallet a second time, because he doesn't believe Rogers took everything into account on his first trip.
"The planning board feels it's necessary to have the town engineer and town code enforcement officer do the necessary work in keeping the best interests of the town at the site," Partyka said. "The planning board feels communication for Power Pallet to the planning board has failed. Therefore, no site plan approval within the law, with or without conditions, can be made in a reasonable time."
Partyka said he will not sign off on the company's site plan, which means it will not be eligible for a certificate of occupancy. Board attorney Charles Schwartz said he doesn't know if that will negatively affect any part of the company's operations.
Partyka wants to send a representative of the planning board to the town board meeting to voice the concerns, because they don't think they're getting anywhere on their own.
Schwartz said the planning board is overstepping its boundaries.
"You're planners," Schwartz said. "You plan. You don't enforce. You don't have that authority."
Schwartz said the board has already had the property inspected and took the proper channels for having their concerns heard. All they have left to do is visit the town board, but if that is not successful, they will have hit a brick wall.
Partyka and other members of the board said they're concerned this will set a precedent for other companies to come to the planning board, submit a false site plan, and then do "whatever they want without repercussion."
"Then why are we doing what we're doing?" Partyka asked. "What's the point?"
Board member James Russo agreed.
"Basically, you can go out and build whatever you want in the town of Amsterdam," Russo said. "Throw your building up, open your doors, have a grand opening, and move forward. That's what it appears to me."
Schwartz said he doesn't agree with that, but again suggested the board visit the town board and voice their concerns. Beyond that, it's out of their hands.
A call to Power Pallet this morning was not immediately returned.