Howe defends position in legal controversy with town

Ralph Howe, one of the four candidates for a one-year term as selectman, is involved in a legal controversy with the town, which will come before the Board of Appeals at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 2. Board of Appeals meetings are open to the public. Howe is appealing rulings by Codes Officer Paul Mitnick that he has expanded his business, Bio Renewable Fuels Corp (BRF), without planning board approval and is therefore in violation of town ordinances. Through his lawyer, Howe claimed at the Oct. 2 selectmen’s meeting that he has not expanded the business, and since previous Codes Officer Scott Pierz approved what he is doing, he does not need a permit now. In the appeals board filing, Howe’s attorney, Kristin Collins, of Preti-Flaherty, writes that BRF has had wastewater treatment lagoons and storage tanks on the property at 168 Weeks Mills Road since 2012.

BRF was not required to get a commercial permit to start operations and, Collins writes, received a 2012 building permit to add 4,400 square feet to an existing building and a 2015 building permit for a 25-by-40-foot water treatment building “without being required to obtain approval of a new or expanded commercial use.”

Collins writes that BRF has a state waste discharge license that “covers the entire property and all of BRF’s wastewater disposal and treatment activities at the property.”

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