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Neighborhood Activists Continue Negotiations With O&G Officials

January 23rd, 2017 · 18 Comments · Development and Zoning, News and Events

O&G Seaview Ave

O&G Seaview Avenue site. CT Post photo Ned Gerard.

The construction services company O&G, which has supervised a number of city projects including the ongoing construction of a new school to replace Harding High, wants to relocate its asphalt and concrete recycling facility from Seaview Avenue to the West End. The potential move impacts several city neighborhoods and led to the creation of the No To O&G Facebook page. A number of OIB readers including Madeline Dennis who populates Bridgeport In The Know are actively involved in opposition and/or negotiating safeguards if the proposal is approved by Planning & Zoning.

One of the leaders of the No Movement Joe Provey provides an update on the Facebook page sharing insight into the depth of the negotiations.

It has been a busy week: NO to O&G meetings included a Leadership Committee meeting to decide what direction to take as a group (see three options in previous post); a meeting with O&G’s marketing and communications director who is anxious to involve O&G in the Bridgeport community; a meeting with the Health department to meet its new director, Maritza Bond, to brief her on our concerns, and a meeting with P.T. Partners Director, Kate Kelly, to discuss what can be done to assist residents who have been victims of environmental injustice. Last week, at a meeting that included top O&G executives, we submitted a list of concessions we would like to see instituted in the West End in return for NO to O&G in return for considering the latest, semi-enclosed proposal for Howard Ave.

Briefly, the leadership committee agreed to continue negotiations, at least until we learn whether O&G is amenable to making substantial improvements. The meeting with Seth Duke, O&G communications and marketing director, was positive. He is interested in supporting Burrough’s VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) program, food pantry and job training programs … all of which he has implemented in other communities. Maritza Bond was very receptive to our requests, including our belief that we need better air monitoring in the West End. The list of requested concessions appears below. Please read them carefully and give us your thoughts.

At Existing plants:
1. Must use more aggressive misting, truck and equipment washing. This would include misting at all material handling points, including transfer of aggregate to mixers. O&G must have portable mister equipment in use.
2. Cover aggregate piles with tarps during all periods when material not being used and during non-operational hours.
3. Allow Bridgeport health dept. or their agents to make periodic unannounced visits.
4. In an effort to stop all offsite hazardous air emissions, perimeter air quality monitoring on all four sides on a weekly basis for one year or per recommendation of monitoring company.
5. Measure for hazardous air particles, including silica dust, nitrogen oxide and sulfur oxide, or others as recommended by Bridgeport Health Department. Operations cease when acceptable levels are breached.
6. In an effort to stop all off-site hazardous air emissions, efforts must be made to reduce diesel emission when trucks warm and idle.
7. Best practices noise mitigation.
8. Start and close times:
*Manufacturing/Production/Truck start up shall not begin until (7:30 am M – F) and end by 5:30 pm with exception for state-mandated nighttime roadwork.
*Manufacturing/Production/Truck start up shall not begin until (8 am) on Saturday and will end by (3 pm) with exception for state-mandated nighttime roadwork.
*There will be no manufacturing/production on Sundays and Holidays during the week and weekends, with exception for state-mandated nighttime roadwork.

At Proposed facility
1. All trucks must use retractable covers after loading and must be rinsed, including tires, before exiting from site.
2. All piles of processed aggregate/material must be contained inside a building with air exchange filter. A written plan must be created for maintenance of air exchange unit.
3. All dust emissions from handling recycled concrete or asphalt must be contained and controlled using best management practice … with goal of zero dust emissions off site.
4. All processed materials shall be enclosed in a permanent structure equipped with suitable air exchanger, preferably the same building where processing occurs.
5. All piles of material waiting to be processed shall either be covered or managed so there is no chance of fugitive dust escaping off site.
6. Recycling of water used for misting at doorways and elsewhere.
7. All dust emissions derived from truck and equipment material transport must be contained, controlled and minimized.
8. Noise from processing of concrete and asphalt shall be contained and reduced within new building structures.
9. Start and close times:
*Manufacturing/Production/Truck start up shall not begin until (7:30 am M – F) and end by 3 pm.
*Crushing/Production/Truck start up shall not begin until (8 am) on Saturday and will end by 3 pm, with exception for state-mandated nighttime roadwork.
*There will be no crushing/production on Sundays and Holidays during the week and weekends, with exception for state-mandated nighttime roadwork.
10. A traffic report, its scope to be negotiated with the city and neighborhood, shall be conducted and a written report prepared presented to the city and neighborhood.

Additional NO to O & G Demands:
1. Rezoning of Seaview Ave. site in conformance with Bridgeport’s waterfront plan.
2. Allow ample access for fishermen and kayakers at least for 50 yards along Cedar Creek.
3. Dedicated street/yard sweeper for West End sites.
4. Perimeter monitoring of water and air funded by O&G for one year. Scope to be decided by health department and neighborhood.
5. In kind donations valuing 50k per year for 5 years in materials to be administered by Groundwork Bridgeport and used for building and restoring parks and other public spaces.
6. Set up O&G Foundation for training/educating area youth, especially from areas most adversely affected by operations (P.T.Barnum Apartments, Marina Village, and East End neighborhoods near Seaview Ave). Funding level to be discussed but could be predicated upon a percent of work done in Bridgeport.
7. No expansion of asphalt and concrete recycling north of Howard Ave.
8. Landscaping on Wordin, Osborne and Bostwick, with plant choices designed to filter particulates from air. Removal of barbed wire where feasible.
9. Cease and desist if operation comes into non-compliance for any reason.
10. Repave heavily used roads in West End Eco-Industrial park as required by director of public facilities.

Above list was prepared with the assistance of Diane Lauricella, an environmental consultant. Please contribute to our Gofundme.com page to help support her work. Or send our treasurer, Vince Aurelia a check made out to NO to O&G Coalition, 150 Alsace St., Bridgeport, CT 06604.

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18 Comments so far ↓

  • Frank Gyure

    I have been involved with this to a certain degree. Generally, I don’t like the idea of these type of poison piles being in a densely populated area. I certainly believe NO OTHER CT SHORELINE/I-95 CORRIDOR municipality would allow this. Bridgeport,once again, is being treated as a dump. It is also unfortunate this post did not elicit more comments on OIB. It looks like most of the people on OIB don’t care about this.

    • Jennifer Buchanan

      Frank, the people who started this are honest, active and effective citizens. I have known many of them very well for many years. They believed the mayor when he told them he was 100% on their side, with No to O&G and get their commercial business out of Bridgeport. Sadly, the group has been convinced compromising is the only option because of the possibility of lengthy and costly lawsuits. This happens far too often in Bridgeport. It’s not that people don’t care, it’s fighting the machine that wears people down and out. It’s criminal.

      • Ron Mackey

        Jennifer Buchanan, I’m in total agreement with you, what in hell is there to NEGOTIATE? NOTHING, O&G must take their business to another City or Town.

        • Frank Gyure

          The issue is what can P&Z approve or reject based on the present zoning of the areas in question.

          • Jennifer Buchanan

            They have and will approve or reject what the mayor tells them to approve or reject. Long history of witnessing this happening, mayor after mayor after mayor. It really is that simple.

  • Frank Gyure

    First of all I am glad to see some more comments. I have personally met with members of the “membership” committee. They are GOOD people. I am starting a conversation that this approach of a long list of unenforceable, unmanageable procedures will NOT work. It may look good on paper but we need to be realistic. WE (whomever that may be) might sign off on this list, which gives O&G the “cloak” of community support. I think we need to really need to think about giving O&G the imprimatur of community support. Personally speaking, I would rather present a higher standard of doing business in Bridgeport and LOSE (at P&Z etc.) instead of giving O&G the perpetual imprimatur of community support for a very long list of demands which, frankly, I don’t think O&G and the City of Bridgeport can or will maintain.

    • Joe Provey

      Glad to see all this fighting spirit and hope you all show up for the February 27th Planning and Zoning meeting. Contrary to several assertions here, the NO to O&G Coalition and its leadership committee will not compromise without enforceable concessions from O&G that would monitor and reduce net pollution in the Black Rock, West End and South End. We felt it was incumbent upon us to attempt to achieve a net reduction of pollution in the area before simply saying NO. After all, many of our members live a stone’s throw from one or more O&G plants, not miles away or a thousand miles away as in the case of Jen. If the attempt to garner substantial concessions fails (as it looks it may), we will vigorously oppose the proposal.

  • Stringfellow

    I understand people why they do not want O&G in Bridgeport. The noise and health issues notwithstanding.

    I have said this before. If O&G leaves, what will replace it? I am not sure what they pay in taxes but an empty lot pays nothing. I hope those who want them gone have a plan for replacement and not years down the road either.

    This list of demands just won’t fly, O&G is not obligated to meet them let alone sustain them. They may be a bad neighbor but they are a paying bad neighbor and there are not a lot of these left. You don’t want that area to sit for years abandoned. I can’t say who wants the property right now. Perhaps they could sell it to Scinto, he seems to have the golden touch.

  • DougDavidoff

    Quite simply, they have to go. The Seaview Avenue land on Mill Creek has many promising alternatives bridging Steelpointe, East Side, Barnum Station, and Mill Hill/Bridgeport Hospital. The Howard Avenue land can be developed better and be a good neighbor to Cedar Creek, the South End, UB, and Seaside Park. It’s a shameful proposed use of waterfront, and their record makes them a wholly undesirable neighbor, not a good one. Goodbye. Please go.

    • Ron Mackey

      Thank you, Doug. There was no deal made when there was a plan to place two asphalt plants, one in the South End and the other at the foot of Pleasure Beach. Chris Caruso led the charge to stop that effort based on health issues for children and the elderly. Once again, there is no need to negotiate anything, it’s just no.

  • Stringfellow

    There is plenty of vacant waterfront and landlocked property all over the city. A movie theater and a hotel is the next phase for Steelpointe. I do not know how many hotel rooms are needed in Bridgeport. How many rooms at the Holiday Inn go unfilled per month? How long will this so-called luxury movie theater be able to sustain itself? The city needs something better than this.

    The city has a reputation with crime and malfeasance in city hall. People have long memories for this, so it has an effect on moving the city forward. Downtown needs more foot traffic than the daily commuters. How about something where people can go before or after a ball game or an event at the arena?

    I know the city did not get this way overnight but it was poor planning and the economic downturn is why things are they way they are. Once or if O&G leaves you can add the vacant property to the long list of the other vacant properties.

    People will say we got rid of a company that was bad for the neighborhood. Perhaps those same people will say what going to happen to it now.

    • Ron Mackey

      Seeing as you have all the answers, then answer this question, who are you. Don’t be scared, just be honest and give your name. Here’s a great idea, let’s keep that business here in your neighborhood.

  • Stringfellow

    I do not have all the answers, Mr. Mackey. Let’s just say I am a person who had high hopes when I was hired by the city. No, I would not want O&G in my neighborhood. No more than people who live by a hospital or airport. The city has been going in the wrong direction for too long.

    There doesn’t seem to be a commonsense approach to fix it. Seeing the city from the inside I can see why this is.

  • Ron Mackey

    Well, poisoning the residents with different companies setting up business in Bridgeport is not the answer. Just look what happened in Flint Michigan in trying to save money, they were poisoning their own residents. If it’s good enough to be in your community then it’s good enough for everybody else.

  • Ron Mackey

    As someone who resides in Seaside Village I see NOTHING good coming from negotiating the health of those who live in that area, how do you negotiate my health and what level of poison O&G will put into my body and those in the area? There is NOTHING to negotiate, the only solution is for O&G to find another city or town that doesn’t mind putting poison in the air for their residents to inhale.

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