Bigger Trucks Affect Neighbors

Letters / Jul. 11, 2002 12:00am EDT

Bigger Trucks Affect Neighbors

We want to take this opportunity to explain a few of the reasons why we oppose Vt. Pure’s current permit applications for increased development of their spring site on Rogers Road in Randolph Center.

First, we must say that like many others in town, until recently we thought of Vt. Pure as a clean industry that is good for Randolph and for Vermont. However, all of that changed with their new practice of using 18-wheeler tankers instead of the small milk truck previously used to haul water on Rogers Road. These trucks are loud, large, and out of place on a rural dirt road—and even at 20 trips (10 truckloads of water) per day, which is the current permit condition, they have fundamentally changed the character of this neighborhood and our ability to enjoy a quiet, peaceful life in the country.

We do not object to Vt. Pure expanding and succeeding as a business; that is to be valued and even celebrated by the community that takes pride in this once small business that has grown and recently achieved $75 million in sales, according to Bruce MacDonald, chief financial officer. What we cannot celebrate—and in fact must oppose—is development that infringes on the rights of town residents and taxpayers. That is precisely what is being proposed in this case.

The facts are the following:

Vt. Pure consistently has operated the Rogers Road site in violation of their Randolph conditional use permit, which specified 6 a.m.-4 p.m. as hours of operation and a limit of 8-10 truckloads/day.

With the milk truck, VT Pure started trucking at 2:30 a.m. and ran until midnight on most days, pulling an average of 20 loads/day, and with the tankers they continue to exceed the number of truckloads (even though each tanker carries double the water carried by the milk truck) and the hours of operation, while denying they are in violation of their permit.

Vt. Pure wants permission to develop more springs on the site, to expand the pump house and install a pump for faster filling of trucks, to excavate a hillside to increase space for maneuvering the tractor trailers into position, to move a culvert and redirect Blaisdell Brook’s pathway, and to increase to 35 truckloads/day (70 truck trips past each home/day) between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m. seven days per week.

At the level requested in their permit application, VT Pure would be drawing 280,000 gallons of water/day from the Rogers Rd. spring—not to mention what they draw from their other sources. This is despite the fact that their maximum bottling capacity right now is 250,000 gallons/day, according to Bruce MacDonald. This would add up to 1,960,000 gallons of water being drawn from one site and trucked past our homes each week—with a total of 70 truck trips/day, or 490 times/week that a Vt. Pure truck would pass along the truck route.

Vt. Pure has the right, even the responsibility, to conduct its business wisely and profitably. However, they must do so with respect and consideration for the community in which they operate. Being good neighbors and partners, which they call themselves over and over, requires more than just saying so. It requires that they make plans that accommodate their neighbors’ concerns and right to protect their property values and lifestyles. That is where our fundamental objection arises, because even though we met with Vt. Pure executives to explain residents’ concerns before Vt. Pure submitted their permit application, their proposed development is reckless in its disregard of the damage to everyone who lives along their truck routes and near the spring.

We believe they can develop, but they must limit the impact on any one area. In other words: expand, but do so by locating new water sources instead of expecting to draw truckload after truckload from one spring on one dirt road and expecting homeowners simply to accept that their quiet neighborhood has become industrial.

We would like to encourage anyone who is concerned about this kind of development in Randolph and about the precedent it can set for the future to attend the July 16 Development Review Board meeting at 7 p.m. at the municipal offices.

Jonathan and Dawn Walters

Randolph Center

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