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Dalton Trucking Company in Compliance With Special Permit
By Sabrina Damms, iBerkshires Staff
05:15PM / Wednesday, January 25, 2023
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DALTON, Mass. — Complaints over a local trucking company appeared to been settled. 
Ray Robert Excavation & Trucking is in compliance with its special permit, the Planning Board said at its meeting last week. 
The special permit allows Robert to continue the manufacturing use as long as he abides by the lengthy conditions regarding hours of operations, noise limitations, environmental stipulations and boundary specifications. 
The Shnopp family has lodged numerous complaints over the years regarding the excavation and trucking company claiming that it was not abiding by the regulations and making too much noise outside the hours of operation. 
There were also multiple noise complaints from other neighbors about work was being done outside the allotted hours. 
Since then the Planning Board has been working with Robert to clarify the terms of the special permit; the complaints have been resolved except for Schnopp's.
The board clarified that the stipulation to cease "all operations" after business hours included more than those specifically mentioned, including earthen materials, screening and separating and rock crushing.
This condition includes "every work-related activity on the property, whether loading or unloading a truck, moving piles, use of heavy equipment, or other assorted tasks related to the operation of the manufacturing use," the notice of decision stated.
It noted, however, that the permit allows "for work-related vehicles to enter the property after hours, but only to park the vehicles." 
The vehicles have to wait to be loaded or unloaded until the following day when business hours resume. 
The board was aware of complaints from the owners of the abutting property but did not witness any violations themselves. 
On Dec. 24, the board did request that the building commissioner/zoning enforcement officer speak to Robert to emphasize that all operations must stop after business hours. 
This conclusion was made following multiple site visits where it was determined the current conditions of the property were in compliance, Chair Andy Perenick said.
The decision that the company is in compliance with its special permit was made during a previous executive session by the board. 
Robert said he has been doing his best to satisfy the neighbors' complaints and has also been an active community member by donating his time and resources to local organizations. 
The Schnopp family has continued to pursue their complaint and has obtained legal counsel from Lazan Glover & Puciloski.
At Wednesday's meeting, Greg Schnopp asked about the retaining wall that is still under construction. 
According to the notice, the Zoning Board of Appeals found in September 2020 that the wall complies with zoning bylaws and is not part of this special permit.
In 1998, it was determined that the buffering vegetation planted by the Robert did not meet the requirements to "substantially screen" the operations from residents. Three years later, the ZBA  determined it had been upgraded as required but needed to be maintained. 
The board told the Schnopps and their lawyer to reach out to town counsel for information on whether the wall complies with the 50-foot buffer zone.
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