LEE – Opponents of a toxic waste dump in town are furious that a city official has grabbed their lawn signs without warning.
The No PCB Dumps: Action Group claims that Lee / Lenox Building Commissioner, BJ Church, illegally removed at least two dozen of its “No PCB Dump” signs from private property without proper notification.
“It is absolutely ridiculous, without written notice, that she can remove something from private property that is not a danger to others,” said Anne Langlais, spokesperson for the group.
She noted that most of the 400 distributed lawn signs were in place weeks after the Federal Environmental Protection Agency announced in February 2020 its agreement on the rest of the river with General Electric, the town of Lee. and other parts. This agreement included the discharge.
Tim Gray, owner of the Golden Hill Nursery, located not far from the proposed landfill, said he saw Church remove his sign on Tuesday without giving the proper 20 days notice by city law.
“I had a sign 15 feet from the road, to make sure it was on private property,” said Gray, executive director of the Housatonic River Initiative.
In an email to Langlais, obtained by The Eagle, Church explains his rationale for removing the signs.
“Zoning by-laws describe authorized and unauthorized signs. [such as] signs in the public right-of-way or in the zoning margins of the district which were erected without having previously obtained a permit, “she wrote on Wednesday.
Church told Langlais his actions were based on a complaint filed by former Selectman Thomas Wickham with the Lee Planning Board. Wickham told The Eagle on Wednesday he questioned whether the signs were political and, if so, was there a time limit for their posting.
Church did not respond to an email and phone call from Eagle requesting additional information on how many signs were taken, what constitutes a legal lawn sign and which signs are exempt from zoning.
The Housatonic River Initiative calls for EPA’s agreement on the rest of the river to allow the burying of sediments containing lower levels of polychlorinated biphenyls in a technical landfill from a former quarry above the Housatonic River. A hearing before the Federal Environmental Appeal Board is scheduled for September 2.
Gray tells The Eagle that eyewitnesses said Wickham was helping remove the panel.
“It’s a total lie, a total lie,” he told an Eagle reporter on Wednesday.
Wickham, along with David Consolati and Patricia Carlino, were the Lee Select board members who signed the deal. Since then, Wickham and Consolati have been excluded from the board of directors, with Carlino running for re-election next May.
Four Lee residents, including newly elected Selectman Robert Jones, initially sued the board, citing a lack of transparency and public input before agreeing to the deal with the rest of the river. Jones has since retired as a plaintiff, having become a selectman. The case made its way to Berkshire Superior Court.