Off of River Street in Middleboro is a secluded country road called Auburn Street. On one side of Auburn Street is a business - A Plus Waste Removal. On the other side of Auburn Street is a private residence whose property is filled with so much junk that one would be hard pressed to distinguish it from a junkyard. A Plus Waste Removal sits on the site of a former brickyard and has been working diligently to mitigate a low level hazardous waste problem that was left behind by the brickyard. Owner Ron High has tried to beautify the property and has had discussions with the town about donating land abutting the Taunton River. For the last year the town of Middleboro has been making Ron High and A Plus Waste Removal jump through one hoop after the next while we’ve given a free pass to the property right next door to dump whatever the heck they want wherever they want. Why?
Let’s get something straight before I go on. I’m no fan boy of Ron High. I’ve met him briefly just once and did not speak to him about this article. My personal baggage lies strewn about Auburn Street as it meanders down to the Taunton River. I want the locked gate at the entrance to Auburn Street to be taken down. I want the road cleared of junk, and I want full access to the river. After spending a lot of time thinking about Auburn Street and the illegal debris that covers it, I couldn’t help but notice that the town is doing a lot of nothing about Auburn Street but is having a hell of time busting Ron High’s hump over planting tulips. That’s not a joke folks.
The Brockton Enterprise reported on July 12, 2012 in an article titled “Tempest Over Tulips” on Mr. High running afoul of Middleboro when he tried to beautify the property: “He planted 1,200 red, yellow and white tulip bulbs, which bloom in spring, in addition to 300 white spruce trees, 10 cedar trees, nine rose bushes and 11 peonies along River Street. Now, he’s been slapped with four zoning violations that will be taken up at a Zoning Board of Appeals meeting tonight.”
The thing the bothers me is that we seem to be going ballistic over a few wayward tulips and a business that is at least trying to play by the rules but are turning a blind eye year after year to the property right next door. Why?
I understand that some neighbors in the area are not thrilled about the business that Mr. High is running. Unfortunately for them, the property is zoned for industrial use. It does seem to be a funny location for an industrial zone and I wouldn't be surprised of there was an interesting story about why it is zoned that way. It is what it is – an industrial zoned property with a business on it. I’m generally all in favor of making business owners adhere to a high standard and obey all our local rules, regulations, and Silly String bylaws. In this particular case however, there is a glaring, stark, and frankly suspicious difference in the way the town is treating A Plus Waste Removal and the way we are ignoring the property next door.
I have a long range plan for Auburn Street. Someday I would like to see a pedestrian bridge over Auburn Street. This would connect Bridgewater’s Great River Preserve to Middleboro very close to our Taunton River Wildlife Management Area. I’ve spoken to people in Bridgewater who have the interest, the means, and the expertise to help with it. Whether I ever get my bridge or not, I would like access to the river via Auburn Street.
Regular readers will note that I’ve complained about Auburn Street on numerous occasions. To the town’s credit they have attempted to get the property owner to clean it but unfortunately with very limited success and very little follow through. The last thing I heard was that the town could not prove that they owned Auburn Street and thus could not take any action on it. Damn the torpedoes. Open up that gate with a bolt cutter and start hauling the junk out of there. Whether we own Auburn Street or not, the private property next door is a mess. Until we deal with that, we just look like a bunch of hypocrites holding Mr. High and A-Plus Waste Removal to an entirely different standard.
MIDDLEBORO — A motion resulting from over a year of litigation before the Zoning Board of Appeals was passed last Thursday, allowing A Plus Waste and Recycling to move forward with its single stream recycling and composting operation at 88 River St. The motion which granted a special permit to the applicant Ron High, Jr. through his attorney John Wyman, included 15 stipulations resulting from board members' and abutters' concerns.
Residents in north Middleborough are battling a composting business that opened on a long-abandoned factory property in their rural neighborhood two years ago and now wants to add a commercial recycling operation.
The residents contend the sprawling River Street operation would increase noise, odor, and traffic in the area and lead to loss of property value.
“Our home is something we worked for our whole lives,” homeowner John Theriault said. “Who wants to live across the street from rubbish and garbage?”
A local business owner is being taken to task for planting tulips in front of his factory.
When Ron High bought the former brick factory on River Street three years ago, little did he know that tulips were a no-no. What he saw was more than $1 million in hazardous waste cleanup before he could open a composting and recycling business, called A-Plus Waste Removal.