A Hummel Report Investigation
A Better Place
Over the past six weeks the owner of a controversial asphalt plant made good on a years-long pledge to move his operation away from a residential neighborhood in Coventry. The Hummel Report, which first reported on the situation in late 2013, has followed the dismantling and moving of an entire plant 14 miles south to a new location. This week Jim Hummel sits down with the owner, who said continuing battles with neighbors and town officials finally made the decision to leave an easy one.
Click here to see our original report in 2013.
It is a sight - and sound - that people living in one Coventry neighborhood thought they would never see or hear: the dismantling of a decade-old asphalt plant that had been the source of controversy and friction between its owner, the neighbors and at times town officials.
Over the past six weeks Tom Miozzi made good on a pledge when we spoke with him more than three years ago - to move his plant out of town and away from dozens of people who had complained about noise and particles drifting over to their homes.
Miozzi: ``You come to a moral decision where, how many people am I keeping awake at night? How am I affecting their lives? Could I find another location that would benefit the people, benefit myself, so I worked diligently toward solution.’’
Miozzi, who has worked in the paving business since the early 1980s bought this plant on Airport Road, a mile from Route 3, in 2004, saying it was the only asphalt operation for sale in Rhode Island at the time. For years he had been buying asphalt from others and wanted to manufacture his own product.
He made upgrades to the plant but almost immediately starting getting complaints from a nearby housing development.
The uneasy coexistence became worse when in 2009 President Obama’s stimulus bill went through calling for a huge increase of shovel-ready paving projects.
Miozzi: ``We kept everybody awake at night. No choice of mine, it’s mandated by the state’s Traffic Management Plan, known as a TMP. We had to pave at night, so when you pave at night you have to make asphalt at night. And I can definitely side with the neighbors who unfortunately were sold lots that abutted us. They were looking for peace and quiet, we couldn’t give them that.’’
Opponents also claimed he expanded the plant without permission. The town and Miozzi wound up in court, where a judge reached a consent agreement prescribing a compromise on hours of operation. But the council at the time never signed it, only the solicitor and last year the agreement was declared invalid when that came to light.
Miozzi: ``That was the nail in the coffin for us at the site.’’
Hummel: ``You knew you wouldn’t be able to operate…’’
Hummel: ``…under those conditions.’’
Miozzi: ``Right. All of last year we didn’t operate from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m., which is what the ordinance they passed states.