A Hummel Report Investigation
An Uneasy Coexistence
Dozens of people living next to two asphalt plants in Coventry have had enough of the noise and odor - saying the town dropped the ball when it allowed an expansion of the businesses over the past decade. This week Jim Hummel sits down with some of the neighbors, hears the town council president weigh in, and gets a tour from one of the plant owners.
Click HERE for additional interview footage with Town Council President Gary Cote.
These are some of the sounds people living in neighborhoods next to two asphalt plants in Coventry can hear six days a week, eight months out of the year.
The sound of materials being delivered.
Asphalt being mixed.
And trucks hauling the finished product along a narrow residential road dozens of times every day.
Porter: ``It's horrible, it's absolutely horrible.
Charlotte Porter moved here three years ago from Cranston to Westwood Estates - a development of more than 400 homes. She and her husband arrived after the asphalt plants had finished for the season. Several months later she got a rude awakening - literally.
Porter: ``All of a sudden it was around the end of March, beginning of April and this foul smell came - it was unbelievable. And I'm a window person, I love my windows open. I had to shut my windows, I didn't know what it was. Nobody ever mentioned asphalt plants.''
Hummel: ``You never head that from the real estate agent? You never heard that from the people who lived here.''
Porter: ``No. I would have never moved here.''
These aerial pictures taken last week show how close Porter and her neighbors are to the plants, separated only by a line of trees. Porter, who now has breathing problems, is part of a group that wants to see the plants shut down or relocated - even though they and several other operations have been there for decades. The group says the town allowed the plants to expand and change significantly without getting planning or zoning approval - something the town and one of the owners dispute.
Duxbury: ``There was a gravel pit, sand and gravel, concrete, but there were no operational hot- mix asphalt plants.''
Tammy Duxbury heads up the citizens group, which has 150 members and is growing. Duxbury, who has lived about a mile from the plants for two decades, began noticing a black sticky substance outside her house a couple of years ago. She was not alone.
Bacon: ``The windshields on your car, during the day it would be very sticky - and when it would cool at night it would become very oily, so you couldn't even see out of your windshield. This would be every day, so it was generating overnight, whatever this was.''