Mayor, City Council on Board in Fight Against Parallel Products
NEW BEDFORD — Mayor Jon Mitchell’s request to allocate a $250,000 budget for legal representation to fight the expansion of Parallel Products was granted in a unanimous vote by City Council Thursday night.
The Mayor has been recently stepping up the fight against Parallel Products’ proposal to construct a bio-waste and solid waste processing facility. The new facility would be located on Duchaine Boulevard, near its existing glass recycling plant.
The Mayor posted a video explaining the budget request to YouTube Wednesday night. Using the newly rebuilt Pine Hill Park as a backdrop, the Mayor said the project proposed by Parallel Products “would simply be too close to nearby neighborhoods and could harm the quality of life of their residents.”
Mayor Mitchell expanded on his video statement during his weekly appearance on the Barry Richard Show on Friday, saying he’s grateful for the City Council’s unanimous vote to stand with him.
“I’m grateful the City Council supported it. I think everybody agrees that the proposed project in the industrial park is the wrong one for the city and particularly the neighborhoods around the industrial park. Parallel Products has been doing business in the city for about a decade and they’ve been in the business park for a few years now doing ball recycling,” Mayor Mitchell said.
“What they proposed earlier this year is what I think a lot of folks know, is to do something very different, which is to process bio-waste and solid waste. The truth is that it’s just too close to neighborhoods to do something like that.”
In June, the City of New Bedford moved to retain the Boston-based municipal law firm of KP Law, P.C. (formerly known as Kopelman & Paige) to oppose the Parallel Products proposal. KP Law has significant experience in working with the relevant state regulatory agencies, and the firm has established a strong record as serving as outside counsel to the City in other matters.
Ward Three City Councilor Hugh Dunn says locating a bio-solid facility in that neighborhood “is not fair to the families that live there.”
“It’s a little puzzling to see the Administration giving tiffs for this project to go into that area and now spending public dollars to fight it,” stated Dunn.
“That being said, at this time and given the situation we’re in, it’s their right thing to do to retain this law firm to fight this project.”
Over the coming months, the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Office (MEPA) and the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) will review the Parallel Products proposal.
“The approval process is largely one at the state level, but the City Board of Health does play a role late in the process. It’s a process that will take many months, but we want to make sure we’re fighting in the interests of the neighborhoods in the far north end, and toward that end we’ve set aside money efficient to hire expert counsel and to hire technical experts to put on our case to the state,” the Mayor said.
“The City Council supported it, so I’m grateful for them.”