Town Issues Cease & Desist Order to Grafton and Upton RR
Town officials say the proper permits were not pulled.
Submitted by the Town Administrator's Office:
The town of Grafton has issued a cease and desist order to the Grafton and Upton Railroad (GURR) for violating local bylaws and failing to obtain proper approvals and permits for the construction of a propane storage facility at 42 Westboro Rd. The town has analyzed this situation and found that the GURR claim of preemption for this work has not been proven.
The GURR has begun construction of a propane storage facility that is proposed to include four 80,000 gallon propane tanks at 42 Westboro Rd. in Grafton. This property is within an area zoned residential and within a water supply protection overlay district. Last night the Board of Selectmen heard from the GURR about its intentions to begin delivering tanks to the site and decided that a cease and desist order must be issued in light of all that has been done, learned and reviewed.
The Board of Selectmen and neighborhood residents have broad based concerns with the construction of such a facility. There are homes, schools, and parks in close proximity to this site. Sufficient documentation has not been provided by the GURR related to this construction. The GURR provided the town with a copy of a Fire Safety Analysis that was filed with the State Fire Marshall’s Office for the work in mid-November. This document is being reviewed by the State Fire Marshall, but the Town has yet to receive a formal response to this document, and according to the GURR the document is under revision.
The GURR has cooperated with town officials on other matters and provided some information related to the current activities at the Westboro Road site. The Board of Selectmen asked the GURR questions in writing to further understand the claim of preemption. However, the town remains unsatisfied that the preemption claim is valid.
All local and state regulations are in full force and effect until a federal entity rules that the GURR’s preemption claim is valid. It is the GURR’s burden to convince the town that its proposed operation is covered by the federal preemption doctrine. In the very short time the Town has had to make that complicated determination, the GURR has simply not produced enough facts to convince the Board of Selectmen that its preemption claim is valid.
The Board of Selectmen would like to thank the residents for their patience and cooperation throughout this process. The board will continue to weigh each situation with care and diligence.