BETHLEHEM — The Inland Wetlands Agency, meeting Tuesday, October 5, issued a cease and desist order against Grillo Services and/or Mike and Jude LLC, owners of 351 Main St., for unpermitted activities.

The agency met in a special meeting on Wednesday, September 29, to discuss the possibility of issuing the order and crafting what it would contain. Agency members set a “show cause” meeting on the action for 6:30 p.m. today, Wednesday, October 13.

During the September 29 meeting, the agency reviewed site inspection reports and photos provided by member Paul Reid on September 8 and 28. Land Use Administrator Stacey Sefcik provided additional photos, taken the day of the September 29 meeting.

Mr. Reid visited the site on September 8 and observed a large excavator that was located near a large pile of stumps that measured 200x50-20 feet. Mr. Reid noted the excavator was parked up against one end of the stumps and tracks showed the excavator had been behind the pile in the regulated area. Additionally, there was no silt fence installed to protect the nearby wetlands.

During a site inspection on September 28, Mr. Reid observed 30 to 40 piles of material with various sizes of rocks interspersed throughout the piles.

While the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection has instructed the owners to remove the stumps, they should have applied to the town for a permit, as was explained at a previous meeting and within the contents of the interim stabilization plan permit. An attorney for the town had reviewed any options the town might have under the circumstances.

In addition to issuing a cease and desist order, the agency appointed Landtech, its third party reviewer, to serve as a site inspector for the interim stabilization activities. 

The agency agreed an escrow account should be established in the amount of $15,000, to be replenished when it drops to $5,000, to pay for the inspection process. 

That bill is to be paid by the property owners.

The agency is assessed a $500 fee for the activity that took place without a permit related to the stump pile. Members reminded the Grillos that they had cautioned no work should take place on the site until a bond estimate had been filed and paid to the town.

The Grillos were present in the audience. Michael Grillo said he felt it was unfair to assess a fee for stump removal when they had discussed the need to remove the stumps during the meeting when the interim stabilization plan was approved.

Also, it was an activity required by a state agency. The stump pile did not have a silt fence behind it because that area could not be reached before the pile was removed.

Agency members said these points should be brought up during the show cause hearing.

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