CRANSTON, R.I. (WPRI) ─ Neighbors of a Cranston mulch company aired their grievances to the city’s department of public works Tuesday night, claiming the business is a nuisance that is impacting their quality of life.
As Target 12 previously reported, neighbors have fought against North-Eastern Tree Service years, complaining that the business produces constant noise and excessive dust and debris, all the while emitting an unpleasant odor.
“I can’t enjoy my backyard like I used to,” neighbor Robert Gravewicz testified Tuesday.
“It’s become a nightmare with this mulching thing,” neighbor Richard Ayres added. “It’s just become horrendous.”
Cranston Assistant Solicitor John Verdechia said while he believes the residents have a good chance of winning the battle in court, the city’s hands are tied because of a law that shields mulch-makers from disgruntled neighbors with nuisance claims.
A Target 12 investigation revealed that, while the law applies to more than 700 licensed arborists across Rhode Island, Cranston lawmakers specifically created it to protect the Pontiac Avenue business.
Members of the Cranston Public Works Committee said they would begin looking into whether any city zoning laws were being broken by the company.
“You can’t ooze into a residential area with an industrial operation,” councilman Steve Stykos said. “This is an industrial operation.”
Cranston City Council President Michael Farina said that in the company is operating where it couldn’t, that the committee will take immediate action.
“Hopefully the city will really take a strong look at it and review it and make a decision that’s right for the citizens of Cranston,” neighbor Jim Walsh said.
Eyewitness News has made repeated attempts to reach out to North-Eastern Tree Service owner Michael Sepe for comment but has not heard back.