Thursday, December 13, 2012

Family Dispute Aired At Planning And Zoning

An application for a special exception revealed a sad split in the Armetta family, between the father, Phil, and his 5 children. A dispute over land and the Dainty Rubbish company complicates the children's application to consolidate all of Dainty's operations on a 2.5 acre parcel owned by the children. In addition to the Armetta family, the dispute drew in Bill Corvo, a partner with Phil Armetta in the Kleen Energy power plant.

Phil Armetta was the owner and operator of Dainty Rubbish, he also owned the two lots on which Dainty Rubbish operated, 80 and 90 Industrial Park Road in Westfield. Shortly before being sentenced to jail for concealing knowledge of a felony, Armetta turned ownership of Dainty Rubbish to his children. The children also were given the front of the two lots on which Dainty Rubbish operates (80 Industrial Park). Phil Armetta retained ownership of the rear lot (90 Industrial Park).

Since the ownership change, the Dainty Rubbish Company has been leasing land from the two property owners to continue its operation. The application before Planning and Zoning was for a special exception that would allow Dainty Rubbish to conduct all operations solely on the front lot (owned by the children). The company would move the truck scale to the front lot and build a scale house and a maintenance garage.

Michael Armetta, president of Dainty Rubbish, said that economic conditions necessitated an increased efficiency for operations, "we need economies of scale." Adam Fox, an engineer hired to design the front lot for the consolidated operations, said that there would be no increase in trash volume, and the increased efficiency would reduce any potential problems with traffic.

Marianne Barbino Dubuque, also hired by Michael Armetta, next addressed the Commission on legal matters. She emphasized that there would be absolutely no change in the amount of trash being processed and that there would be no noticeable difference to the public.

Barbino Dubuque preemptively addressed the role of the father, "Mr. Phil Armetta has no involvement with this project and is not an owner of 80 Industrial Park Road."

Phil Armetta did not see it this way.

Michael Dowley, an experienced Middletown land use attorney, spoke to the Commission on behalf of Phil Armetta. He read the Commissioners the one-sentence evaluation of the proposed site plans by Tom Nigosanti, the Middletown's engineer, "The on-site truck queuing plan will not work with the trailers as shown." He said this was sufficient to at least postpone the hearing, if not deny the application.

Dowley urged the Commissioners to visit the site to see how connected these two lots were. He said that for example the gas tanks are on the rear lot, while the pumps are on the front lot. "These two lots need to work together." He urged the Commissioners to postpone the public hearing until after they had visited the site.

Bill Corvo spoke to the application, not as expected in favor of his former close business associate, Phil, but in favor of the Armetta children. He praised the 4 sons and a daughter, calling them "extremely hard working and industrious people." He said that in the 8 years that his corporate offices were at 90 Industrial Park Road, he never saw any problems with truck traffic, and the proposed changes would make things "ten times better."

When Corvo was done, Phil Armetta rose and addressed the Commission. He spoke about what he had done for Middletown, "Middletown is paying the lowest tip fee, and that's thanks to Phil Armetta ... I've done nothing but help people. I help a lot of people, OK?"

He then repeatedly lashed into his children for greed. He said they were not paying rent, or repaying over $300,000 in loans. "I gave them a gift and now that wasn't enough, and now they want the whole loaf of bread. It's not going to happen."

"I don't even want to see these people any more. They're my children but that's how angry they get me. ... You give them, you give them money, you educate them, you do everything, and then they turn around and become greedy, they want more. And I'm not going to tolerate it. They're impacting number 90. I want to do something else with number 90, whatever I do there is my business. They shouldn't be allowed to impact my business right next door."

The case rests in part on whether the proposed changes to the front lot would lead to a significant decrease in the value of the rear lot. Phil Armetta argued that it would, because the buildings on the rear lot are designed for large trucks, and the changes in the front lot would make it virtually impossible for those trucks.

Michael Armetta's attorney argued that the light industrial zone allowed for many uses of the property other than trucks, and thus its value would not be impacted.

The Commission also needs to decide if the proposed site plan provides for a safe and feasible operation. It voted to hold the public hearing open, to visit the site, and to request that Nigosanti, the city engineer, be available at the next public hearing to expand on his cursory "will not work" statement.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Phil has had his demons no doubt. Let's be real. not many oldtime Italian businessmen in town can say they don't. This is so sad that families have to come to this. His kids must be using the same playbook my brother Jimmy did when my parents passed. He actually charged the estate for the time,which was very little, that he spent clearing out my mother's home. He charged the estate for plowing the driveway for the realtor. But never would shovel the sidewalks..that I never understood. I have found that he has done these types of things while settling his wives family's estates also. Some families have what I call the professional takers. My Mom had a fraction of the financial equity that Phil has amassed but a note to the family: I walked away with much more than money or property I walked away knowing I did right by the people who struggled and suffered to raise me. I also walked away with the knowledge that now that they are both in Heaven they know the truth because they are always with me. I know Sr. Armetta is not the easiest man but he at least deserves the love and loyalty of his children.