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.
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.
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.