Bladensburg Concrete Batching Plant Proposal

In the Summer of 2017, the Town of Bladensburg was presented with a proposal for a current Concrete block plant to be updated into a Concrete batching plant. The decision from the Town of Bladensburg Council is to support with conditions, although we have not seen the full decision. Madeleine Golde requested that the council take a position against the plant since the town took such a big position against the proposal for the batching plant here.  Ernest Maier is  located off of Kenilworth Ave in Bladensburg  

Because the plant is not in Cheverly, but potential pollutants would still make their way to Cheverly, The Council agreed to write a letter with conditions regarding tracking and limiting the routes trucks can go, bringing the whole property up to current storm water regulations, making the plant completely enclosed, and conducting regular independent air quality surveys. 

My full notes from the meeting are below
(Please note that all comments herein are written down to the best of my memory and I apologize for any errors or incomplete information)
The Mayor and Town Council held a special meeting, Monday, June 19, 2017 at 7:30 pm to learn more about the application for a special exception for a concrete batching plant being developed on the current concrete block plant owned and operated by Ernest Maier. Presenting were, Brendan Quinn, owner of Ernest Maier, Debbie Scanlon the Town Administrator for the city of Bladensburg, and Chris Melendez, the Vice President for the Port Town Community Development Corporation.

The meeting was scheduled in order to decide whether or not the Town of Cheverly should send a letter to Parks & Planning prior to the scheduled June 23, 2017 hearing. However, the impression is that the meeting may be cancelled and the issue sent directly onto the Zoning Board.

Ernest Maier Presentation
Mr. Quinn presented his proposal that his company which currently owns 16 acres of land around Bladensburg and works out of 4 separate sites.

Current Practice
  • Ernest Maier: employs 147 individuals in Bladensburg, 40 of which come from the Port Towns and of that 21 are residents of Bladensburg. The proposal would add about 25 jobs. These jobs pay on average $55,000 a year. 
  • The plant currently operates 20 hours a day 
  • The site currently sees about 120 trucks a day and that will increase by 40 after the modernization of the plant 
  • Mr. Quinn stated that his current plant is from the 1960s and does not have the most recent environmental protections. Currently working with OSHA on the air silica and conducting an air quality assessment.  
Proposal
  • In addition to improved water reusing and cleaning practices, the store front and fencing will also be updated. 
  • This plan is projected to cost 2.5-3 million and take about 9 months to complete and 3 years to pay off. 
  • He has been working with neighbors and town leadership to negotiate a way to mitigate the impact of the increased traffic. 
  • Wants to also look into manufacturing higher end concrete projects. 

Health and Safety Concerns
Chris Melendez from the Port Towns CDC stated that they have been collecting documents on this process that are located at http://www.citizensactioncommitteebladensburg.org/home
  • The Community has concerns about the health and safety impact and would like for a health impact study to be completed. 
  • They have been working with the University of Maryland and have been told that it could be a good idea to get a baseline assessment of the health impact. 
  • There was a pedestrian fatality in the direct area in front of the plant in June. 
  • The plant is close to schools and the Bladensburg library. 
  • Concerns with whether or not some of the properties are brownfield sites and what contaminants may already be in the ground. Some Brownfield sites may be capped for new businesses to come on top (ex. Community Forklift) 
  • Additionally, Prince George's County just declared the Edmonston, Bladensburg area as an Eco District. 

Town of Bladensburg Response
Debbie Sanlon the Town Administrator for the Town of Bladensburg spoke for the Bladensburg Mayor. 
  • The town supported 3-2 the two opposed represent the district that the plant is located in. 
  • The Greater Bladensburg plan includes maintaining the Industrial I2 zoning use into the future and 897 people are employed in the entire Industrial Park 
  • If the special exemption is not passed then the plant will continue as is and the environmental improvements may not happen. 


Council members Ivey & Eldridge's commented about how valuable that land is and hoping to see it transition away from industrial use. Ms. Sanlon stated that it is unknown at this time what type of toxins and chemicals are in the land currently occupied by the industrial park (as a whole, not just Ernest Maier) and that the land may need some fixing before new commerce comes in and that may limit the amount of tax dollars brought into the community. (This point was countered by Ms. Melendez)

Councilman Ivey motioned to vote to officially oppose the special exemption to build the plant. I did not second his motion at this time since I would like a little more information and the information from the air pollution study and to wait until we can comment to the Zoning Hearing Board since that seems like the next opportunity to participate in this process.