Neighbors in Stamford complain that the South End rock crusher is “so loud.” The company says construction to muffle the sound is almost complete.

STAMFORD – City officials and residents began sounding the alarm bells about a possible rock crash in the South End more than a decade ago. After endless complaints, multiple court battles, legal settlements and construction delays, the saga may come to an end.

But despite assurances from the Stamford Legal Department and the construction processing plant in question, some of the neighbors are refusing to declare a final victory over the noise and dust they say is plaguing the neighborhood.

“They’re dumping. They are overwhelming, ”said city representative Elise Coleman, D-3, at a public safety committee meeting last month. Coleman was referring to A. Vitti Construction, the South End gravel manufacturing plant owned by Antonio Vitti that has faced the city’s backlash for more than a decade. “He doesn’t seem to be very busy, but he’s so noisy.

The city last tried to stop friction between the construction company and residents in 2019, when it said A. Vitti Construction was violating zoning regulations banning rock crushing in the neighborhood and sued the company.

Coleman and his neighbors live next to a strip of land zoned for manufacturing-related uses in the South Quarter, which is owned by A. Vitti Construction. It’s a relic of the community’s industrial past that adjoins the multi-family homes that line Harbor Street and Rugby Street, just north of Kosciuszko Park. And for years, the closeness of residential life to material processing has caused grief for some neighbors.

“When it crashes you hear the hum, but even worse, when it crashes you can see the soot flying through both front doors,” Irene Toigo told the Stamford Advocate. Toigo, who lives on Harbor Street near the company’s premises, has for years denounced rock crushing activities at the Rugby Street factory.

As the town’s representative and longtime South End resident, Coleman said she has watched the back-and-forth movement between Vitti and the town over the years. It comes up regularly in conversations with his constituents and in his own life.

She remembers sitting outside her home with State Representative David Michel, D-146, at a picnic table. As the couple spoke, she felt dust spread over her face and lips like snow dust.

“Here you can’t even sit in the yard,” she told the Stamford Advocate.

The 2019 agreement between the city and Vitti’s company codified that A. Vitti Construction cannot crush rocks larger than four inches at its Rugby Street location. However, it can process other materials like gravel and brick. More importantly, the city and Vitti agreed that it should construct a “fully enclosed building” for its operations that meets the standards of “noise, vibration and dust management, ventilation, traffic. vehicles, truck idling and street cleaning ”.

Work on the facility began in September 2019 and the courts expected it to be completed by March 2020. Months later, the pandemic derailed that plan, according to lawyer Tom Cassone. representing owner Antonio Vitti.

“We’ve been fighting this for 15 years,” Coleman told other members of the Public Safety Committee. “I don’t know what else you want me to tell them.

Even though some South Enders like Coleman and Toigo feel shaken, both literally and emotionally, by the work they say is taking place on Vitti’s land, Cassone said her client’s structure should be completed and soon to be certified by the city.

To comply with the agreement with the city, “a ‘hotline’ must be set up for complaints or inquiries from the neighborhood, and signage must be installed indicating the opening hours and telephone number”, the lawyer said.

“It’s weeks, not months,” Cassone said. “Specifically because there must be final inspections, noise and vibration tests must be carried out and signage that has been ordered must be installed.”

But once the shelter becomes a done deal, Stella wonders how the city plans to minimize the problems. Even though the city’s enforcement powers will come into full force once Vitti receives a certificate of occupancy from the city, Stella hesitates before declaring victory.

If a neighbor reports a rock crush complaint to the city, it still takes a while to send a zoning control officer to the side, Stella began. By the time someone is in the South End to verify the allegations, officials believe it may be too late to take meaningful action.

“We need a law enforcement team,” he said. “We have to have people – boots on the ground – who could actually go out there and make sure it’s in compliance and to make sure they’re not crushing or violating the stone. “

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