Town Council Updates: MedRecycler Appeal, Patio Fine

by | Aug 19, 2021

MedrecycleRI is not dead yet.

That’s what the Town Council heard at its meeting Monday, when Town Solicitor Andy Teitz told the panel the medical waste company has appealed the Department of Environmental Management’s denial of a solid waste permit for the facility they want to open on Division Road in West Warwick

In response, the Town of East Greenwich and New England Tech have filed a joint petition to intervene, i.e. have a role in the appeal process. DEM said it has no objection to the town’s petition; Medrecycler said it did object. The company had until Wednesday to file a formal objection. Ultimately, that decision is up to a DEM administrative hearing officer. 

In its denial in July, DEM cited a number of issues with the permit application as well as a bill passed by the General Assembly a week earlier that would bar facilities like Medrecycler. That bill was later signed into law by Gov. Dan McKee.

Medrecycler is looking to build a facility that uses a high-heat method called pyrolysis to break down (melt) different types of medical waste. EG and West Warwick residents along with environmentalists banded together to oppose the facility. They enlisted EG state legislators Rep. Justine Caldwell (Dist. 30) and Sen. Bridget Valverde (Dist. 35), who each sponsored the bills to ban such facilities. 

Also Monday night, the Town Council issued a $2,500 fine to the owners of The Patio restaurant at 431 Main St., because it had more than double the number of seats it was allowed.

EG Building Inspector Ernie Marinaro cited The Patio after receiving a complaint on July 16 and visiting the restaurant July 19, finding 94 seats, not the 42 it is currently allowed. 

When it opened in February 2020, The Patio had a 21-seat capacity. After the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Town Manager Andy Nota issued an emergency action allowing restaurants to expand seating to the outdoors and to disregard parking space requirements. For The Patio, that meant taking over their parking lot. They erected a tent, added heaters and business has been good. In fact, they are looking to make the capacity increase permanent.

The Patio in on the Zoning Board agenda Tuesday looking for zoning relief regarding parking so they can continue to use the parking lot space. They plan to valet cars and have reached agreements with area parking lots for spaces.  In the meantime, however, this was their second visit before the Town Council in recent weeks for code violations. The first was over live music – the restaurant was featuring amplified music on multiple nights in excess of their license.

“We want to see the Patio succeed,” said Councilor Mike Zarrella Monday, “but I can’t vote [for you] if you guys keep doing things wrong. Help me help you.” 

After the meeting, Patio owner Jason Winpenny said they planned to abide by town rules, saying they wanted to be in business for the long term. He said the extra seats were only there to provide different options for people and that they had been removed.

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