Officials, Residents Continue Waiting for DEP Ruling
Wilmington Board of Selectmen chairman Michael Newhouse said he believes high school decision could be this week, but he wouldn't be surprised at a longer wait.
Though parties on opposing sides of the high school appeal may not see eye to eye, they currently have one thing in common. Both sides remain anxiously awaiting a decision by the Department of Environmental Protection.
Town officials said at the end of June that they expected a decision from the DEP within days. Nearly two weeks later, no verdict has been made.
“Our consultants are in communication with DEP on a regular basis,” said Newhouse. “We’re still left with the impression that the decision is forthcoming. I think it could be any day, but nobody has promised us that with any certainty. It wouldn’t surprise me if a decision came this week, but if we don’t hear by then I also wouldn’t be shocked.”
DEP officials asked the town for further information about the project several times, as recently as last week. Newhouse said, however, that seeking more information does not mean anything one way or another for the town.
According to the chairman, that back and forth dialogue with the DEP is simply a part of the process.
“They’ve done that throughout the course of the appeal,” said Newhouse. “I’m not reading too much into it. This is a process with ongoing communication and frankly they don’t tell us when to expect a decision.”
Appellants against the school submitted their appeal on several different grounds. Members of the Headwaters Stream Team said they had issues with the wording of portions of the plan approved by the Conservation Commission. Other residents who are a part of the appeal have larger issues pertaining to the oil on the grounds.
During a recent meeting, town officials said further delays would cause scheduling and financial problems for the project.
But for now, there isn’t much residents or town officials can do – except wait.
“Naturally we are, like everyone with a vested interest in this project, continue to be eager to get to the next step,” said Newhouse. “It’s a feeling of anticipation, but we also at the same time have to understand that these things don’t happen overnight. Though we are eager, and confident the decision will be favorable, we understand that the DEP has a job to do and they’re working on it.”