Town officials complied with a court order and issued a special permit to Newport Materials on Nov. 14. The permit will allow Newport’s owner, Richard DeFelice, to build and operate an asphalt plant at 540 Groton Road.
There is now a 20 day window for opponents to appeal the Major Commercial Project special permit. In the meantime, Chelmsford resident and attorney, Larry Sweeney, who lives near the site of the plant, filed a restraining order enjoining Westford Planning Board members and Selectmen to revoke the permit. A hearing for the restraining order is scheduled for Nov. 21 in Middlesex Superior Court in Lowell. Selectmen will meet in executive session on Friday, Nov. 18 to discuss the legal matter.
This all follows an announcement on Nov. 10 that Land Court Judge Alexander H. Sands, III, denied a motion by town officials to vacate an agreement with DeFelice.
The announcement of the news prompted residents to protest in the Common on Sunday, a day before selectmen and Planning Board members met behind closed doors to discuss the matter.
Residents across town and in bordering Chelmsford were angered on Oct. 6 when they learned that a six-year court battle to keep the asphalt plant out of Westford had come to an end with a settlement agreement between town officials and DeFelice. The announcement stunned residents who were unaware that town officials had engaged in negotiations. Until the announcement, opponents said they believed town officials were strategizing for continuing court action. In a public hearing attended by almost 800 on Oct. 25, the opponents demanded that officials nullify the agreement.
But the judge thought otherwise and issued his order on Nov. 7. Opponents say they will continue to fight against the plant.
Follow Joyce Pellino Crane on Twitter @joypellinocrane.