Northborough Planning Board questions planned on-site concrete plant in Steris Corp. expansion plans

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Northborough Planning Board questions planned on-site concrete plant in Steris Corp. expansion plans
Photo by/Dakota Antelman

By Sara Brown, Contributing Writer

NORTHBOROUGH – The Northborough Planning Board opted to again wait to make a decision on a special permit request from the company Steris Corp. May 18. 

Steris is looking to expand its facility on Whitney Street in town. The company offers contract sterilization and laboratory testing services to medical device, pharmaceutical, consumer and industrial businesses. The company filed for this motion back in August 2019. 

They want to construct a 26,000-square-foot addition at the 425 Whitney St. property. 

After more than a year and a half, Board members are growing increasingly worried about Steris’ desire to have a concrete plant on its construction site. 

The plant, general contractor Lawrence Kramer said, would give crews better control of the quality of their concrete. Ideally, they would start using the machine at 3 a.m. since that would maximize the number of hours in a day with the kind of cooler temperatures that are optimal for concrete setting. However, Kramer said they could be amenable to what the town wants. 

Board members wanted to know what, if anything, would change if Steris didn’t have a concrete plant on-site and had to bring concrete from an outside source. 

“What does that look like?” said board member Michelle Gillespie. “Most of the presentation has been what it looks like on-site.” 

“Personally, I am not in favor of an on-site but to an off-site,” she added. 

Board member Millie Milton agreed.

“I would like to see the pros and cons of having it off-site,” she said. 

Steris did say they could still proceed with their project if the concrete plant were off-site. 

Residents also voiced their concerns. 

“Starting at 3 a.m. is absurd,” said Scott Stockholm. 

Resident James Shore added that he is in current litigation with Steris over their proposed plans since he is a direct abutter and doesn’t approve of the plan. 

“This is a waste of taxpayer’s time and money,” he said. “Nothing is going to happen until my appeal is done. I recommend you all cease on this until my case is over.” 

Shore, who lost part of his hearing due to military service, is also worried about the extra noise from the site due to construction. 

“It could affect my hearing and set off my PTSD,” he said. 

The board plans to hold further deliberation on Steris’ request at their next meeting in June.