An aerial view of a house with two silos in the background.

Central Falls wins in Superior Court blocking massive Western Oil neighborhood expansion

This week, the City of Central Falls successfully blocked Western Oil from an expansion that would more than double the oil recycler’s operation, just yards away from families and residents in the city’s northwestern neighborhood, in close proximity to Valley Falls Pond.

“I am thrilled that the Superior Court upheld the decision of our Zoning Board,” said Maria Rivera, Mayor of Central Falls. “I joined neighbors and community leaders in opposing this project because it was expanding a nuisance into a residential neighborhood.” 

Western Oil was seeking to add nine 35-foot-tall oil tanks that would sit above ground, leading to challenges ranging from odor control to a significant increase in traffic in the neighborhood.

“I can see the existing oil containers from my backyard,” said Dan Issa, a former State Senator and city resident. “Our neighborhood is relieved that this noxious activity will not happen and that the Superior Court upheld the voices of the community. Beyond the nuisance, this would have been a danger to Scott Pond and Valley Falls Pond if the tanks ever spilled. Thank you Mayor Rivera and the city’s legal team for fighting for the little guy.”
The January 24 win in Superior Court follows the City’s Zoning Board rejection of Western Oil’s proposal to expand its operation by adding the 30,000-gallon oil storage tanks. The Zoning Board denied the company’s expansion after hearing passionate testimony from the community and community leaders.

“No one in Central Falls supported this proposed expansion,” said Jessica Vega, the City Council President. “We are so happy that the Superior Court made this decision. From the odor to the noise to the traffic to the environmental dangers, this was a bad idea from the beginning.” 

The City Solicitor, Matthew Jerzyk, heralded the legal work of Nicholas Hemond, of the firm DarrowEverett, who argued the case on behalf of the city.

“I’m happy for the neighbors and the city. I’m happy for the Zoning Board,” said Hemond. “A lot of these boards put a lot of work in for no money. They do the best they can and they want to make the right decisions for the right reasons. I think they did that here.”

“If Western Oil appeals this decision, the City stands ready to continue its fight,” concluded Jerzyk.


On April 5, 2021, RINewsToday did this story about the used oil tanks in Central Falls and the neighbors attempt to hault their expansion:

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  1. DAN ISSA on January 30, 2022 at 11:19 am

    Thank you RINews today for your early and continuing coverage of this very important issue.
    The potential impact is not just Central Falls, but directly Cumberland, Lincoln, and the entire watershed.

    Dan Issa