Carver: Alex Johnson Cranberry: fake bog project strip mining for over 10 years illegally on Meadow Street

April, 2022 – The state and Town of Carver officials — Board of Selectmen, Earth Removal Committee, Board of Health, Police Department — all are ignoring an illegal mining operation on over 30 acres on Meadow Street. The Building Inspector and Board of Health have been asked repeatedly for years by local residents to stop the illegal operation, the trucks, noise, vibration and emissions of dust. Residents’ complaints and concerns are dismissed and disregarded. Trucks run after hours with no consequences. Local residents’ homes shake and vibrate due to the industrial logging, earth removal and heavy equipment. Dust emissions cover homes and cars every day.

The landowner is Bette Maki, Alex Johnson & Son Cranberry Co. is the operator. Lopes Construction of Taunton runs the extraction and trucking operations.

Johnson is one of many so-called cranberry companies like AD Makepeace doing sand and gravel extraction under the guise of a cranberry operation. They collect taxpayer subsidies for cranberries and keep their land in Chapter 61A agriculture to avoid real estate taxes. Even the former Chairman of the Carver Earth Removal Committee, John “Garry” Garretson III, runs sand mining operations under the guise of “cranberry bogs“! See the video of his strip mine operation, Slocum Gibbs here. It appears Garretson is planning a solar project for his “cranberry” land off Wareham Street where he is running a strip mine.

Back to Meadow Street in Carver — the YouTube drone video is here. This is not “cranberry agriculture” like Johnson, Maki and the Town claim. The operation is on Maps 83 and 84 The Town is letting this be classified as “Chapter 61A” agricultural use. The landowners pay virtually no taxes while making hundreds of thousands if not millions extracting and selling sand and gravel. How does this help Carver’s tax base? How many other mining operations are evading real estate taxes?

0 Meadow Street, Carver MA. Illegal mining operation. Forest destroyed, water polluted. Approximately 30 acre site. March 17, 2022.

The Carver Earth Removal Committee gave Johnson and Maki a permit in 2011. Permits must be renewed annually and cannot extend beyond 5 years without a public hearing. The permit has expired, trucks are speeding, exceeding the truck limit set by the 10-year-old permit, violating hours of operation and harming the neighborhood, home values and groundwater. The Earth Removal Committee has been sent a demand to stop this illegal operation but this is ignored. Members of the committee have conflicts of interest because many are in the earth removal business. Conflict of interest claims have been filed, including against the current Chairman Leronimo.

277 Meadow Street, Carver MA. Resident’s car covered with sand from illegal Maki/Johnson strip mine on abutting land
at 0 Meadow Street.
March 21, 2022

Maki and Johnson’s operation is excavating sand out of the Plymouth Carver Sole Source Aquifer as shown on the drone footage. Forests are being clear-cut, and plants and animals destroyed.

On March 28, 2022, Ten Residents of Carver filed an appeal with the state Department of Environmental Protection citing violations of the Wetlands Protection Act. Wetlands, forests, and soils protect and filter our water. The Carver Conservation Commission blatantly refused to do its job to enforce the Wetlands Protection Act to protect water and wetlands. On May 4, 2022, at 11 a.m. the MassDEP and Environmental Strike Force did a site visit. Bette Maki refused to let the local residents on the site.

Observations by the residents’ lawyer included:

-Vehicles being fueled on site with no spill protection

-Excavation within feet of wetlands

-Pump station withdrawing water from the Weweantic River to irrigate the 11 acre bog — while Lopes and Maki are excavating a 12 acre “reservoir” pond to water the very same 11 acre bog. There is no credible evidence to show this much water is needed to water the 11 acre bog!

-Statements by Lopes supervisor Danny “Digger” Nunes describing the detailed record-keeping. Lopes was hired by the landowner to take out the sand and gravel. Lopes sends weekly invoices to Maki detailing the volume they have taken out. Maki pays the Carver Earth Removal fees.

-Excavation around a vernal pool

-Processing and sorting of gravel material on site, construction of a roadway using debris and garbage