So I'm guessing the company got all the paperwork done, nobody in the neighborhood bothered to read the notice and didn't protest when they had the chance. Company builds datacenter, now residents figure out first hand what the impact is.
I would think the company will file a lawsuit against the town for reimbursement—they did their due diligence on the paperwork after all—although this being France, chances are they'll be sent home with €0 and a zut alors.
Sendmail may be safely run set-user-id to root. -- Eric Allman, "Sendmail Installation Guide"