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Gravel vote must wait until March

Special Town Meeting petition falls short

GREENFIELD — Town officials don’t plan to hold a special Town Meeting to review the town’s plan to extract sand and gravel from a lot next to Greenvale Cemetery.

“There isn’t going to be a special meeting,” Select Board Chair Rob Wimpory said Monday. “A petition was put together but they didn’t have enough signatures. They’ll have to wait for town meeting to discuss this.”

In October, resident Bob Brown, who lives across from the Forest Road lot, gave the board a petition signed asking that work be suspended at the lot and funding approved to purchase sand and gravel.

At Town Meeting in March, voters approved $15,600 for surveying and engineering services to determine the feasibility of using the land for gravel processing and removed $10,000 from the salt and sand item of the town’s Highway Department budget. An amendment to the article included wording that gravel would be removed starting in 2013. 

When Highway Department workers started hauling out sand in the summer, some residents of the neighborhood objected, saying it wasn’t clear that the Town Meeting vote had approved the project.

In addition to the petition asking for a special meeting, they went to the Zoning Board of Adjustment seeking a ruling on the town vote. In October, the board ruled that it had no legal basis to hear an appeal.

Wimpory said the town will not be removing any more material prior to next year’s Town Meeting.

“It’s kind of a moot point,” Wimpory said. “We’re done for the season unless there’s an emergency.”

Zoning Board members John Gryval and Loren White attended the Oct. 31 Select Board meeting, where according to Gryval they urged the board to listen to the concerns of the residents.

“We want to start working together as neighbors again to resolve these problems,” Gryval said on Monday. “We wanted to see if we could act as a mediator, if they found it appropriate. It’s important to note that the Zoning Board doesn’t feel the Select Board did anything wrong at all.”

In a recent flyer distributed to residents by email, the Select Board said the town has removed 3,000 yards of sand and gravel this year, which the board said would have cost $29,490 if purchased from outside sources.

In an email to the Ledger-Transcript on Monday, Janet Renaud, one of the organizers of the petition effort, said abutters are still discussing whether to renew their request for a special Town Meeting.

Dave Anderson can be reached at 924-7172, ext. 233 or danderson@ledgertranscript.com. He’s on Twitter at @DaveAndersonMLT.

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