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Greenfield

Special Town Meeting set for Jan. 18

GREENFIELD — Residents opposed to the town’s plan to remove sand and gravel from the town-owned lot next to Greenvale Cemetery will have a chance to express their objections at a Special Town Meeting in January.

Town Administrator Aaron Patt said the Select Board is planning to have the meeting, which had been requested by petition, on Jan. 18 in the Town Hall.

In late November, the petitioners had considered withdrawing their request when they were told that any attempt to rescind funding would require attendance at the special meeting by at least 50 percent of the town’s registered voters.

Patt said Monday that he had researched the process for withdrawing a petition, at the request of both the petitioners and the Select Board, and had found little case law that would provide guidance. At a Select Board meeting Thursday, according to Patt, the petitioners said they wanted to have the meeting, rather than waiting until Town Meeting in March.

According to Bob Brown, one of the petitioners, many voters were confused at Town Meeting in March, when they approved $15,600 for a study on using the property for gravel processing and eliminating $10,000 from the salt and sand line in the DPW budget passed by a margin of 49 to 28. Town officials say that vote constituted approval to go ahead with gravel removal and some material was removed to be used this winter on town roads, although Select Board Chair Rob Wimpory has said no more gravel will be removed this winter.

But the petitioners disagree with that interpretation.

“We want to make sure that no sand or gravel is ever removed from that facility,” said Brown said on Monday. “ We want to see what the people of the town really want. Last time many people were just voting on a feasibility study. This needs to be revisited. We’ll see what happens and let the town decide.”

I was at that meeting last March. It was very clear what was being voted on and removing sand and gravel from the site this calendar year was part of it.

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