Voters OK sand, gravel excavation engineering, surveying work

Greenfield Town Meeting 2013.

(Staff photo by Steve Leone)

Greenfield Town Meeting 2013. (Staff photo by Steve Leone) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

GREENFIELD — Voters approved all spending articles during Saturday’s Town Meeting, including an amendment to the police budget that added a $1,000 raise for Police Chief Brian Giammarino.

Voters moved quickly through separate budgets for fire, police, recycling, highway and town operation during a three-and-a-half-hour meeting that drew about 100 residents to the Meeting House.

The most contentious debates centered on what some residents called the deteriorating condition of the town’s roads, as well as a proposal for engineering services that would pave the way for sand and gravel removal from a town-owned lot adjacent to Greenvale Cemetery on Forest Road as early as this year.

Article 4 asked voters to approve $15,600 to fund surveying and engineering services, and it was amended to explicitly state that sand and gravel removal could occur this year. If the required permits are met, the town could soon begin clearing at least a portion of the six-acre excavation area.

Town officials said the operation did not equate to a sand or gravel pit, and that the land being excavated would not be visible from Route 131, from the cemetery or from Zephyr Lake. DPW Director Tim Murray also said that the excavation from the site would save the town about $10,000 a year on sand and gravel purchases, and it would lessen everything from overtime pay, fuel costs and wear and tear on the town trucks used to haul in material from out of town.

Some residents expressed concern that the process was moving ahead without public input and without following the town’s own ordinances, though John Gryval, Zoning Board chair, said that projects on town land are exempt from the town ordinances.

Resident Susan Moller was among those who questioned the scope of the project, and whether there had been enough study or public input. “There are too many unknowns on the impact to the cemetery, the impact on the entrance into town and the impact on Zephyr Lake.”

After the meeting, Select Board member Karen Day indicated that public hearings would be held following the feasibility study and prior to any excavation of sand and gravel being done.

While there was some discussion of the town’s long-term plan for the site adjacent to Greenvale Cemetery, which could one day include the DPW garage and office, salt storage shed, sand stockpile, fueling pad and enclosed fuel tank, any decision to move DPW facilities to the site would have to be voted on at a future Town Meeting, said Day.

Ultimately, voters approved the article to spend money on surveying and engineering at the site.

The condition of the town’s roads also proved to be a hot topic. At the end of the meeting, voters approved a plan that will require the Select Board to present during next year’s Town Meeting a comprehensive proposal to maintain, build and pay for the town’s ailing roads. Voters also approved $176,194 for a 2014 Mack 10-wheel dump truck.

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