2008-11-13 / Front Page

Town Council approves landfill closure plans

By Sam Bari

Despite opposition, the Town Council approved the landfill closure design submitted by GZA Geo Environmental of Providence, the firm contracted to handle the closure of the landfill on North Main Road.

The 3-2 vote at the Nov. 10 Town Council meeting followed a presentation of the revised closure plan by Town Engineer Michael Gray with GZA engineers Ed Summerly and Todd Greene. The presentation sparked a lengthy question and answer discussion with the council.

Citizens were given the opportunity to question GZA and air their grievances at the Oct. 27 Town Council meeting. Monday's meeting was reserved for questions from the council, although many residents attended both meetings, and a few spoke about the closure during the open forum after the vote for approval had taken place.

Councilman Robert Sutton was not happy that provisions for housing the $150,000 in equipment had not been considered. "We can't just leave that equipment out in the weather to deteriorate like that," Sutton said.

He suggested that a 1,200 square foot area on the blacktop be set aside for a low-cost canvas and hoop building that would be adequate for storing the equipment. Town Council President Julio DiGiando and councilman William Kelly supported the idea, and Town Administrator Bruce Keiser agreed.

Sutton made a motion to approve the plan with a revision that indicated a storage building for the equipment on the blacktopped area. The motion passed with a 3-2 vote.

Council members Michael White and Barbara Szepatowski cast the dissenting votes. Szepatowski said that she didn't have enough time to review the revised closure plan in detail because the council wasn't given copies until the previous Friday afternoon.

She also said that she didn't understand the hurry to vote on such an emotional issue when there were so many questions that had not been answered to everyone's satisfaction.

"I don't understand why we're in such a hurry when everybody doesn't feel comfortable," Szepatowski said.

White agreed, but did not give specific reasons for voting against the motion to approve.

Sutton said that the town had been working to close the landfill for 11 years, and no matter how many revisions were considered, everyone would not be satisfied. He said that it was time to get it over with and move on to something else.

DiGiando agreed and said that this was the first opportunity the council has had to vote for a finished plan. He also said that the plan was good and it was time to stop discussions and make a decision.

Fort Getty In other business, Fort Getty Committee Chairwoman Mary Meagher spoke about developments at the park, and particularly mentioned how the committee would like to start the sailing program that had been approved several years ago. She also mentioned that Fort Getty was one of the locations the wind committee was considering for locating a wind turbine. She said that they were in the process of updating the master plan.

DiGiando said that many committees had interests in the development and use of the town-owned park and suggested a multi-committee workshop to talk about the possibilities and direction. Meagher agreed and Town Administrator Keiser suggested a meeting on Jan. 22 of 2009. It was decided that all of the interested committees and organizations would be invited.

Hunting

The Town Administrator reported that the hunting season at the designated section of Beavertail State Park would extend from Nov. 10 to Jan. 31, 2009. There will be no hunting on weekends prior to Dec. 31. Either sex can be harvested, and antlerless deer permits are valid for this season for archery hunting only. No shotguns or muzzle loaders are permitted.

Licensed archery hunters must apply at the police station for Beavertail permits.

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