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Hopkinton officials to meet with gravel bank owners

May 16, 2011

HOPKINTON -- Two members of the Town Council, the Town Planner, and the Town Manager will meet with local gravel bank operators and their attorney to discuss the long-in-the-works ordinance for land clearing and earth removal.

This decision by the council came two weeks after a public hearing on the ordinance at the Ashaway Elementary School on April 18, when mostly everyone in attendance agreed that a collaborative effort was necessary to move the matter forward.

"The bottom line is we can find some sort of compromise to get to the heart of the matter," Sylvia K. Thompson said at the meeting. "Things have always worked out the best when we have worked together in the past."

And at last week's meeting on May 2, the council voted 3-1 to fulfill that promise to work together. Councilor Scott Bill Hirst voted against the motion.

Council Vice President Thomas E. Buck and councilor Barbara A. Capalbo agreed that they will meet with town gravel bank business owners, their attorney, and his hired planning consultant to hear their thoughts and recommendations for the ordinance. The Town Manager and planner will also be in attendance.

While Buck will attend the meetings, he made no promises. "I'm going just to listen to their concerns and let them document them," he said, adding that the town's concerns are clear because they're written in the ordinance's language.

Buck was not in favor of the subcommittee concept at first. He argued that the gravel bank owners and their attorney should take a copy of the ordinance, go through it line by line, and submit a paper copy with their recommendations.

Then, he said, the council can look at it in writing, compare it to what's already written, and have another workshop.

Capalbo liked that idea, but she said she felt the council agreed that it would "work with them, together, to find those issues."

More information is available in this week's The Chariho Times.

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