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HOPKINTON -- Before the latest public hearing on a proposed land clearing and earth removal ordinance began Monday night, it became clear that the matter would be continued for the purposes of more research and discussion to find a middle ground.
At least, that was the feeling during council President Sylvia K. Thompson's opening remarks. She first ran through the four-year history of the draft gravel bank ordinance, which has gone through the zoning and planning boards and conservation commission for consideration.
Thompson said that it came to be to satisfy two objectives.
The objectives are to identify the legal, non-conforming operations in town and then figure out how to regulate an industry that has caused flooding, noise, and dust on neighboring properties and roads, she said. Anyone who has lived in town long enough, she added, knows that "people sometimes do stupid things on their land that harms their neighbor's property and may affect groundwater."
She said that everyone also knows firsthand that there are excavation businesses in town that are running correctly, following all the rules, and, in some instances, acting as the prime example.
Thompson added that the town needs to really look at how to solve the problems throughout Hopkinton where residents are dealing with problematic issues caused by certain gravel operations. "That's something that needs to be worked on," she said.
She went on to say that following the hearing, it would be wise to have town officials meet with a local lawyer representing several businesses in town to work something out.
"And I don't mean drop everything," she continued. "The bottom line is we can find some sort of compromise to get to the heart of the matter. Things have always worked out the best when we have worked together in the past."
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