Published DateBELMONT — Along with the other items on next week's SB-2 ballot, voters will be asked to decide whether or not the zoning ordinances governing Best Way Disposal recycling facility on Route 140 should be amended to including solid waste transfers.
As it stands now, the site, which is operated by Casella, Inc., functions only as a transfer site for construction and demolition debris and recyclables. If voters approve Article 2 as proposed, the site will be able to be used for transferring general household waste as well as the other uses already allowed.
Belmont has no curbside recycling and those who wish to recycle can bring their recylcables to the Casalla site.
Town Planner Candace Daigle said yesterday that the early idea is that if the zoning ordinance is passed and allows household waste disposal to the uses already allowed in the industrial zone, Casalla said it is likely the Route 140 facility will initially stay the same size.
Daigle, who said her written and verbal statements to the media in support of the change reflect the feelings of the majority of the Planning Board and its chairman.
She noted that of the 230 operating municipal and private transfer stations in the state, the Department of Environmental Services is not aware of any significant spills from permitted stations. She said all of them must have contingency plans and all permits must meet state and town requirements.
Daigle and Town Administrator Jeanne Beaudin also noted for earlier news articles that towns that host MSW sites can enjoy a financial benefit as well. Beaudin noted that Belmont has budgeted just over $500,000 annually for 2013 for municipal waste and the costs are expected to rise at tipping fees – or the cost charge to towns to dispose of waste, rise.
But not everyone in town is 100 percent on board with changing the ordinance.
Conservation Commission Chair Ken Knowlton isn't entirely convinced allowing household waste to be collected direclty above an important aquifer is the right things to do.
Knowlton said yesterday that the Conservation Commission has discussed the proposed zoning amendment at the more recent meeting and its membership is torn.
"We really couldn't oppose it with the information we were given," he said, saying his main concern was in the future and concerned about the amount of expansion that could occur over the aquifer.
He described his feelings as more "uneasy" than against the proposed ordinance change.
He said he just wants voters to keeping in mind that the industrial zone is over the aquifer and there is a lot of household waste like batteries and lightbulbs that he would not like to see possible pollute the area.