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Select Board Discusses Rail Trail Encroachment, Trash Pick-Up Issues

by Matt Ristaino
June 11, 2019

The Select Board discussed issues of encroachers on the rail trail and including businesses in the new trash collection program at its meeting Monday evening.

Robert Weidknecht and Ken Henderson of the Rail Trail Committee spoke to the Board about a letter they plan to send to businesses who are encroaching on the rail trail. The letter is meant to serve as the starting point for a dialog on how to resolve the issue. Henderson emphasized the committee’s desire to resolve the situation diplomatically.

“If you are encroaching, we need to deal with it,” said Henderson, “but let’s deal with it in a realistic way.”

The letter informs the businesses in question that they have until December 1st to cease and desist their encroachment, or apply for a license to continue to use the town land. The cost of the license is to be determined.

Robert Weidknecht (right) and Ken Henderson (left) talk to the Board.

Vice-chair John Cronin was concerned about what would happen to businesses who were non-compliant with the letter. Weidknecht and Henderson said that non-compliant businesses would most likely be subject to a lien in the future. Ultimately, the Board voted to approve the letter.

The Board also discussed the possibility of including businesses in the new trash and recycling pick-up program. This was in response to a letter that was proposed to be sent to businesses who use the current recycling pick-up program, even though they aren’t technically allowed to do so, saying that they will not be served by the new contract which goes into effect next month.

The issue was first brought up by Cronin, who said that since the cost of trash pick-up is covered by taxes, and businesses pay taxes, they should be allowed to use the program. He called it “disingenuous” of the town to force businesses to pay for their own trash pick-up on top of the taxes they are already paying.

His suggested proposal would allow businesses to use the same carts being provided to residents, and allow businesses to opt-out of the program if they already have other arrangements or if the 35-gallon carts are not sufficient.

Both Mark Ahronian and Tina Hein had concerns about the idea. Both were hesitant about the extra cost to the town that this program would bring. Ahronian also pointed out that a similar discussion was had about condominiums in town during the last contract, and the Board voted against including them due to the cost.

The new contract, as currently written, only provides for residential trash pick-up and makes no mention of businesses or industrial sites. Any changes would have to be approved at Town Meeting in October.

The Board decided to re-visit the issue later, after they determine how many businesses would be interested in using the town’s service and how much it would cost.

A poster depicting the new trash and recycling carts to be distributed to residents.

In other business, the Board heard from building inspector Chris Canney, who explained that the building department made a number of changes to the building permit fee schedule to better accommodate the new permitting software the department will begin using next month.

The Board also approved a Class II used car dealer license to Blasius Enterprises, LLC for the WGC Enterprises car dealership on Washington St.

During the public comment portion of the meeting, Cronin addressed the issue of the black American flags with a blue line that were posted on telephone poles last month as a part of a tribute to fallen police officers. Members of Diverse Holliston expressed concerns over the symbol, which they viewed as threatening and hostile towards the Black Lives Matter movement and people of color in general.  Cronin said that while telephone poles are not the jurisdiction of the Select Board, the Board should come up with a policy to set guidelines for any postings in public spaces.

In his report, Town Administrator Jeff Ritter said that the public library is currently being cleaned up and re-stocked, and that it should be fully operational in about ten days. He also noted that the town recently took ownership of the property at 9 Green St. due to back taxes, and the town needs to decide what to do with the property before Town Meeting in October.

 

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Comments (2)

A suggestion: Can residents purchase a second trash barrel for those "heavy" trash weeks and simply place a sticker on it for the additional fee. Seems a fair solution and saves the back of the trash truck operator as well as keeps trash from animals etc.

- Brian Grace | 6/23/19 11:54 AM

Nobody has still answered the question of how to handle overflow trash. Put a Green sticker on a separate barrel? Then what call for over size disposal at one item per week?

- Ken Campbell | 6/11/19 7:01 PM

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