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Residents voice opposition to proposed wastewater treatment plant

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Shrewsbury – A second and third day of Town Meeting in Shrewsbury drew hot debate over two articles relating to the design and development of a proposed wastewater treatment facility that would be built on Lake Street.

Several Shrewsbury residents who live near the parcel of land that the facility would be constructed upon were at the meetings, holding signs in protest of the articles. Karen McCluskey, a resident who lives near the site on Lake Street, held a sign that said, “Vote no on Articles 19 and 20.”

Her opposition, she said, was more to the use of the land for something other than recreation space, which she feels is badly needed in Shrewsbury. “There aren’t enough places for kids to play here in town,” Mc- Cluskey said. “We have this one small, grass-covered piece of land and they are going to use it for a sewerage treatment facility?”

McCluskey and another resident, Yihont Xu, who was also protesting the articles, live in a neighborhood development built by Toll Brothers. Both said when they purchased the homes, Toll Brothers’ official s informed them the land was going to be used to build a recreation area. The town of Shrewsbury had specifically purchased the land from the Sears family in the 1990’s with a restriction that it be used to build a recreational space. Both also questioned why more public discussion had not taken place on the proposed facility.

“We just learned about this on Monday,” Xu said. “Our position is we want Town Meeting members to say no to both articles. But if they are going to approve them, it shouldn’t happen without a public debate first.” At Wednesday’s meeting, several in attendance questioned the lack of public discussion on the proposed plant.

“It hasn’t had public participation before this time, but what better time than to bring it before this body?” said Town Manager Dan Morgado to members.

In a project summary made available at the meeting, Morgado spelled out that the necessity for the facility was the result of the limits anticipated at the Westborough Wastewater Treatment plant, where the Shrewsbury disposes its wastewater.

“Because of heightened awareness of the environmental concerns over inter-basin transfer of water resources such as this, the permitting of future increases in water withdrawals and wastewater discharges will be difficul t if not impossible,” Morgado wrote in the summary.

The proposed new facility would increase the drinking water supply, as well as sewage capacity, and generate 300,000 to 400,000 gallons a day in additional treatment capacity.

After hours of debate May 19, Article 19, which will appropriate funds for engineering, design, permitting and other related costs associated with the construction of the sewerage treatment facility, was passed. However, Article 20, which would allow the town to modify the designation for which property was purchased so it can be used instead for the proposed facility, was defeated May 20.

Board of Selectmen Chair Moira Miller began the May 20 discussion of the article by stating the board did not intend to proceed with the article and recommended it be defeated. Miller pointed to both protest from residents and a letter from the Scandinavian Athletic Club, which is located on Lake Street near the proposed site, as influencing factors.

With the approval of Article 19, funds allocated through the measure will now be used to explore construction of a sewerage treatment facility in another location.

Short URL: http://www.communityadvocate.com/?p=7182

Posted by on May 28 2010. Filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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