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Upton Board Withdraws Permit at Request of South Street Owners

The Upton Board of Selectmen unanimously approved the request from the owners of South Street Realty Trust to withdraw their renewal for an excess earth removal permit. The Board discussed the request during a December 16 meeting.

For more than six months, the Board and Town Manager Blythe Robinson had been working with South Street owners Henry Poirier and Pam Campbell in an effort to draw up new permit guidelines amenable to the owners and residents in the South St. area. Residents had been complaining to town officials concerning the gravel pit business citing a number of safety and traffic concerns.

While negotiations were still ongoing, the Board shut down the gravel pit operations for several weeks in November when it was discovered the business had violated the terms of the current permit by operating during two holidays. Not long after that, it was announced by Robinson that the South Street owners had decided to put the business up for sale. "They have given this a lot of thought," said Robinson during the December 16 meeting. The business is expected to be on the market sometime in January.

If it is purchased to again operate as a gravel pit business, the new owner will be required to negotiate guidelines of a new permit. Selectmen Robert Fleming added should Campbell and Poirier change their minds about selling the business, the permit process would start all over again. "Once we accept this withdrawal, it's over," said Fleming. "It's been six months. There's been a lot of time and energy put into this process."

Robinson explained that if the business does not operate for two years as a gravel pit, "under the zoning bylaw, they [the owners] would lose the grandfathering they've had on this property for the year's they've been running and would likely have a trip to the Zoning Board of Appeals if they want to re-establish it."

In other news that evening, the Board unanimously appointed Janice Nowicki as the new Council on Aging Director. Fleming stated Nowicki's credentials were excellent and her background very solid. She was the COA Director in Littleton. She was in attendance at the meeting when the Board appointed her to her new position. "I'm thrilled. This is the best Christmas present ever. This is a great town. I'm looking forward to meeting everyone."

And finally, Recreation Commission Chair Richard Gazoorian came before the Board to discuss two upcoming projects the Commission would like to see completed. The first concerns the basketball and tennis courts at Kiwanis Beach. "They're in such disrepair that we can't use them," explained Gazoorian. "The courts need to be completely ripped out, a new base put in, and repaved." The estimated cost for the new courts is approximately $47,000 and is eligible for Community Preservation Act funding.

The second project involves creating a new handicapped accessible parking lot for the Kiwanis Beach upper field where soccer and lacrosse is played. The parking lot would hold 25 to 30 cars. According to Gazoorian, the lack of an ADA compliant parking lot has created a safety issue for spectators. The parking lot is estimated to cost $40,000 and is also eligible for CPA funding.




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