Land use committee reaches conclusion

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by Shirley Murtha
Reporting to the Board of Selectman for the Town-owned Land Use Study Committee, chairman Mark Higby said that after reading the resident surveys and discussing the situation with the town boards and commissions, it is recommended that the former Evonsion farmland remain in agricultural use. This is what the majority of residents desire, and there is no need at this time for any other town use of the property. The committee feels that using the land for both private and town agriculture is most in keeping with the rural character of Granby that is highly appreciated by its residents. The property is currently leased by a local farmer who grows corn there to feed his cows and sheep.
Other recommendations of the committee included continuing conservation of open space especially as it relates to protected wildlife corridors. The committee noted that the Granby Land Trust and McLean’s Game Refuge practice admirable open space stewardship.
Update on Solid Waste Management
MIRA Board of Directors member John Adams gave the following update on the town’s solid waste agreement. Formerly CRRA, the Materials Innovation and Recycling Authority has a contract with Granby for disposal of municipal solid waste (MSW) and recyclables. The town shares in the revenue from selling the recycled materials, which, in the past, has amounted to about $10 a ton. This year, the amount decreased to about $5 a ton, due to the downturn in the Chinese markets where many of the recyclables are sold. It is likely that there will be no rebate at all in the future, however, the real benefit to the town is that each ton of material recycled would cost $62 if it went into MSW. In the last fiscal year, Granby recycled 1,484 tons of material, resulting in a cost avoidance of $92,000.
Adams noted that Granby’s recycling volume was down 2 percent from the previous fiscal year and emphasized that more stringent recycling results in not only saving money but also benefits the environment. He encouraged residents to make note of all the acceptable materials and make the effort to recycle as much as possible.
Request for Information
Resident Bill Regan read a statement requesting to see all documents relating to the hiring of Kirk Severance as new Public Works director to be sure due diligence was carried out. Regan wishes to see all the associated applications and resumes. The Town Manager did not provide this information, thus Regan submitted a complaint with the Freedom of Information Commission, which feels that the request is reasonable, and ordered the town attorney to provide them.
Regan also noted that the members of the BOS have been using personal email addresses to conduct town business and that this does not comply with the State’s specific document retention requirements. He suggested that all elected officials use a granby.gov email address.
Update on Holcomb Farm
Improvements continue to be considered to enhance the North Barn renovation: lighting for parking areas and the possible addition of bathroom facilities, with upgrades to those currently located in the main barn. The renovated pavilion is now bringing in revenue and the goal is for the structure to be self-sustaining in the future.
There is $1,391 remaining from the $600,000 ($500,000 STEAP grant and $100,000 from the Holcomb Farm Capital Campaign) that was budgeted for the renovation and the additional parking area.
The North Barn kitchen upgrade was approved by the Farmington Valley Health District.
Appointments and Resignations
Mark W. Lockwood has been appointed as the Greater Hartford Transit District representative for Granby.
Recognitions
Commission Retirements
At the Oct. 19 meeting, the board recognized the service of several community members: Neil Kraner, for 19 years on the Inland Wetlands and Watercourses Commission; Susan Dwyer, for 11 years on the Conservation Commission; and Linda Spevacek, for 11 years on the Planning and Zoning Commission.
In addition, the members of Town Land Use Study Committee were given special thanks for their diligent now-completed work: John Adams, Terri-Ann Hahn, Mark Higby, Peg Lareau, Richard McDermott, Katherine Miller, Mark Neumann (BOS liaison) and Mary-Jo Toczydlowski.
Public Works Awards
Robert Bahre, Henri Ducharme and Tom Matyseck of the Public Works Department participated in the annual Snow Plow Safety Roadeo held in Wallingford on Oct. 15. The team received second and third place trophies, which can be seen in the Public Works office.
Town of Granby Award
The town received the Bronze Level of Achievement Award from the Clean Energy Communities Program for its continued efforts in conserving energy. The award is sponsored by EnergizeCT, Eversource and the Connecticut Green Bank.
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