Northampton Media reports on the Planning Board’s March 25 joint public hearing with the City Council’s Ordinance Committee. The hearing considered a citizen petition to prohibit landfills from Northampton’s Water Supply Protection Districts. The Planning Board split 3-3 on whether to forward the petition to the City Council with a positive recommendation. We’ll provide a video of this hearing on our blip.tv channel within a few days. The Ordinance Committee will meet on April 12 to discuss the petition further.
An initial vote had members Baker, Sullivan and Johnston in support of recommending the amendment to the Ordinance Committee, with Richards, Kohout and Gilson in opposition. In light of the tied vote, a second motion to advance the zone change with no recommendation passed unanimously.
“It was wrong of the DEP to grant the waiver,” said Johnston, who called the final vote to advance with no recommendation “pathetic”.
Sullivan said that he was “morally” in favor of the resolution, even if it proved to have no effect upon the zoning and permitting process.
Baker called the zoning amendment a “simple, clear, and responsible way to eliminate the maybes and whatevers”.
Richards opposed the amendment on the grounds that it would be “confusing to voters”.
Kohout opposed the amendment because it “eliminates room for discussing a full range of options”.
Gilson said that the amendment “doesn’t do what the petitioners want, which is to stop the landfill”.
Gazette: “Northampton landfill zoning change up in air: Planners make no recommendation” (3/26/10)
Even though expansion of the Glendale Road facility appears to be on the back burner following a council resolution advising the Board of Public Works to terminate such efforts, opponents note that nothing in the nonbinding resolution removes expansion as a future alternative.
“They are still trying to keep that option open,” said Mimi Odgers, chairwoman of Water Not Waste who lives near the landfill at 97 Glendale Road.
Water Not Waste members want the council to go further and approve a proposed zoning change that would prohibit landfills in water supply protection districts. They remain leery that the city will one day resurrect expansion plans after it studies other ways to deal with its trash, as the BPW is instructed to do in the nonbinding resolution.