Board backs sludge ban

Belmont, N.Y.
By Harrison Haas

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Belmont Planning Board voted in favor of placing the proposed zoning amendment to prohibit the land application of all biosolids in all zones on the town warrant.

During a workshop session on Monday evening, board members also unanimously voted to not recommend the petition warrant article looking to adopt the state regulations on biosolids and allowing certain types.

Board members discussed both amendments among themselves at Monday's workshop, which did not allow public participation.

In December the Planning Board held two public hearings on the proposed zoning amendments that are to be placed on this year's ballot — meetings that brought out several individuals from Belmont and surrounding towns. One amendment deals with the use of biosolids and sludge, a substance that has been quite controversial across the country, as well as a petition warrant article looking to allow the material with certain regulations.

Chairman Peter Harris said the board has had a good deal of discussion on the topic from the previous public hearings. Monday night the Board had to vote to recommend or not recommend the petition and vote on whether it wants to see the amendment, which would ban biosolids outright, on the town warrant.

"I believe safety is something we should caution right now," board member Jon Pike said. "My fear is that once it's dumped on the land, we could have a problem. Maybe not the first year, but possibly the second or third year and then the finger pointing starts."

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