Asphalt Discussion To Be Continued On March 7

As litigation over the proposed asphalt plant continues in Massachusetts Land Court, the Westford Planning Board is also continuing hearings over bylaw changes that could prohibit other asphalt plants in the future.

Continued from their Feb. 1 meeting, on Tuesday night the Planning Board discussed three warrant articles coming before Town Meeting in April.

Two of those warrant articles involve the prohibition of asphalt plant construction, with one designating “asphalt manufacturing plants” and “heavy industrial” uses as not allowed in any zoning district within town and the other defining what an “asphalt manufacturing plant” and what “heavy manufacturing” is within the town of Westford.

The Planning Board heard input from members of the public, including Town Moderator Ellen Harde, who advised clarification between the two warrant articles over whether they address “heavy industrial” or “heavy manufacturing” uses.

While this was seen as a typographical error, the definition, presumably of “heavy manufacturing” involved “a high percentage of heavy truck traffic”, “hazardous materials” that pose risks, the establishment of “large” outdoor equipment, and manufacturing or industrial uses that produce “noise, odor, smoke, heat, glare, or vibration that are not confined entirely within a building” along with other criterion.

The definition did not include quarrying or mining.

Darren Wizst (left) and Dennis Galvin at the Feb. 16, 2016 Planning Board meeting.

Darren Wizst (left) and Dennis Galvin at the Feb. 16, 2016 Planning Board meeting.

Planning Board Chairman Dennis Galvin was pleased with the asphalt plant definition, but believed the other definition required more scrutiny to ensure that potential land uses that could be beneficial to the area and not harm neighbors were not accidentally prohibited by the bylaw amendment.

With Planning Board members Mike Green and Matt Lewin missing, the board decided to continue the discussion once again, this time to their March 7 meeting.

Even if the warrant articles pass Town Meeting, the bylaw changes would not impact the proposed asphalt plant just off Groton Road.

A third warrant article involving an update to the town’s sign bylaws was also discussed as well as tentative support of a new site plan at Orchard Square, the former site of the Tiki Lau restaurant on Littleton Road.

CORRECTION 4:07 p.m. 2/17 – The restaurant was the Tiki Lau, not the Bali Hai. The article has been updated to reflect this.