Fournier: Test pits damaged Milford’s Brox property

MILFORD – Test pits have caused extensive damage to the Brox property, the leader of a citizens’ group has charged in a letter to town officials.

Suzanne Fournier, of Brox Environmental Citizens, wrote that a backhoe damaged the ground, and 40 test pits caused “much unnecessary damage.”

“There apparently was little attempt to behave in an environmentally-
sensitive manner and leave the earth in as much a natural state as possible,” she wrote.

Selectman Mark Fougere said no permanent damage was done and the testing will provide the town with a valuable analysis of earth resources.

“Test pits occur every day in New Hampshire,” he said, and the testing is part of a study that Fournier and others had asked for.

The town did limited testing in 2006, he said, but last winter when selectmen proposed re-
authorizing a warrant article to allow gravel removal there were complaints about lack of detail.

“I would think her group would support this,” he said.

The latest testing considers the future uses of the Brox community land as outlined in its master plan, Fougere said, and it will determine how much gravel is there and how much should remain.

Community land is what the town calls the southern half of the 270-acre Brox land, purchased by the town 14 years ago for future municipal uses, including sports fields, cemeteries, schools and emergency facilities. The town wants to sell the northern half, which is zoned for industrial, commercial and residential uses.

But to build on the land without first studying the earth resources would be wasteful, say town officials. The town has been removing gravel for its own uses, but it needs voter approval to sell it.

The test pits are part of an engineering study for the potential gravel operation and it is being done by Fieldstone Land Consultants. A report is expected in a few weeks.

Voters rejected a warrant article in March asking for the gravel removal re-authorization after Brox Environmental Citizens lobbied against it.

The group has maintained that more conservation and less development should occur at the site and opposes sports fields there, which the town considers a priority.

Fournier included photos with her letter and said “to get the full effect of the size of one of these pits, it is best to see it in person. Finding the sites is easy – just follow the ruts made by the backhoe.

“The damage here is to standing trees, the ground is deeply rutted, smaller trees have been trampled on and the area was left in an unsightly, unnatural condition.”

She has an appointment with the Board of Selectmen at its Dec. 1 meeting and has asked that the town “repair the damage with rakes and brooms and not by machinery that would cause further damage.”

Kathy Cleveland can be reached at kcleveland@cabinet.com or 673-3100, ext. 304.