Milford Selectmen approve Brox property gravel plan

MILFORD – Extraction of earth materials is expected to begin soon at a 142-acre tract on the town-owned Brox property. Half of the property, 75 acres, will be left as protected open space.

Selectmen voted to authorize the project at their Sept. 25 meeting after the town received an alteration of terrain permit from the state Department of Environmental Services (DES) .

Northeast Sand and Gravel of New Ipswich will be taking gravel over several phases, with phase one from the existing Brox Industries gravel pit.

Suzanne Fournier, of Brox Environmental Citizens, said in an email that abutting families are filing an appeal with DES.

“Brox Environmental Citizens never gives up working for what we know to be right for this ecological gem, for the neighbors and many others who appreciate the Brox town land for its many rich values,” she said.

Last week, she said, abutters filed a complaint against the town and Northeast Sand & Gravel in superior court, and their attorney also filed a motion for a preliminary injunction hearing.

The site, near the Heron Pond elementary school is home to threatened or endangered species, including the bank swallow, eastern hog-nosed snake, spotted turtle and Blanding’s turtle,

At the selectmen’s meeting last week, Fournier offered several objections to the plan, saying the town has no authority to spend $18,000 on a contribution to a multi-year non-game study of endangered species, paid in three annual payments.

In response, Kevin Brown, of Northeast Sand and Gravel, said the company will pick up the first year cost of $6,000.

Fournier, who has been trying for years to block the project, also said one of the roads to be used is within the wetlands buffer and so needs zoning board approval, but officials do not agree.

Among the conditions of the permit include silt fences to prevent hog-nosed snakes from hibernating in areas that will be disturbed.

Andy Hughes, chairman of the town conservation commission, noted that there is a lot purple loosestrife in the gravel pit and asked for some control efforts to prevent the invasive species from threatening the wetlands.

Selectmen’s Chairman Mark Fougere said the town’s environmental coordinator and a state forester will monitor Northeast’s work, and there will be a camera installed to monitor truck loads.

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

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