RICHMOND — The Town Council agreed at its Tuesday meeting to meet with representatives from the towns of Hopkinton and Charlestown to discuss how the three towns can assist the Chariho Regional School District by allocating portions of their trash cap allotments to the district.
Under regulations passed a few years ago, the state abolished the regional school districts’ municipal waste disposal rate, leaving the districts to grapple with rates that were double what they had been paying. Superintendent of Schools Barry Ricci has asked the three towns to allocate their surplus allotments to Chariho, and for the past several years, Richmond and Charlestown have done so.
Department of Public Works Director Scott Barber explained that Hopkinton, which disposes of its waste at the Westerly transfer station, has not been in a position to allocate anything to the school district. This year, Richmond and Charlestown are once again preparing to allocate 340 tons each to Chariho, which would reduce the proposed Chariho budget by more than $36,000, thereby reducing the burden on all three towns.
“In the end, it does save us money,” Barber said. “Is it kind of convoluted, and Hopkinton could be perceived as getting a benefit? Yes. What the monetary figure is, we’re going to try and see if we can come up with that solution.”
Individual Hopkinton residents have also been using the Richmond transfer station on a pay-as-you-throw basis, meaning that they buy a $25 annual sticker and pay additional, weight-based trash disposal fees.
Town Council President Gary Wright said the council would discuss the trash situation in greater depth at a February meeting. He said he was particularly interested in talking with Hopkinton Town Council President Frank Landolfi. At last week’s Chariho Omnibus meeting, Landolfi said his town was already exceeding its cap at the Westerly transfer station and did not have any surplus to give to Chariho.
“I’d like to talk to Hopkinton about what they expect from us, as far as trash goes, and what we can expect from them dealing with Chariho and their trash cap,” Wright said. “What we thought was going to happen between Charlestown, Hopkinton and Richmond — Charlestown also thought we were going to work together. That’s why I’m hoping to have a talk with Mr. Landolfi about dealing with this whole cap issue and what we can do as three towns working together. We’re doing a regional school district together. Let’s talk about what benefits our three towns.”
The council approved a motion to ask the Planning Board for a recommendation on amending the town’s comprehensive plan and zoning ordinance to make it more difficult for adult entertainment venues to open.
The area of concern is an industrial zone at the western end of Stilson Road. Adult entertainment is currently permitted in industrial zones, but not in light industrial or general business zones.
Town Solicitor Karen Ellsworth suggested that the council inform Town Planner Juliana Berry of the uses it wants to see in the neighborhood.
“Juliana asked me to ask you if it’s possible to have a brief discussion and talk about what you envision the uses on Stilson should be, because that would assist the Planning Board in making a recommendation to you about specifically what use codes should be allowed and what zoning districts should be adopted,” she said.
The council agreed to ask the Planning Board to study the rezoning of the Western portion of Stilson Road to light industrial, which would first require amending the comprehensive plan.