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Dalton Planning Board establishes Sidewalk subcommittee / iBerkshires.com

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DALTON, Mass. – The Planning Board created a sidewalk subcommittee at its meeting last week.

The subcommittee will review the proposed change to the sidewalk ordinance, which was not acted upon during the annual city council meeting on May 7.

The amendment proposes changing the city ordinance to make concrete sidewalks the standard.

During the meeting, Todd Logan, the citizen petitioner for the sidewalk amendment, reiterated what he had previously said at several meetings – that concrete sidewalks should be the norm – and presented the steps he had already taken in developing this amendment.

“The right way to do this is to have a subcommittee and have at least two people from the Planning Board, and you can have as many people as you want who are experts… and write the bylaws in the format that matches our bylaws” , planner Zack McCain said at the meeting.

“Then the entire Planning Board will review it, and then we’ll have a public hearing to let everyone have their input. And then we’ll make the changes based on the input and then let it go to the annual town meeting. “

McCain is the voter who gestured at the town meeting to table the article for a public hearing.

During the Planning Board meeting, McCain said he doesn’t think an amendment like this is necessary, but he expressed interest in serving on the committee.

“Personally, I don’t think we need another ordinance. I think the city will do a great job if it can use concrete sidewalks,” McCain said.

Residents interested in serving on the subcommittee can contact Logan, who will attend the next board meeting to determine when the committee will be formed.

The subcommittee would meet once a week, McCain said. The amendment must be in the form of the city’s charter.

Another thing the subcommittee can discuss is that the city has new subdivision bylaws that could add something that sidewalks must be concrete, he said.

During the annual city council meeting, several voters expressed support for the amendment, citing longer life expectancy, better safety, walkability and that it would be better for the environment.

Others expressed concerns about the proposed language.

“From a strictly technical point of view, cement concrete is an oxymoron,” voter Thomas King said at the council meeting.

The reason for this is that, from an engineering perspective, cement is any binding substance, and concrete is any hard substance formed by small pieces of material encapsulated in cement, King said.

“It should really say, I understand what (Logan is saying) that he would prefer the sidewalks he made from Portland cement and aggregate concrete, and you should rewrite the terms that way,” he said.

“…From a technical point of view, bituminous asphalt is called bituminous asphalt concrete, and macadam, the oldest invented flexible road paving system, is called asphalt and aggregate concrete.”

The law requires you to be strict with the wording, King said.

Tags: ad hoc committee, sidewalks,

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