By Scott Shurtleff
PEPPERELL -- The public will get its first chance on Monday night to see the details of -- and give feedback on -- a plan to backfill a former quarry on Nashua Road.
The Board of Selectmen will hold a public hearing on the proposal by Mass Composting Group Inc. at 7:15 p.m. at the Senior Center at 37 Nashua Road, being used due to an expected large audience.
MCG owns 161 Nashua Road, where rock had once been excavated but now is overgrown with native vegetation. Its plan calls deposit of 4 million cubic yards of clean earthen material to “return the area to its original topography” over seven to nine years. That material will be come from construction sites throughout the region. The company said the material will be “clean fill” that must comply with both town and Department of Environmental Protection standards.
MCGI first made its proposal in late June. Town officials first discussed the proposal last month at a meeting attended by about 70 residents, most of whom opposed the proposal.
Those residents say the site will be turned into a “dumping ground” of “construction debris and toxic dirt” with an estimated 50,000 truckloads traveling into town. They also say they are concerned about noise from the project, potential damage to roads, and a decrease in property values.
Opponents have formed Pepperell Watchers Community Group to fight the plan. Crystal Jefferies, one of the founding members, said on Friday that the group hopes to attract 500 people to the meeting, from both Pepperell and surrounding communities. Opponents will be wearing red, in solidarity.
Even with the stipulation that materials will be inspected to meet standards, residents are still pushing back.
“I’m less concerned about the dust we can see, and more concerned about what we can’t see,” Jeffries said.