Town of Newfane Special Meeting to be held Tuesday, December 7 th at 6:00pm at the NewBrook Fire House
Vote on Town Purchase of Gravel Pit at Radway Hill Road and River Road
November 30, 2021
The Town of Newfane will be holding a special town meeting on Tuesday, December 7 th to discuss the proposed purchase of a gravel pit located at the juncture of Radway Hill Road and River Road in Newfane. The meeting will be held at the NewBrook Fire House located at 698 VT-30, Newfane at 6:00pm. An informational meeting was presented on November 15 as part of the regular Newfane Selectboard meeting and will be re-presented at the December meeting. The presentation is available on the town’s website.
The proposal is to purchase a 21-acre site for $450,000. Based on a report by Savoy Engineering that analyzed the composition of the gravel and sand on two-thirds of the site, there is sufficient material to meet the town’s gravel needs for at least 30 years. The available sand at the site would last even longer. The analysis was done on only 13 of the 21 acres and based on visual examination, the additional 8 acres have a similar composition. Therefore, the town can anticipate using the pit for several decades.
The cost of gravel and sand have risen 54% in the last year and the town’s budget for these two items has had to rise from $145,000 annually to $223,000. This is an issue being experienced by scores of Vermont communities as well as across the globe as sand has become a scarcer resource. A financial projection estimates the savings to Newfane of $2.1 million over 10 years.
Town residents will be asked to vote on two articles which will allow the Selectboard to both purchase the site and borrow the necessary funds to cover the purchase price and other associated costs, particularly the cost of completing the required Act 250 permit. There will be a floor vote; one must be registered to vote in the Town of Newfane and present at the meeting in order to vote. There will not be a paper ballot unless requested at the meeting by at least seven residents; the meeting will not be on Zoom.
Jay Wilson, Newfane Road Foreman, noted, “It is becoming more and more difficult to find contractors that have sand and gravel to sell – at any price. We use about 12,000 cubic yards of gravel and sand every year. With over 800,000 cubic yards available on just 13 of the 21 acres, this will be a boom for the town for years to come.” Mike Fitzpatrick, Newfane Selectboard member, agreed and added, “Purchasing the property now will ensure that we have the materials we need and at a price that is not continually increasing.”
At the Selectboard meeting more details were given about the Act 250 permitting process that the town is required to complete before opening the gravel pit for town operation. Most importantly to surrounding neighbors, given the composition of the material, there is no need for blasting of rock. The town will screen sand and crush gravel on an annual basis and truck it to the town garage for storage. There will not be a constant stream of trucks or activity at the site.
Selectboard Chair Angela Litchfield-Sanborn noted, “At the December 7 th meeting we will answer any questions from town residents and we have several photos available to show what the site looks like today. We hope residents will come out to learn more about the proposal and cast their vote.”