Skip to content




TOWNSEND — Three members of the Planning Board met to go over a rough draft for a bylaw change that could help James and Alice Kennedy remove a massive dirt pile that consumes their back yard.

The Kennedys live at 78 Mason Rd. where they have been trying for five years to get a mound of dirt hauled away. It was left there by a developer when he put in houses on Horseshoe Drive.

The Kennedys were unsuccessful in getting a variance in the current bylaw from the Zoning Board of Appeals. They have since decided to try to re-write the bylaw for earth removal for the residential community.

At an earlier meeting, the planners decided to assist the Kennedys in drafting the verbiage for the bylaw change.

”(The current bylaw) is not perfect as it stands. I have gone over the Kennedy’s rough draft and have some questions and concerns,” said Planning Board member Stanley Vladyka. “The more questions we have now, the less questions there could be when this goes to town floor.”

Land Use Coordinator Kathy Araujo attended the informal meeting, and wanted clarification on exactly what the Kennedys are attempting to do.

”It was my understanding that the purpose of this is to add to the existing earth removal bylaw,” she said. “This seems like we could be rewriting the entire thing.”

After the zoning board denied their variance, Karen Kennedy said, “Our only option is to redo the existing bylaw for residential. We did up a rough draft and sent it to ZBA member David Chenelle. He sent it back with some things removed.”

”(Chenelle’s version) says the ZBA has controls, and they can impose restrictions on this,” said James Kennedy.

Vladyka said some restrictions would apply to the Kennedys as well as others who might find themselves in similar situations, said Vladyka.

”My biggest problem so far is the fact that you will have to go around town and see how this bylaw change would affect others in town,” he said. “There are parts you left out on your draft, like being four feet over the water level, which is very critical.”

Former Selectman Paul Concemi was also in attendance.

”For over 30 years, earth removal has been a problem in town. I strongly suggest you fix this bylaw; it is flawed. You have the perfect chance to fix it all now,” said Concemi.

”This is an opportune time to rewrite this whole thing. It obviously needs to be fixed,” said Planning Board Vice Chairman Gerald (Jed) Coughlin. “Our first thing is to help out the Kennedys and help get this ready to go to town meeting floor in the spring.”

Planning Board member Louis Kiklis asked if the process is the same whether the existing bylaw is changed or just added to.

”It is a huge process to change the entire bylaw,” said Planning Board assistant Jeanne Hollows. “Each line will have to be read as it currently is, and then what the changes are. It has to be done piece meal.”

Araujo suggested the planners meet on a different night than their Monday night meetings to only talk about the changes they and the Kennedys would like to see.

”This will have to be addressed quickly to get ready and go through the process for town meeting vote,” she said.

”It is okay with me if we do this in work sessions and piece meal. I think it has to be done,” said Coughlin.

Vladyka and Kiklis agreed.

”We will work on this with the Kennedys and address these issues,” Vladyka said.

Join the Conversation

We invite you to use our commenting platform to engage in insightful conversations about issues in our community. We reserve the right at all times to remove any information or materials that are unlawful, threatening, abusive, libelous, defamatory, obscene, vulgar, pornographic, profane, indecent or otherwise objectionable to us, and to disclose any information necessary to satisfy the law, regulation, or government request. We might permanently block any user who abuses these conditions.