PEPPERELL — A hearing on Select Board member Tony Beattie’s proposed sawmill operation has been postponed until Dec. 6.
Due to a scheduling conflict between the Select Board and the Planning Board, Beattie was unavailable to attend the public hearing. The two boards do not traditionally meet at the same time in Pepperell and no further conflicts are anticipated with the new date.
Beattie is petitioning the Planning Board for a special permit to operate a portable sawmill on Oak Hill Street at his Robinwood Farm.
In a letter sent to Beattie on May 24, Building Inspector and Zoning Enforcement Officer Robert Kelly said he was aware of a sawmill operating on Beattie’s property. However, Beattie’s property falls under the Town Residence district and the operation would not be allowed without a special permit.
Kelly requested Beattie apply for the special permit within 14 days to avoid a cease and desist order.
In a document dated June 3, Beattie said a Wood-Mizer Portable Sawmill had been in use at Robinwood Farm since 2002. On average, the sawmill operates for about 32 hours a week between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Traffic flow is about four to five customers per month; Beattie said about half choose to have lumber delivered.
The lumber products are stored near the sawmill. An 8-by-10-foot storage shed is used for saw blades and tools. As a result of the operation, there are some waste slabs of wood. However, Beattie said waste slabs are either chipped for use on the farm or sold for firewood.
Beattie also said 80% of the operation is dedicated to cutting log stock brought in by local tree cutting companies. The other 20% is dedicated to custom cutting logs brought in by local residents for home projects.
Although the scheduling conflict between the two boards caused the public hearing to be postponed, there was a positive to come about. Just prior to the start of the Planning Board meeting, the Select Board appointed David Ganong to the board. Ganong will become a voting member after being sworn in by the town clerk.