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Hopkinton rejects proposed trash law 4-1

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HOPKINTON — A law that would have regulated the amount of garbage and debris that residents could have on their land in the town of Hopkinton was defeated 4-1 this week following a public hearing on the issue.

“I think we need it,” Etta L. Phelix said. “It’s an awful thing, the looks of some of these properties.”

But Terry Zahler, who works for the town’s highway department, disagreed.

“I don’t think the town should be telling people how their properties should look,” he said.

Another man, who spoke against the law, questioned whether it was enforceable.

“How are you going to enforce this law?” he asked.

Town Supervisor Susan M. Wood said the law would be enforced by the town’s code enforcement officer and help give both him and the town justice a legal foundation when it comes to cleaning up properties in town.

“When we come up against this, this law will give our judge something to go on,” she said.

Town Councilman Gilbert E. Sochia disagreed and questioned whether the town would be willing to spend money to force people to clean up their properties even if it had a law on the books.

“Do we have the money to fight this?” he asked. “I don’t think so.”

Mrs. Phelix said she likes to keep her property clean and noted it’s unfortunate that not everyone else does, too.

“I think it brings our property value down,” she said.

Ernest Wood, who works as a groundskeeper for the town, agreed.

“I think we should enact a law or ordinance to keep the town clean,” he said. “Fort Jackson has got to be an awful looking mess. There is no point in having a nasty place like that.”

Mrs. Phelix, who said she and her husband enjoy going for rides along the town’s back roads, agreed.

She said the town’s unkempt properties aren’t limited to Fort Jackson.

Mr. Sochia said he had no problem passing the law, if it was applicable only “within the speed limit,” referring to the town’s populated areas.

Town Clerk Vickie L. French, though, said a law that benefited only some of the town’s residents was unacceptable.

“So you’re telling me that if I don’t live within the speed limit, I have to deal with it?” she asked.

No one made a motion to pass the law. Mr. Sochia then made a motion to defeat the law, which was seconded by newly appointed town board member Gregory Crump.

Amanda L. Potter and Susan E. Lyon voted to defeat the law. The lone vote in favor of the law was Ms. Wood.

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