Monday July 1, 2013

GUILFORD -- The town's recycling drop-off center is staying put, at least for the time being.

That's the agreement reached after meetings that included town officials; Windham Solid Waste Management District, which owns the recycling bins; and Friends of Algiers Village Inc., owner of the Guilford Country Store property where the bins are located.

A Friends of Algiers representative had expressed traffic-safety concerns given the store's reopening. But Guilford officials now say they will wait and see whether increased traffic at the site causes any safety issues for recyclers and store patrons.

"It's fairly well-settled now -- just kind of let things cook for a while and see if, in fact, it does create problems for parking," Selectboard Chairman Dick Clark said.

Friends of Algiers President Eric Morse earlier this month pointed out that town officials in 2005 had expressed interest in purchasing a .75-acre parcel that adjoins the country store's parking lot.

He suggested that the town could revisit that purchase and possibly relocate the recycling bins to that property, which now is owned by Friends of Algiers.

But two Selectboard members had expressed reservations about buying property. There was discussion about possibly moving the bins somewhere else, and officials also briefly talked about whether the town needed recycling drop-off bins at all.

After several meetings last week, however, the matter was set aside for now.

"It could end up being a non-issue," said Katie Buckley, town administrator.


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There are a few changes happening at the site, however.

First, a surveillance camera will be installed at the country store so that officials can keep 24-hour watch over the recycling bins, where there have been repeated problems with vandalism and other issues.

"We've had illegal dumping. We've had fires in the bins," Buckley said. "We've had people go into the bins and scavenge."

Bob Spencer, Windham Solid Waste Management District executive director, said the camera will send a video feed to the district's Brattleboro office.

"It's continually recording. It's not a motion sensor," Spencer said. "If there is an incident, you can just key in the date the time, and it will go right there to that footage."

Officials also discussed possibly relocating an outdoor light on the store property.

"I think it would do a better job of lighting the far reaches of the parking lot, where the recycling bins are," Selectboard member Anne Rider said.

Spencer also requested that parking be limited or prohibited near the recycling bins so that district drivers will have unimpeded access when the country store is open.

"If someone parks there when our truck's coming to pull the box, they can't access the box," Spencer said.

Officials said that, with the store having been shut for three years, some residents have been using the lot as an "unofficial" park-and-ride site.

"There's going to be this transition period of trying to educate folks that they can't park and ride there anymore because (the store) is open for business," Buckley said.

Mike Faher can be reached at mfaher@reformer.com or 802-254-2311, ext. 275.