Dalton special meeting

Resident Jon Swan addresses the Dalton Board of Selectmen on May 20.

DALTON — After a successful petition effort, a special town meeting will be held next month to ask voters to adopt emergency temporary zoning and planning ordinances in an effort to prevent the construction of a proposed landfill near Forest Lake State Park.

The special town meeting will be held July 30 at 7 p.m. in the Municipal building gymnasium.

An informational hearing on the ordinances will be held July 23 at 7 p.m. in the Municipal Building gymnasium.

Like some other New Hampshire communities, Dalton does not have local zoning regulations.

That fact, resident Jon Swan believes, is what has prompted Rutland, Vt.-based Casella Waste Systems, which owns and operates the North Country Environmental Services landfill in neighboring Bethlehem, to want to come to Dalton.

Casella representatives say they have found an ideal site for a landfill in Dalton and that a new landfill is needed because the one in Bethlehem is quickly running out of space.

Swan has said that locating a landfill near Forest Lake is a bad idea because the landfill will produce harmful leachates that could contaminate groundwater and also end up affecting surface water, too.

Forest Lake drains into the Ammonoosuc River and then, ultimately, into the Connecticut River.

Swan warned that Casella’s plans call for bringing some 100 trash-hauling trucks to the Dalton landfill daily, something that would have an impact upon neighboring towns like Bethlehem and Whitefield.

A landfill in Dalton, said Swan, would have a negative impact on regional tourism and would also drive down property values.

Swan and like-minded supporters said if voters pass the ordinances at the meeting, the town might be able to prevent Casella from building the landfill.

In particular, one section of the ordinances would forbid businesses and commercial or industrial ventures from engaging in any activity that “could cause any undue hazard to health, safety or property values or which is offensive to the public because of noise, vibration, excessive traffic, unsanitary conditions, noxious odor, smoke or other similar reason.”

Joe Fusco, who is a vice president at Casella, has said that the NCES landfill — which accepts waste from some 150 New Hampshire municipalities as well as from out of state — is running out of capacity.