Cumberland plans to locate its sand and salt shed to a space already planned for its compost and brush pad operations. The facilities are to sit on town-owned land next to the Town Forest, about 2,000 feet back from Tuttle Road.

CUMBERLAND — The Town Council on Monday voted 6-1 to move the town’s sand and salt sheds to a town-owned parcel adjacent to the Town Forest.

The decision came two months after the Town Council voted to locate the operations to a single building off Middle Road.

The structure will be tucked between the Town Forest and the town’s compost and brush pads, which the council voted in June to move to the vacant town parcel off Tuttle Road. The sand/salt and compost and brush operations are all at the Public Works garage on Drowne Road, and have drawn complaints from residents of neighboring Village Green development.

The Cumberland Town Council on Monday voted 6-1, with Tom Gruber opposed, to relocate the town’s sand and salt shed to a vacant town-owned parcel next to the Town Forest. Alex Lear / The Forecaster

A site walk of the property is to be held at 8:30 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 14; locations of the proposed structures have been staked out. The project then goes before the Planning Board Tuesday, Sept. 17.

The shed will sit on less than 4 acres toward the back of the parcel, about 2,000 feet from Tuttle Road, instead of the 1,500-foot distance originally proposed. The closest abutter would now be about 1,300 feet away, as opposed to the 500-foot distance in the previous plan, according to Town Manager Bill Shane. A landscaped berm would be created between the town uses and the few Tuttle Road homes that sit next to the town property.

“We have discussed landscape plans with both direct abutters that will be tweaked over the next few days, prior to submission to the Planning Board,” Shane said, noting that the project will be subject to nearly 20 criteria at that level, including landscaping, and traffic and noise impacts.

Monday’s hearing followed two meetings on the matter, first with abutters on Aug. 14 and then with the general community a week later. While this week’s gathering drew little public comment, Councilor Tom Gruber expressed the town Conservation Commission’s opposition to the project.

Given the concerns by the conservation group – on which he serves as council liaison – of the visual impact of the project, Gruber cast Monday’s sole dissenting vote.

A 10-acre portion of the town-owned property, formerly owned by the Northeastern Lumber Manufacturers Association and the original site planned to house the operations, will remain vacant as the result of the new proposal, and be consequently available for some manner of development in the future.

The town had originally supported moving its sand and salt operations to a 1.5-acre site to the rear of Storey Brothers, about 1,000 feet back from 215 Middle Road. The town had planned to acquire the land in a swap for an 8-acre gravel pit on Goose Pond Road. But placing those uses and the compost and brush pads on one site appealed more to town officials.

The town and Storey Brothers are meanwhile working on a revised agreement. The town would acquire no land from Storey Brothers, but the company would still buy the gravel pit, at a cost of about $525,000, Shane said.

Should the Planning Board approve the project, the town would immediately advertise for fall construction. The compost and brush pads could break ground by November, with the new operations up and running by next summer.

The project is to be funded as part of a bond of up to $7 million the council approved last month. About $500,000 of the bond would go toward building the new sand and salt shed, while another $275,000 would fund the new compost pad, as well as $75,000 for a landscaped berm. Proceeds totaling $225,000, expected from the sale of land on Greely Road to Jeff Storey, would help offset those expenses, along with the $525,000 from Storey Brothers.

Construction of a road into the site from Tuttle Road could cost about $250,000, which would come from Cumberland tax increment financing funds.

Shane expects fuel cost savings from locating the shed closer to the center of town, instead of Middle Road, to be about $14,000 annually.

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