Sheffield Selectmen want details on railroad's pesticide spraying


SHEFFIELD -- The Board of Selectmen has deferred a decision on whether to grant a waiver to the Housatonic Railroad to spray pesticides along the portion of their tracks that run through the town.

"I've heard concerns from a number of people in Ashley Falls who are concerned about [the potential for the pesticides to contaminate] their wells," said Selectman Rene Wood.

The Housatonic Railroad sent a letter to the board last week to request the waiver. The company periodically sprays their tracks to clear them of weeds.

The board also expressed concerns that the railroad, in its letter, did not provide any kind of timeline or schedule for the spraying.

"Not that these folks don't do it right," said Wood. "But we need more information."

The board said it would solicit reaction from abutters to the railroad tracks and charged Town Administrator Rhonda LaBombard with contacting railroad officials to obtain more information.

The board also granted two-week temporary approval to Graham Farmhouse LLC to host wine tastings and sell wine at the Sheffield Farmers Market.

Members did not have specific objections to the activity. But board Chairman David A. Smith, Jr. pointed out that the town does not have a specific license for what the company wants to do.

Rather than prevent the company from plying their wine at the farmers market for two weeks, the board opted to grant temporary approval until the next meeting on June 30.

The board will also have to determine how much to charge for the license.


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