By Kara Herlihy

Edward Buttolph of the Buttolph Revocable Trust petitioned the Moretown Select Board to layout a right of way for a logging operation on Route 100B near the Ward Fishing Access. Abutting land owner Mary Ronner was present at the public hearing on November 19 to dispute the proposed logging operation, which if approved would cross her property.

Buttolph, a logger and timber harvester, testified in front of the select board in an effort to prove the necessity of moving his logging operation through Ronner's property.

Ronner is opposed to the petition because of the narrow width of the trails the skidders would have to utilize, a probable decrease in property value, and the impact such an operation would have on her property.

Logging consultant Dennis Rodger testified that they have two different sized log skidders: one weighing 20,000 pounds with a width of 11 feet, and the other 14,900 pounds with a width of 9 feet, both unloaded.

Buttolph admitted that there were two known spots on the trail that were not wide enough to accommodate the skidders.

The solution, Buttolph mentioned, would be widening the narrow trail in the two known spots the skidders would have to clear.

Logger and forester Mike Marino testified that cutting the trees would create "a hell of a mess" and "wouldn't recommend road widening" because it would "cause irreparable damage."

Ronner, who has recently relocated back to The Valley from Ireland, is in the preliminary stages of a building plan and has consulted Gunner McCain to design a septic system.

McCain was present at the hearing and testified that he found "only one place where the system could be constructed." That spot, according to McCain, "wouldn't be good for a skidder."

"Why would I want a logging operation by where I am living?" Ronner said. She also said that she had "been forced back from Europe" after two years of unsuccessful negotiations with Buttolph.

Town attorney Paul Gillies has 20 days to complete his findings and conclusions; from that date the select board has 10 days to respond. A site visit was planned for Tuesday, November 20, but was cancelled due to inclement weather. The select board will set a new time for the site visit at a special meeting scheduled for Monday evening, November 26.