Wind: 14 mph
To the Editor:
As the second Act 250 hearing approaches on July 30 concerning our intention to reopen our family's gravel pit in South Rochester, my brother Mike and I feel it is important for us to clarify our position on this issue. First, it has been alarming to us how exaggerated and simply untrue some of the charges brought against this project have been.
It is very important to remember that the Act 250 hearing is a "finding of fact" process, where a decision will be made based on evidence presented, not just on fears or supposition. This project presents legitimate issues of concern, but these issues must be addressed by facts and evidence.
For example, Kingsbury Construction has successfully completed a recent noise test to determine that this project came in under the specified state standard. This is evidence of fact. Another fact, this site has been a working gravel pit for over 40 years. From the '60s through the mid '90s my father, Curly Bowen, excavated, crushed and sold gravel from this pit. Most of the abutting land owners built or bought their houses while this pit was in active use.
Even in the last few years when gravel was not being extracted, the site was being used for log storage with heavy trucks coming and going on Route 100.
Another fact: Kingsbury Construction, which will manage the extraction process, is a nearly 30-year-old family-run business based in Waitsfield that employs people from our town and our Valley. Like Harvey's, Kingsbury's business takes them up and down the Route 100 corridor, their trucks already run on our roads.
Some stories circulating have made this project sound like an international conglomerate is underhandedly coming in to rip down our mountains and crush our highways with armies of huge trucks, subsequently destroying our water, our very way of life. This is simply not true.
Finally, there are very few ways people who work the land in our state are able to make a living from that land. My brother has spent his adult life continuously tending the land that surrounds us in Rochester and Hancock. What is the value to our community of that caretaking? Is it equal to the responsible reopening of an existing gravel pit? I believe so.