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Rochester quarry opponents, applicants agree to pull project

06/05/2008

By Kara Herlihy

An agreement has been reached between applicants for a proposed quarry project in Rochester and the opposing local grassroots organization "Citizens for Rochester."

Citizens for Rochester representative Bill Gibsons said: "The issue of a proposed quarry in south Rochester has been settled, with the landowners and Kingsbury Construction Company agreeing to terminate the current Act 250 process."

Gibson said that "an agreement has been signed that disallows any major mineral extraction on the site for a period of 10 years. Local residents have donated generously towards the $24,000 payment that was part of the agreement, and while that payment is in escrow at this time, the fund is still in need of donations and a fundraiser is being planned for July."

REQUESTING A WITHDRAWAL

Attorneys for the applicant, listed as Rochester Sand and Gravel LLP filed a "stipulation of dismissal without prejudice" requesting a withdrawal of the Act 250 case by the District Environmental Commission.

The proposed quarry was slated for an existing gravel pit site on 192 acres of land off Route 100 in Rochester. The entrance to the property is located approximately 200 feet north of the intersection of Route 100 and New Boston Road.

District Three Coordinator Bill Burke confirmed, "The commission is looking this over now, and we expect a decision to issue within the next few days."

QUARRYING AND BLASTING

According to documents on file with the state, roughly 9 acres out of the 192-acre property would have been involved in quarrying and blasting operations. It is anticipated that up to 42,000 cubic yards of material would have been extracted annually from the site for a period of 10 years.

Previous hearings on the case covered several of Act 250's 10 criteria including: criterion four (soil erosion), criterion eight (aesthetics), criterion nine (dealing with issues related to public and private infrastructure), and criterion ten (conformance with the town plan).

The sight distance originally reported was also disputed by the "Citizens" following the commission's decision of partial findings.

In addition, an appeal was filed by Dean and Constance Mendell of Rochester on three of the partial findings including 1(a) headwaters, 1(d) floodways, and 1(e) streams.

In the wake of the agreement with the applicants and the landowners, Gibson said, "It was wonderful how Rochester responded to this issue, with over 90 people attending the first Act 250 hearing, and many more the second. I am very proud of this town. We need economic development, but we need to protect the environment and our quality of life as well."

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