County Planning Board backs amended Wildlife Protection Overlay District proposed in Shelby

Photos by Tom Rivers: This slide shows the proposed Wildlife Refuge Protection Overlay District in Shelby.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 17 November 2017 at 9:03 am

Town shrinks buffer from 3,000 feet to 2,000 near refuge

SHELBY – The Orleans County Planning Board on Thursday supported the Town of Shelby’s Wildlife Refuge Protection Overlay District, which provides a 2,000-foot buffer north of the refuge.

That overlay district would prohibit “incompatible” uses with a refuge, such as mining, blasting for non-agricultural purposes, junkyards, telecommunication facilities, airports and airstrips, motor vehicle repair shops that aren’t home businesses and some other uses.

Members of the Orleans County Planning Board were unanimous on Thursday in supporting the Overlay District. Brian Napoli of Ridgeway, far end at left, is chairman of the board. Wes Miller of Barre is at front right.

The town approved the overlay district in June and established it as a 3,000-foot buffer to the north of the refuge. The town is now amending the district to 2,000 feet and is allowing some uses that were prohibited in the initial district.

The revised overlay district would allow blasting if it is for an agricultural purpose, and would allow motor vehicle repair shops if they are home businesses. The overlay district also has been amended to allow motels/hotels if they have 24 units or less. The amended district will also allow commercial campground and recreational vehicle parks if they do not exceed 10 acres.

Three uses that had been prohibited in the overlay district – agricultural product processing facilities, agricultural product distribution centers, and kennels – have been removed and will be allowed uses in the amended district.

Frontier Stone has secured state mining permits to operate a 215-acre quarry on Fletcher Chapel Road. The company needs town approval for the project and a change in zoning for the land owned by  Zelazny Family Enterprises, LLC – Chester, Jim and Ed Zelazny.

Frontier last month filed an Article 78 legal proceeding against the town, challenging the Overlay District.

The state Department of Environmental Consrvation has been the lead agency on the environmental review of the proposed quarry. Scott Sheeley, regional permit administrator for the DEC, notified Frontier on Oct. 3 that the company had satisfied the DEC on a range of issues, including blasting and vibration, mining setbacks, cultural resources and Indian nation consultation, mine dewatering and off-site discharges, transportation and other potential impacts.

Shelby has been resistant to giving the local approvals for the project. The Wildlife Refuge Protection Overlay District is another level of protection in maintaining a residential/agricultural land use near the refuge.

The Orleans County Department of Planning and Development, in reviewing the Overlay District, commended the Town of Shelby for its “admirable cause” in trying to protect the Wildlife Refuge with the Overlay District.

Frontier has said its studies show the quarry won’t have a negative impact on the refuge.

The Town of Shelby will have a public hearing on the amended Overlay District at 5 p.m. on Nov. 27 at the Shelby Town Hall, 4062 Salt Works Rd.

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