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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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Shelby firefighters rescue dog from swamp

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 12 November 2017 at 2:36 pm

Provided photo

SHELBY – Firefighters from the Shelby Volunteer Fire Company rescue a dog from the swamp along Route 63 at about 12:15 p.m. today.

Firefighters were dispatched at about 11:45 a.m. when a motorist saw the beagle in the swamp. Firefighters put on wets suits in went into the swap to get the dog.

The photo shows Zach Petry, Crystal Petry and Captain Scott Perry. Crystal is the one holding the dog.

The are shown in the swamp just south of Oak Orchard Ridge Road. The dog’s owner is from Rochester and was heading to Shelby to get the beagle, said Tim Petry, president of the fire company.

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Shelby firefighters will have open house on Saturday

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 24 October 2017 at 5:53 pm

SHELBY – As a show of appreciation for the community, the Shelby Volunteer Fire Company will have an open house with activities on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The event will be at the fire hall at 4677 South Gravel Rd. and includes the county’s new fire prevention trailer, which has a focus on developing a fire escape plan for families.

Shelby firefighters will also do an extrication demonstration cutting up cars with tools.

“We want to spotlight our fire company and also say thank you to the community,” said Tim Petry, president of the Shelby Volunteer Fire Company. “Everybody donates year-round to us so this is a thank you.”

The open house includes a bounce house, an obstacle course for children, a chance to take a ride in a fire truck, tour the fire station, meet some of the firefighters, and receive helmets and goodie bags for kids.

There will also be food, refreshments and a basket raffle.

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DEC approves final environmental study for Frontier to operate quarry in Shelby

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 11 October 2017 at 6:08 pm

Shelby, however, created overlay district near refuge that bans mining

SHELBY – The State Department of Environmental Conservation has approved a final environmental impact statement for a proposed quarry on Fletcher Chapel Road near the Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge.

Frontier Stone has now resolved all DEC concerns with the dolomite/limestone project, and is expected to receive a mining permit soon from the state, the company said.

Frontier, however, still needs to satisfy the Shelby Town Board, which on June 19 created the Wildlife Protection Overlay District. That establishes a 2,000-foot buffer from the refuge that doesn’t allow mining and other uses “consistent with other wildlife refuges around the country.”

Frontier filed an Article 78 against Shelby on Tuesday and the town was served today. Frontier is challenging the overlay district. If the district is stricken, Frontier would go before the Shelby Planning Board which would make a recommendation to the Town Board on the project, said Andina Barone, spokeswoman for the company.

The DEC has been the lead agency on the environmental review of the proposed project. 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.

The DEC accepted the draft environmental impact statement on March 28, 2014. Frontier then did additional work to address some environmental concerns with the project, a 215-acre quarry on the south side of Fletcher Chapel Road, on land owned by  Zelazny Family Enterprises, LLC – Chester, Jim and Ed Zelazny.

Frontier applied for a mining permit with the DEC on March 10, 2006, and has worked almost 12 years to get to this point, having the FEIS accepted by the DEC.

Frontier wants to excavate 172 acres over 75 years, with the mining divided into four phases. Quarrying would be done by standard drill and blast technology with front-end loaders and excavators feeding a primary crusher with shot rock, according to the Frontier application.

Mining will go below the water table and includes a maximum water withdrawal of 554,264 gallons a day (and approximately 280,000 gallons daily during drier months). That water would be discharged to the southwest corner of the site to a drainage ditch. Frontier’s reclamation plan includes open space with two lakes for recreation and wildlife habitat. The lakes would be 35 acres and 156 acres.

Regarding the blasting, Frontier completed studies about the potential impact of the vibrations on the STAMP project, an industrial manufacturing site 4.5 miles away in the Town of Alabama. Frontier’s studies were acceptable to the low-ground vibration standards for STAMP, as well as to wildlife and neighbors, the DEC said.

Frontier has proposed accessing the site from Sour Springs Road, about a 1/3 mile from Fletcher Chapel. Trucks would reach the quarry by using Route 63, which already carries heavy truck traffic, the DEC said. From Route 63, trucks would use Fletcher Chapel Road as the primary access.

(Editor’s Note: This article was updated from an earlier version which stated truck traffic would be on Sour Springs and Oak Orchard Ridge Road. Fletcher Chapel Road is the primary access to the quarry. The land for the quarry is also owned by Zelazny Family Enterprises, LLC. The earlier version of the article said Frontier today filed an Article 78 proceeding against Shelby. That was filed on Tuesday.)

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East Shelby Church draws big crowd for old-fashioned fun

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 16 July 2017 at 6:09 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

EAST SHELBY – Alex Ledger, 8, of Albion rides one of the ponies today during Old Tyme Day at the East Shelby Community Bible Church, an annual event where activities and food are offered for a penny. About 2,000 people attend the event.

Abby Allen and Ethan Leonard, center, are part of a group doing a reel dance.

These suffragists promoted women’s right to vote. The suffrage movement is marking the 100th anniversary of women securing the right to vote in New York. Amy Joyner, left, and Shawna Baldwin were both “Citizens for Civility” and “Sister Suffragists.”

Eli Pask and Evan Allen play their instruments to “When the Saints Go Marching In” as part of a parade through West Jackson Corners, a hamlet created by the church.

The old-fashioned fun included foot races. Logan Monska, William Trembley and Evan London were among the competitors.

Jahbari Laurence, 6, of Buffalo makes a candle at one of the activity stops at Olde Tyme Day.

Jeff Thomas of Holley and his son Zachary, 8, have fun with woodworking.

Nathaniel Trembley is Dr. Roberts, the showman of the popular Flea Circus.

Gavin McNerney,8, of Greece peers through a cutout of a strongman.

Charlie Silvernail was elected mayor of Jackson Corners today. He also demonstrated a corn sheller from more than a century ago.

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500-plus attend benefit to support Shelby firefighter

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 6 May 2017 at 11:02 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

SHELBY – Karen Mix, a member of the East Shelby Community Bible Church, serves up a plate of spaghetti during a benefit today at the Shelby fire hall for John Seefeldt.

More than 500 people attended the dinner and basket raffle to benefit Seefeldt, who is battling a rare lung condition known as CTEPH, or chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension.

Seefeldt, 42, missed the benefit because he is in Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester. He is hoping he can go to a hospital in San Diego to be treated for the rare condition.

The benefit for Seefeldt was put on by the Shelby Volunteer Fire Company, the East Shelby Community Bible Church and the Masonic Lodge in Gasport. Seefeldt is a member of all three organizations.

“This is amazing,” said Amy Seefeldt, John’s wife. “It’s overwhelming.”

Her husband was diagnosed with CTEPH in 2010. “He’s a fighter,” Mrs. Seefeldt said about her husband. “We take it one day at a time, sometimes one hour at a time, but we get through it.”

There were about 200 baskets and items up for raffle. Bob Kelly, Seefeldt’s uncle and a member of the Masonic lodge in Gasport, calls out the winning tickets in the raffle.

Rob Robinson plays the keyboards for the crowd at the Shelby fire hall. Robinson in 2014 started “A” Blues Band. Robinson at the time was fighting cancer. The Medina resident lined up four bands for today’s benefit. Besides his band, the Boone’s Farm Band from Spencerport, the Dave Viterna Group from Medina and Creative Spirit all performed.

This group performs “I’ll Fly Away.” The bass guitarist is Nick Goodwin from Medina, a member of “A” Blues Band, and John and Carol Ralicki of Olcott, members of Creative Spirit.

Many local businesses contributed to the basket raffle.

Tim Petry, president of the Shelby Volunteer Fire Company, was pleased to see so many people come out on a rainy day.

He said Seefeldt, a life member of the Fire Company, is well liked by many in the community.

“Anytime a fireman has an issue, people step up,” Petry said. “John also has support from his church and the Masons.”

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Neighbors, firefighters rescue cow that fell through ice

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 17 March 2017 at 3:06 pm

Photo by Tom Rivers

SHELBY – A beef farmer’s neighbors and Shelby firefighters rescued a steer that had fallen through the ice today just after noon.

The top photo shows Shelby firefighter John Miller II holding a pet rescue mask on the steer so the animal could get oxygen. The Shelby Volunteer Fire Company has the mask for dogs and cats, but it worked for the steer and helped the animal with its recovery.

The steer is owned by Jack Farrell of Dunlop Road. He was thankful the animal was able to be pulled out of the water. The steer is 7 months old and about 900 pounds. Farrell said the steer was holding its head up and bellowing, good signs it would be OK. The steer hadn’t been able to get on its feet after getting pulled out of the water.

Photos courtesy of Russ Peters

Firefighters put a shelter of hay bales around the animal and the other steer gathered around it.

“It might take a couple hours before it can get back on its feet,” said Jason Watts, a Shelby firefighter.

Russ Peters, pastor of the Alabama Full Gospel Church, was driving on Dunlop Road just after noon when he saw the steer’s head sticking out of a pond. Peters pulled over and called his wife. Another neighbor, Connie Murray, also came over. Firefighters were dispatched to the scene at 12:11 with the message a cow had fallen through the ice.

Peters, Murray and another neighbor, Justin Gray, found Jack Farrell and they tried to get the steer out. Peters went in the water which was up to his waist. He put a rope around the steer’s neck and they were going to use a tractor to pull the animal out, except the tractor was out of gas. Murray ran to her house and got some gas. While she did that, Peters knocked some of the ice loose, creating a channel for the cow to get out.

Photos by Tom Rivers

The tractor, once it had gas, was used to pull out the steer, which by then was no longer breathing.

Shelby firefighters arrived on the scene and then helped revive the steer, giving it oxygen through a pet rescue mask and thumping on its back to get out fluids.

The steer bellowed and showed signs of life. But he wasn’t ready to get up. Firefighters put a warm blanket on him, and made a shelter with hay bales.

Farrell was optimistic the steer would be OK. He thanked his neighbors and the firefighters.

“It’s a good deal,” he said.

The rescued steer sits on the ground and recovers after its ordeal in the cold pond water. Jack Farrell, owner of the farm, expects the steer will recover and get back on its feet.

Firefighters don’t recommend people go on thin ice to make a rescue.

Peters said he knew the animal meant a lot of Farrell, and the pastor didn’t want to watch it die.

“It is my honor to help,”  Peters wrote in a message to the Orleans Hub. “I thank God for helping me to act despite my fear!”

(Updated at 4:58 p.m.: Shelby firefighters say the steer died at about 4 p.m. The animal may have had hypothermia or fluid in its lungs.)

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Shelby looks to rezone gateway on 63 to Medina

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 24 February 2017 at 8:50 am

Courtesy Orleans County Department of Planning and Development: This zoning map shows the 25 properties that Shelby seeks to change from the hamlet zoning district to general business.

ALBION – The Town of Shelby has the Orleans County Planning Board’s support to rezone the hamlet zoning district on Route 63, at the triangle and at neighboring properties leading into the Village of Medina.

Shelby wants to rezone the land to general business, which will allow more commerical uses for the properties.

“This is the gateway coming in on 63 into Medina,” Kirk Myhill, the Planning Board chairman in Shelby, told the County Planning Board members at Thursday’s board meeting. “Hopefully by rezoning this we may be able to entice more businesses to come in.”

The 25 properties to be rezoned are on the triangle and adjacent properties on South Gravel Road (Route 63), West Avenue Extension, and a portion of Maples Ridge Road. The area represents 17.43 acres and is contiguous to an existing general business district.

The Orleans County Planning Board unanimously backed the zoning revision on Thursday, recommending that Shelby make the change.

• In another referral, the County Panning Board supported the Town of Murray’s request for a six-month moratorium on applications for commercial solar energy projects.

The moratorium doesn’t apply to residential projects. Ron Vendetti, the Murray code enforcement officer, said there have been four recent residential projects. He hasn’t heard any concerns from the community with those projects.

The moratorium on larger commercial projects will give the town time to draft an ordinance that includes setbacks, visual mitigation, decommissioning and other issues.

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Frontier believes it has resolved concerns with quarry by refuge

Photos by Tom Rivers: Shelby residents attended a meeting Monday at Town Hall to hear a presentation from Frontier Stone about its proposed quarry on Fletcher Chapel Road.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 31 January 2017 at 12:47 pm

‘We went from this being no harm to being a great asset to the refuge over time.’ – Kevin Brown, attorney for Frontier

Sam Gowan, president Alpha Geoscience, discusses the hydrogeology at the proposed quarry site and the impact of dewatering on the refuge and neighbors’ wells.

SHELBY – Frontier Stone had a team of scientists and attorneys at the Shelby Town Board meeting on Monday, presenting how the company has worked for years on a plan to address environmental impacts of the project that touches the northern boundary of the Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge.

Frontier’s studies and plans show the project will not have a negative impact on groundwater, wildlife at the refuge, or companies in nanotechnology at the STAMP site on the other side of the refuge in Alabama.

The proposed quarry would be built in four phases over 75 years, with the first phase to be 11.6 acres in the first 8 to 10 years.

When phase one is complete, that area will be turned into a reservoir, with water to be released to help the refuge during drought or other low water periods, said Kevin Brown, an attorney for Frontier.

The company hydrogeologist has a plan that turns the quarry into an asset for the refuge by supplementing water to the site, Brown said.

“We went from this being no harm (to the refuge) to this being a great asset to the refuge over time,” Brown told the Shelby Town Board during a presentation on Monday. “This could actually be what the refuge needs with climate change.”

He noted the drought last summer, and the potential for more weather extremes with climate change. The quarry, by helping the refuge with water in the future, could make the 11,000-acre site more resilient, Brown told the Shelby Town Board.

Frontier plans to pump 554,000 gallons of water daily to quarry the stone.

Sam Gowan, president Alpha Geoscience, has worked with Frontier since 2008 on the project in Shelby. Gowan said the site is planned to eventually have two reservoirs and can alternate discharges to the refuge, providing needed water.

“2016 was a real eye-opener for where we’re heading with drought conditions,” he said.

The quarry could discharge into the refuge, “which would be a great asset” during droughts or low water flows, he said.

Jason Kappel, senior geologist for Continental Placer, said a swath of the Lockport formation runs through Shelby, but the proposed quarry site is thick, 115 to 120 feet of the stone, and it’s close to the surface.

Frontier’s team went through its plan for mitigating noise, dust, and other impacts on the neighborhood and refuge.

The company will have seismographs to measure ground vibrations from blasting near the quarry and the STAMP site.

The DEC reviewed the company’s plans and found there were no issues to be resolved with blasting, noise, dust, STAMP, Job Corps, dewatering and surface water discharges, or wildlife, including short-eared owls and northern harriers.

The DEC hasn’t issued a final permit yet for the project. Frontier also needs to get a permit from the town, but first needs to get the final OK from the state DEC.

The company also needs the zoning to be changed for the area along Fletcher Chapel Road to allow an industrial use in a residential-agricultural area.

Town officials asked Frontier what happens to the site after its projected 75 years of quarrying. The company’s plans show two lakes or reservoirs that would be 35.2 acres and 156.1 acres. Who would pau to pump water from the reservoirs to the refuge at that point, Town Supervisor Skip Draper asked.

Brown, the Frontier attorney, said that hasn’t been determined.

“This is something we haven’t fully resolved,” Brown told the town officials. “We can resolve it.”

Draper said he doesn’t want it to fall on the town or the refuge to be the caretaker of the quarry when the stone is exhausted from the site.

“We really need a mechanism for pumping water from the site after 75 years,” Dan Spitzer, an attorney for Shelby, told Frontier.

Brown said the project has been in development for about 15 years with Frontier stepping up to resolve concerns raised by the DEC and community.

The company is planning 30-foot high berms to shield some of the dust and noise. Frontier also will pay to have Fletcher Chapel Road upgraded to accommodate the truck traffic from the site.

Town Supervisor Skip Draper, right, and Dan Spitzer, an attorney for the town, listen to a presentation on Monday from Frontier about its proposed quarry in Shelby.

The company expects 30 truck trips per hour, with 15 coming and going during the 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. operational hours from Monday through Friday and 6 a.m. to noon on Saturday. Most of the truck traffic would come from Route 63 and Oak Orchard Ridge Road.

Frontier was asked why it wants to have a quarry by the refuge. Jason Kappel, senior geologist for Continental Placer, said a swath of the Lockport dolomite formation runs through Shelby, but the proposed quarry site on land owned by Chester Zelazny is thick with 115 to 120 feet of the stone. It’s also close to the surface. Other spots in the town don’t have such a thick swath of the stone, and it’s often farther down below ground, Kappel said, calling the stone on Zelazny’s land “a sweet spot.”

Frontier plans to quarry 350,000 tons of a stone a year from the site, but that number will depend on the market demand, Kappel said.

Brown, the Frontier attorney, said the quarry will fill a need in Western New York, providing high-quality aggregate.

Spitzer, the town attorney, asked Brown if the company would prepare an overall climate change impact study, because Brown emphasized the project would be an asset to the refuge. Spitzer wondered if the overall impact on the environment, including truck hauling, was considered in terms of climate change.

Brown said such a study isn’t required by the DEC. He would see if Frontier’s owner, David Mahar, is interested in spending the money for such a study.

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Shelby town supervisor says overlay district proposal may be ‘too restrictive’

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 12 October 2016 at 9:23 am
File photo by Tom Rivers: Shelby Town Supervisor Skip Draper leads a public hearing on Sept. 7 about a proposed overlay district near the wildlife refuge that would ban a quarry and many other uses viewed by town officials as incompatible with the wildlife refuge. Shelby Town Clerk Darlene Rich is at left and attorney Dan Spitzer is at right.

File photo by Tom Rivers: Shelby Town Supervisor Skip Draper leads a public hearing on Sept. 7 about a proposed overlay district near the wildlife refuge that would ban a quarry and many other uses viewed by town officials as incompatible with the wildlife refuge. Shelby Town Clerk Darlene Rich is at left and attorney Dan Spitzer is at right.

SHELBY – Town Supervisor Skip Draper said the Town Board “will take a deeper look” at a proposed overlay district that borders the Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge.

The Town Board held a public hearing on the district on Sept. 7 and many residents objected to the district’s ban on uses the town viewed as incompatible with the refuge.

The proposed overlay district would establish a 3,000-foot buffer north of the refuge and ban quarries, junk yards, kennels, airports, motor vehicle repair shops, outdoor commercial recreation areas and telecommunication facilities.

The Town Board proposed the overlay district after Frontier Stone LLC cleared a hurdle with the state Department of Environmental Conservation for a quarry. Frontier wants to use 215 acres of land on Fletcher Chapel Road owned by the Zelazny family for a proposed quarry that would be established in four phases, over 75 years, with 11.6 acres mined in the first 11 years.

David Mahar, president of Frontier, and the Zelazny family say the overlay district is discriminatory, targeting the quarry and other businesses.

Many farmers and other landowners, representing more than two thirds of the property in a proposed Wildlife Refuge Protection District, filed a protest petition last month with the Town of Shelby, saying the proposed law would restrict their ability to use their property.

Residents had until Oct. 1 to submit written comments about the proposed district. Draper said on Tuesday evening that the Town Board will review those comments and decide the next steps.

“It may be too restrictive,” Draper said about the proposal that would affect 3,821 acres in town.

In other action during Tuesday’s board meeting:

• The board set a public hearing for 6:30 p.m. on Nov. 7 at the Town Hall to override the tax cap. The tax cap in 2017 allows for no more than a 0.68 percent tax increase in Shelby. (The Town Board can override the tax cap.)

The Town Board and town department heads are working on the budget.

“It’s absolutely too early to say (if the town will need to override the cap),” Draper said.

But to have the option, the town needs to have a public hearing about the tax cap.

• The board usually meets the second Tuesday each month, but in November will meet the first Monday on Nov. 7 due to the election falling on the second Tuesday, Nov. 8.

• The board will have budget workshops at 6 p.m. on Oct. 17, Oct. 19, and Oct. 20 and it set 5:30 p.m. on Nov. 10 as the budget hearing.

• The board will have a special meeting at 6 p.m. on Oct. 18 to award the bid for Water District No. 12.

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