Shelby board member should recuse himself from overlay and industrial zone discussions

Posted 14 June 2023 at 8:30 am


The Shelby Town Board must require that Edward Zelazny recuse himself from all discussion of Overlay Zones and Industrial Zones within the Town.

He and his family have a financial conflict of interest with the quarry permit that the DEC just renewed, as the sons of Mr. Mahar Sr. and Mr. Zelazny Sr. are taking over the quarry fight in place of their fathers. Renewing that permit is a formality and a wake-up call for the rest of the town residents.

The DEC permit means nothing as far as the Zelazny’s and Frontier Stone LLC being able to start operating a quarry. The town’s zoning laws prohibit that type of industry in a Non-Industrial zone and the Refuge overlay zone.

An industrial quarry in the residential area and near the refuge also violates the Orleans County Comprehensive Plan. After reading the entire permit letter, I noticed a condition of the permit whereby it must be visibly posted on the permitted property. As of this writing, I don’t believe it has.

I want to give you some history for anyone who is unfamiliar with the quarry fight.

It started in 2006 when the residents of Fletcher Chapel Road found out about the Zelazny’s intention to lease their land to Frontier Stone LLC to build a nearly 300-acre quarry on the land adjacent to the Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge. At that time, they contacted me. The fight should have ended in 2019 when the NYS Supreme Court upheld the Town of Shelby’s overlay zones, prohibiting the quarry in that location.

The court found no merit in the lawsuit brought by Frontier Stone. But here we are again, with one of the Zelaznys in a position to effect a change in the zoning laws.

In 2006 the town surveyed the residents regarding wind, and industrial quarrying. Overwhelmingly, the residents were against industrial mining anywhere but in an industrial zone, specifically not near the refuge. The town put a moratorium on wind, solar and quarrying permits at that time.

For the next 13 years, I, along with Ken Printup, Wayne Dickenson, and hundreds of residents, and non-residents, concerned about the potential damage to the refuge and the quiet rural way of life for those living near the quarry site, worked our tails off to get the facts out and to protect the neighborhoods and the refuge.

We researched. We collected monthly well water data. We got trained in Hydrology by the US Geological Survey in Ithaca, NY. We wrote articles for the newspapers and the Hub correcting false information spread by Frontier Stone and later the image consultants hired by Frontier.

Unfortunately, there was no doubt that the DEC would issue the permit. The SEQR process does not protect even the state’s most delicate ecosystems. The Town residents and the Town Board, through their land use attorney Daniel Spitzer, worked day and night to tighten the local laws to avoid generation’s worth of damage and disruption to the residents and the Refuge.

Currently, a candidate running for Town Board is telling people that the Zelaznys back him. He has publicly stated his opposition to the Town’s Overlay Zone. This should tell the board all they need to know about the need for diligence in transparency and avoiding the appearance of impropriety in making decisions where a board member stands to benefit from these decisions financially.

In closing, I would like to thank the board for the Town’s Facebook page. It has been an invaluable resource for informing residents of things happening in the town and how the Town is addressing issues such as the cemetery mowing. I appreciate all the work that has made this a clear source of information for the town. Thank you for your time.


Wendi Pencille