Shelby hearing will focus on quarry’s environmental impacts

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 3 April 2014 at 1:26 pm

SHELBY – A stone company has completed a draft environmental study for a 215-acre quarry on Fletcher Chapel Road, not too far from the Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation has accepted the draft environmental impact statement and will take public comments about the plan during a 6 p.m. hearing April 30 at the Town Hall on Salt Works Road.

“We are pleased with the DEIS as its analysis reinforces our long-standing position that responsible mining can provide mineral reserves without harming the environment,” said David J. Mahar, president of Frontier Stone LLC.

Frontier proposes to develop and operate a dolomite/limestone quarry in Shelby, south of the Village of Medina. If the company can satisfy the DEC’s environmental standards with a final impact statement, Frontier will then need a permit from the town of Shelby for the project.

Mahar said the quarry will add 15 jobs and also will benefit the local economy through the purchase of goods and services from local vendors and service providers, such as local truckers, electricians, and equipment and materials suppliers. He also expects the mine will supply lime to local farmers.

Mahar has been working on the project for nearly a decade. The quarry would be operated over 75 years on land that has been owned by Chester Zelazny.

During a public hearing in June 2006, many residents spoke against the plan, saying it didn’t belong in such a peaceful area. Residents then said the quarry operation would shake foundations in homes, congest roads, threaten the water table, depress real estate values and put birds and animals at risk in the refuge.

Mahar said the environmental research for the DEIS includes extensive studies and analysis to determine the potential impacts to wildlife, wetlands and habitat.

“The refuge is a true natural treasure in our community and we were pleased with the DEIS’s analysis which fully evaluates and addresses potential impacts on the refuge from the proposed quarry’s operation,” Mahar said.

The DEIS also looks at the potential impacts to property values and employment. The project will have a “negligible” effect on property values, according to the DEIS.

“We expect our quarry operation to generate significant economic benefits to the community in terms of, among other benefits, additional employment, the purchase of services and goods in the area for many years,” Mahar said.

He pursued the site on Fletcher Chapel Road because he said it will produce high-quality construction aggregate and high-grade agricultural lime.

“There is a rich and extensive deposit of high quality stone on the site and the location allows for the most efficient and reliable means to mine it while minimizing impacts compared to any other location in the town,” he said.

Frontier Stone issued this Fact Sheet about the project:

• Frontier Stone LLC proposes to develop and operate an approximately 215.5-acre dolomite/limestone quarry on a 269.45-acre parcel of land which will produce high quality construction aggregate and high-grade agricultural lime.

• The proposed quarry is located in the Town of Shelby in Orleans County about 3.7 miles south of the Village of Medina. The property principally fronts along Fletcher Chapel Road with a small portion along Sour Springs Road. The proposed site historically was and currently is used for farming. South of the site is a National Grid power line and south of the power line is the Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge.

• The excavation area is approximately 172.2 acres. Mining will be divided into four phases over the operational life of the mine estimated to be 75 years. The proposed mine will lower the present topographic surface by 100-150 feet. The site will be reclaimed by grading, replacing topsoil and revegetating upland areas with an approved seed mix. The reclamation objective and plan is to create open space and will include the creation of two lakes for recreation and wildlife habitat preservation.

• It is anticipated that the quarry operation will create approximately 15 jobs directly and also increase demand for goods and services including from local vendors and service providers such as local truckers, electricians and materials suppliers.

The mine will also supply an economical source of lime to local farmers providing the means to increase corn production that will allow local farmers to supply additional corn stock to Western New York Energy, the corn-to-ethanol plant in the town of Shelby.

• Where appropriate, the DEIS identifies mitigation measures to be implemented during construction and operation of the mine to minimize potential impacts.

For example, the DEIS concluded that area roads and intersections with upgrades to be provided by Frontier are more than adequate to safely handle the anticipated traffic volumes. Additional measures to be implemented include erosion control measures to prevent impacts from surface water run-off, best management practices to prevent significant dust generation, among others to be implemented to minimize impacts.

• Mining and processing will normally occur from April to November, depending on weather conditions and demand for our product during the construction season, from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and from 6 a.m. to noon on Saturdays.

For more information on the company, go to Frontier Stone’s website by clicking here. To see the DEIS, click here (Document is on website for Continental Placer, Inc.).