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Shelby should adjust Overlay restrictions, but stay focused on fighting proposed quarry

Posted 28 September 2016 at 9:18 am

Editor:

I attended the Town Board Hearing on Local Law #2 and have been reading the letters on the Hub with comments on both sides of the issues.  As with every issue, there are those for and those against, and both sides need to be heard in order to come to a solution to the problem.

As the former Town Clerk of Shelby, I didn’t always agree with all of the decisions made. I think this is one time that the Town Board had very good intentions in presenting the Local Law #2 for the Overlay.

I sincerely believe that it wasn’t the Board’s intention to upset or infringe on the rights of the farmers in attendance, who expressed their concern about the far reaching regulations of government.  I understand the concerns of these farmers and would suggest that perhaps they schedule a meeting with the Town Board and try to achieve some type of understanding about the Overlay.

Mr. Zeliff had the most genuine concerns I heard and should talk to the Board about a possible adjustment.  The Town Board, in their attempt to protect the wildlife refuge, and their residents in close proximity to the proposed quarry, have inadvertently upset other residents who feel the Overlay oversteps boundaries. It’s the age old rule of thumb that you just can’t make everyone happy, and it’s a difficult decision to decide which group you make happy and which group you anger. I do not envy the Town Board with their decision – it isn’t an easy one.

Basically, the meeting was to discuss the Overlay Law. However, we all know the elephant in the room was the stone quarry. Those of us who will be affected directly by the proposed quarry do not wish to have our  country area disturbed with what the quarry would bring. We are also concerned with the damage it could do to the wildlife refuge. Living so close to Swallow Hollow, I have taken my children and now my grandchildren to walk the path and to enjoy nature. I fear that down the line that will disappear with the allowance of the quarry to move forward.

It is certainly confusing to me how the DEC refused to let the Town of Shelby dig water lines alongside the road near the wildlife refuge until a certain point in the calendar year because it would disturb the ground owls, and yet they turn around and say that blasting all year long will not be detrimental to the refuge habitat. I have to agree that the DEC failed to protect the Wildlife Refuge and I can only wonder … why?

Mr. Mahar said that they are working with the STAMP project and the Refuge people to manage the concerns in regards to the effect the quarry would have on them. They say they will pump water in to replace water that is drained out by the quarry. Will it be good clean water for the wildlife to drink….or water filled with residue from the quarry?

They say they have a seismograph meter to keep blasting so it won’t affect STAMP, but what happens when a worker is careless and the blast doesn’t meet standards of what is allowed…whoops!

Many of you talked about government regulations overstepping –

and I agree, they often do – but so do big businesses like this one.  I would like to see proof in writing of these agreements with the STAMP project and the Wildlife Refuge. Words are easily spoken – written proof would have been better.

What is really sad is the friends and neighbors that are now enemies.  Our children grew up and went to school together – we attended gatherings together – and now we’re battling.

I am especially saddened because before my husband, Jim, passed away, he sold the bulk of our farm land to the Zelazny family. Jim said he knew he wasn’t going to be around to protect his family but knew the Zelazny family had always been farmers and wouldn’t let anything other than farming in this area. He thought they would never sell for commercial business or development to come to the area and disturb the countryside we grew up in. Jim was a great person who trusted everyone – it seems this time his trust was misplaced.

I hope the farmers concerned will take a moment to talk to the Board.  I understand how you feel, and I can only hope you understand how those of us in the Fletcher Chapel area feel and have some compassion for us also.

And, to the Town Board, I hope you take time to talk with the residents concerned about the overlay and can make some adjustments that show you are acting in good faith for all the residents in the Town of Shelby.  The decision you have is not an easy one and it needs all the input you can get and still accomplish the goal.

Gerry Zinkievich

Fletcher Chapel Road

Shelby