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Specific quarry standards urged

Written by  Earl Brechlin Saturday, June 15, 2013 at 11:31 am

MOUNT DESERT — Residents weighing in on a proposed quarry licensing ordinance here urged planning board members to include specific performance standards in the rules.

At a public hearing at the town office on Monday attended by more than 55 people the proposed ordinance developed during a quarry moratorium got its first review. The ordinance is slated to go to a special town meeting vote on July 25.

Consultant Noel Musson of the Musson Group explained that voters will be asked to rule on a series of three questions in July.

The proposed quarry ordinance was created by a special citizen’s advisory committee in consultation with Mr. Musson.

Daniel Pileggi, attorney for the neighbors of a disputed quarry in Hall Quarry, praised the work of the committee. “This is a light years step forward over the existing ordinance,” he said.

Resident Rick Fuerst urged the board to prohibit quarries in all zoning districts. “Mount Desert’s real estate is for things not industrial,” he said.

Boat builder Jock Williams, who owns several old quarries on the shore of Somes Sound, urged finding a balance between an industry that once employed 3,000 people and the need to accommodate neighbors. “It would be a horrible waste of beautiful stone.”

Easy Street resident Laura Smallidge questioned the permitted hours of operation in the proposed ordinance.

MacQuinn’s owner Paul MacQuinn of Bar Harbor told the board that his family’s firm had removed stone at the Hall Quarry site since purchasing the land in 1983. It had paid the previous owners to remove rocks and grout prior to that. “The subdivision plans show a quarry right on it,” he said. “Quarrying creates jobs,” he continued. “This ordinance handcuffs us.”

Freshwater Stone owner Jeff Gammelin pledged to work with neighbors to minimize disruptions. “I have reached out to the abutters. Sometimes it works out, sometimes not,” he said.

The hearing on June 24 will be held at 6 p.m. at the town office in Northeast Harbor.

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Earl Brechlin

Earl Brechlin

Islander editor Earl Brechlin first discovered Mount Desert Island 35 years ago – and never left. The author of seven guide and casual history books, he is a Registered Maine Guide and has served as president of the Maine and New England Press Associations. He and his wife live in Bar Harbor.

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