The Cattaraugus County Planning Board will seek a coordinated review among several agencies for an 88.5-acre expansion of the Giardini Brothers 20-acre gravel pit in Allegany.
The board voted 6-1 Thursday night to table its review of the mine site plan until April 28 so environmental concerns could be discussed by all municipal and agency officials who hold permitting authority over the project.
Residents have expressed concerns about flooding of nearby municipal wells, noise, dust, traffic and a nearby recreational trail.
The decision was opposed by applicant William Giardini, representatives of the Cattaraugus Empire Zone and Olean's Community Development Department, along with Planning Board member Charles Couture, who cast the only negative vote. An environmental group asked the board to press for more information on environmental issues.
The project received a variance from the Zoning Board of Appeals for a 13-acre portion of the site located in the city. The state Department of Environmental Conservation later declared there were no significant environmental impacts and ended a public comment period March 25. The Olean City Planning Board and the Allegany Town Planning Board are next in line to review the site plan.
According to county planner Terry Martin, there may be procedural flaws in the Zoning Board's failure to include the county, town, city and DEC before granting the variance. He added that the city should instead revise its zoning ordinance to allow mining.
The county Planning Board's resolution includes a request to the Zoning Board to rescind the variance so the project permit is not legally challenged in the future.
City community development director Mary George told the board that the Zoning Board of Appeals is independent from the city Planning Board and pointed out the city does not prohibit gravel mining but merely omits it from the ordinance.
After the meeting, Giardini said he will try to regroup and move forward with the project.