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BLACKTOP PLANT MAY SHIFT TO BOTTOM OF QUARRY

Buffalo Crushed Stone is considering moving a blacktop plant to the bottom of its Bellevue quarry instead of next to railroad tracks near Indian Road.

The move apparently would not require a zoning change like the company's original plan, giving the Town of Cheektowaga less authority over the changes.

The company has submitted an application to the state Department of Environmental Conservation to modify its mining permit to include mining limestone from a 39-acre parcel called the isthmus, located between its east and west quarry. In order to mine that, the quarry would have to relocate two blacktop plants and its rock-crushing plants that are located on the isthmus.

It had proposed moving the rock crushing to the basin of the east quarry, and the asphalt plants to five acres next to the railroad north of Indian Road.

But Jamie Hypnarowski, a vice president at Buffalo Crushed Stone, said the company might change its proposal for the blacktop plants.

"Now we're looking to move into the floor of the quarry," Hypnarowski said.

He said the move would not change the quarry's business nor increase production, but it would be within the area zoned for aggregate mining.

"If they do that, we wouldn't have much control over the issue of zoning," said Zoning Officer Daniel Ulatowski. "We would have site plan review."

"It's a compromise for them," Council Member Thomas M. Johnson Jr. said.

Cheektowaga residents started opposing the proposal as soon as they heard about it last month, because the blacktop plant would be closer to homes. Now that it might be 150 feet below grade, they are not quite sure what to think.

"This concerns me, mostly because of the children," said Donna Kaczmarek Hosmer of the Cheektowaga Citizens Coalition.

She also questioned whether the water that collects in the bottom of the quarry and is pumped out might become contaminated by a nearby blacktop plant.

"How are they going to get it out of there?" Jane Wiercioch of the Depew/Cheektowaga Taxpayers Association asked about the blacktop.

Ulatowski said moving the asphalt plant to the floor of the quarry 150 feet below grade may present a problem for mitigation of air pollution.

"Are the air emissions going to be minimized or exaggerated" he said. "Where are those emissions going to go?"

e-mail: bobrien@buffnews.com

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