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Quarry decision to be appealed

The latest court decision on Buffalo Crushed Stone in Cheektowaga keeps mining from expanding across Indian Road, but the zoning issue appears headed for the state's highest court.

The Appellate Division of State Supreme Court has amended a Supreme Court ruling issued two years ago but agreed that zoning restrictions would not allow the quarry to expand to the west toward Union Road, or to the east across Indian Road.

The decision drew mixed reactions from the town, which has maintained that its zoning code should prevail, and the operators of the 79-year-old quarry, who contend they have the authority to mine on their property.

"We're happy with the decision," Town Attorney Kevin G. Schenk said.

"We strongly disagree with the 3-2 split decision," said Jamie Hypnarowski, a vice president and spokesman for Buffalo Crushed Stone.

The company plans to appeal the ruling to the Court of Appeals.

"We're pretty confident that we will prevail on the appeal process," Hypnarowski said.

Schenk said most of the ruling was in the town's favor.

"One little sliver they gave them, at the end of a paper street," he said. "We got two bigger chunks closer to Como Park that we didn't have before."

The Appellate Division, in a 3-2 ruling, decided that mining is not a "lawful nonconforming use" on two smaller sections of the quarry north of Como Park Boulevard, but that it is permitted on a small section just north of that.

The court said the quarry "failed to offer any evidence that any kind" of quarrying activities were ever conducted on the two sub-parcels before 1969."

"I think it's good for the residents and the taxpayers," said Jane Wiercioch, president of the Depew/Cheektowaga Taxpayers Association. "What I'm not happy about is they may take us to court again."

The quarry thinks it has a good chance on appeal, because two justices, Samuel L. Green and Salvatore R. Martoche, dissented. They would add land up to Como Park Boulevard to the mineable area.

"In our view, it is inappropriate to divide a large parcel into various parts based on dates of lease and/or acquisition," Martoche and Green wrote.

They said the property should be considered for mining in its entirety, except that portion that is separated by a barrier, such as a road.

"We're confident. We're doing this to prolong the length of the mine," Hypnarowski said. "That's going to really help us maintain the many jobs, the investment and the economic benefits that are at stake."

e-mail: bobrien@buffnews.com

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