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TOWN TAKES DIM VIEW OF BID TO EXPAND QUARRY

Expanding mining operations off Como Park Boulevard in Cheektowaga would have adverse effects on the environment and neighboring community, according to town lawmakers, who made their first official stance on this controversial issue Monday night.

The Cheektowaga Town Board tagged a "positive declaration" onto Buffalo Crushed Stone's proposal to nearly double the size of its mining operation in town.

As a result, Buffalo Crushed Stone will have to prepare an in-depth study addressing a host of community concerns before town officials begin entertaining the company's request to rezone an additional 140 acres for mining.

The study, known as a draft environmental impact statement, will likely take at least two months, officials said.

The Town Board's decision to order a more detailed study of the expansion drew applause from the more than 100 residents who packed Cheektowaga Town Hall for Monday's meeting.

"We don't want a quarry to be closer to our back yards," said Marcia Orwat of Rowley Road, who spoke on behalf of the quarry neighbors at the meeting.

Ms. Orwat also presented the Town Board with a petition signed by 700 to 800 people who oppose Buffalo Crushed Stone's plans to expand the 162-acre quarry.

"We need houses to increase our tax base," she told officials, "not another hole in the ground."

Cheektowaga and Buffalo Crushed Stone officials will sit down in the coming days to discuss the specific concerns that need to be studied. Health hazards, possible pollution to nearby Cayuga Creek and the effects of quarry expansion on vegetation and trees are just a few issues that will be reviewed.

"This is one project we're going to give very, very close scrutiny," said Councilwoman Patricia A. Jaworowicz. "I'm sure there will be many meetings down the road in the coming weeks."

Buffalo Crushed Stone wants the Town Board to rezone 76 acres east of the existing quarry, 50 acres directly north of Como Park Boulevard and 13 acres to the west of the quarry.

No one has spoken in favor of this project.

Quarry neighbors have complained for years about noise, dust and a foul odor from the quarry.

Cheektowaga committees and consultants also cautioned the Town Board about the quarry expansion, urging more study.

"You've been heard," Councilman Thomas M. Johnson Jr. told the residents. "This process reflects your concerns."

In other matters, the board:

Set a town budget hearing for 6:30 p.m. Oct. 27 at Town Hall at Broadway and Union Road.

The public will get a chance to comment on the preliminary 1998 budget of $54,993,149, which carries a 2.5 percent tax increase. The preliminary budget, up 1.8 percent from this year's spending plan, includes money to hire a few new police officers and raises for some elected officials.

Agreed that Benderson Development Co. plans to build a 7,500-square-foot Hollywood Video store on Losson Road near Transit Road would not have a negative impact on the environment. The board issued the "negative declaration" after reviewing the project applications, the site plan and town committee recommendations.

Set 6:15 p.m. Oct. 20 for a public hearing on how U.S. Housing and Urban Development grant funds should be used in the town next year. The hearing will be at Town Hall.

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