Expansion plans at Buffalo Crushed Stone's Como Park Boulevard quarry have been a hot topic these days in Cheektowaga and recent events haven't done anything to soothe the controversy.
Some town officials and residents are peeved that a bulldozer cut a 300-foot-long, 20-foot-wide path through quarry property, east of Indian Road last week.
Although Buffalo Crushed Stone did that to conduct some testing on the site -- which is allowed -- the company's actions are a sore spot with the town for several reasons.
Not the least being that this proposed expansion is such a delicate, sensitive issue and the company never told the town about its bulldozing plans.
Furthermore, Buffalo Crushed Stone isn't supposed to alter the property until an in-depth study on expansion effects is finished and the Town Board decides whether to rezone the land for more mining, town officials said. Buffalo Crushed Stone wants the Town Board to rezone 140 acres surrounding the existing quarry for future mining.
"You don't just go and mow through a row of trees and say you're doing some testing," said Councilman Thomas M. Johnson Jr. "They need to justify why they're undertaking some environmental damage on their property."
The town ordered the company to stop bulldozing until it applies for a town tree-removal permit, which the company agreed to.
Buffalo Crushed Stone attorneys could not be reached to comment Tuesday.
"It certainly does not build credibility in Buffalo Crushed Stone," Johnson added. "If they were concerned about public opinion it doesn't help when the public drives by and sees a bulldozer in the woods".
Nearby residents, who have opposed quarry expansion from Day One, think the town has to get tougher with Buffalo Crushed Stone. The sign of a bulldozer raises fear that the quarry's expansion plans will eventually get the green light, said Donna Hosmer, an Old Farm Court resident and active quarry opponent.
"My first thought," Mrs. Hosmer said after seeing the bulldozer, "is that they're just going to go ahead and do whatever they want."
An in-depth study of the effects of quarry expansion will be done before the town decides whether to rezone the property, Johnson said. The town also will have periodic checks of the site from now on, he added.
In a related matter, residents are rallying the nearby neighborhoods to fight the quarry proposal and put pressure on town officials to deny the rezoning.
The Depew-Cheektowaga Taxpayers Association announced it will sponsor a meeting, "Get Smart About the Quarry Expansion," at 7 p.m. on Nov. 13 at the Resurrection Church Hall, on the corner of Union Road and Como Park Boulevard. Opponents will explain some of the various environmental and technical issues involved in this rezoning.