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SESSION WILL ALLOW RESIDENTS TO AIR VIEWS ON QUARRY EXPANSION

Cheektowaga residents will have a chance to say what they think about Buffalo Crushed Stone's proposal to expand mining at its Bellevue quarry at a scoping session being planned for April 25.

Some already are opposing the application to mine a 39-acre parcel in the middle of the existing quarry. To extract limestone from that area, Buffalo Crushed Stone wants to move its rock crushing and asphalt plants that stand there today to other parts of the quarry.

"My biggest concern is the quality-of-life issues of residents in the vicinity," said Donna Kaczmarek Hosmer of Cheektowaga Citizens Coalition.

The coalition has informed the state Department of Environmental Conservation that it wants to be an interested party in the permit request.

The DEC is the lead agency in reviewing the proposal. The agency has determined that the proposal, which would extend the life of the quarry 20 years, would have a significant impact on the environment, and is requiring Buffalo Crushed Stone to submit an environmental impact statement. The scoping session is one of the steps that determine what should be addressed in the environmental impact statement.

Zoning Inspector Daniel J. Ulatowski said he learned from the DEC recently that Buffalo Crushed Stone is reviewing its options on the proposal.

"What that means, I don't know," Ulatowski said during Wednesday morning's meeting of the Environmental Advisory Committee.

A spokesman for Buffalo Crushed Stone could not be reached to comment.

The DEC identified a number of potential adverse impacts that must be addressed by the company, including the change to the landscape, noise, blasting and nuisance odors, air and water quality and visual impacts.

Several residents outlined others for the Environmental Advisory Committee, including health concerns from moving the asphalt plant. Frank Sikorski of Bennett Road also said Erie County would have to spend an additional $3 million on renovating Como Park Boulevard if heavy trucks going to the quarry continue to use it.

"If they're going to expand blasting in mining of the quarry, how is that going to affect the immediate residents?" Sikorski said.

Buffalo Crushed Stone and the town are in the middle of a suit filed by the quarry in 1998 over its desire to expand mining outside the current quarry confines. The town contends its zoning prohibits the expansion.

Some town officials and residents say the new request is similar to the request that is now being litigated. Under the latest proposal, the quarry wants to move its asphalt plant closer to Indian Road, but that area does not have the appropriate zoning to allow the production of asphalt.

"This raises the entire issue again," Johnson said. "Does the town zoning apply?"

Johnson maintained the town is an "involved agency" in the review process, and will conduct its own review of the proposal. He also said residents would have opportunities to speak during at least two public hearings on the proposal as the process moves along.

The town will ask its attorney in the zoning lawsuit to review the zoning issues and write a letter to the DEC outlining the town's concerns, Johnson said.

e-mail: bobrien@buffnews.com

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