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The Cattaraugus County Planning Board has recommended conditional approval of an 88.5-acre expansion of the Giardini Brothers 20-acre gravel mine straddling the City of Olean and Town of Allegany border.

The county also recommends rescinding a use variance issued in December by the City of Olean Zoning Board of Appeals for a 13-acre section of the expansion. An alternative proposal is an amended city ordinance to allow gravel mining in a special Waterfront Conservation Use District, where the project is located, the planners recommended.

The board also recommends that plans for new lakes near the Allegheny River and the Allegheny River Trail should be expanded to include public waterfront uses.

The recommendation also notes the project was recently reopened by the state Department of Environmental Conservation for review of environmental issues that were raised in March by opponents after a comment period was closed. The DEC is awaiting information from Giardini on such issues as noise impacts and the potential for contaminated ground water.

The decision could be changed if ongoing reviews by other governmental boards alter the project in any way.

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