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Court order researched to stop blasting

Supervisor Steven C. Richards said last week he has directed the town attorney and engineer to research whether the town can get a court order to stop quarry blasting at Lafarge North America on Tuscarora Road. He wants to stop it until an independent study can be done to determine whether the explosions are damaging nearby homes.

Richards said he wants concerns from residents who live in a manufactured housing park across the street from the quarry addressed before the town approves a plan to add 81 prefabricated homes to Tuscarora Village Mobile Home Park.

Lafarge officials, after meeting with Richards and State Sen. George D. Maziarz, R-Newfane, agreed earlier this month to reduce blasting levels in the rock quarry. But residents complained last week to town officials that the explosions still are a problem.

"I don't know what to do next," said Rhea Whitfield, president of Tuscarora Village Homeowners Association. "It's true they are staying within the guidelines. It's not nearly enough. They're still shaking the whole place."

William E. Poole, the quarry's general manager, said Lafarge reduced ground vibrations by more than half during the last blast. Lafarge has been blasting within limits set by its permit from the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

"We've made substantial changes, which are costing us a lot of money, and yet they still hear us," Poole said. "We're operating within our permit limits, and I would be very disappointed if the supervisor got an injunction to stop our business and impact our employees and our customers."

The quarry has been located on Tuscarora Road for more than 50 years.

Poole questioned why manufactured houses were built so close to the quarry.

"We're as frustrated as our neighbors," Poole said.

The owners of Tuscarora Village met with residents earlier this month, but said they were not aware of the quarry when they purchased land for the housing park. Deeds for the property show that Niagara Stone Corp., the previous quarry owner, controlled the land until 1994. It was sold to Tuscarora Village in 1999.

Tuscarora Village currently has a proposal before the town's Planning Board for the second phase of the development.

Whitfield said there are 50 occupied homes in the park and about 10 that are not occupied.

Richards said the park's owners need to address outstanding work in the first phase of the project before the park can be expanded. He also wants Tuscarora Village to address all of the residents' concerns about the park's management and the impact of the quarry blasting before the town approves the second phase.

"Phase 2 is dead in the water until these people's concerns are addressed," Richards said.

Residents of Tuscarora Village say they were never told of the quarry blasting before they moved into the park. They have pictures documenting damage to the houses, including cracks in slab foundations and cement blocks. The Niagara County Health Department in May cited the limited liability corporation that owns the park, Tuscarora Village MHP, for damage under 19 of the manufactured houses.

e-mail: djewell@buffnews.com

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