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Buffalo Crushed Stone can expand mine

A Supreme Court judge has ruled to grant more land mining rights to Buffalo Crushed Stone.

Town leaders say that's a loss for Cheektowaga, which is now considering an appeal and a new lawyer.

"We haven't quit on it," said Mary Holtz, town supervisor.

In the lastest victory for the quarry, Judge Joseph R. Glownia ruled that Crushed Stone's mining rights includes a parcel known as "25D," which is about 15 to 20 additional acres at the western edge of the mine, parallel to Como Park Boulevard.

The ruling, made public this month, was handed down Nov. 30.

In June 2009, the State Court of Appeals ruled the company could expand on a large parcel east of the existing quarry, but left it to the lower court to decide on some remaining parcels, including "25D."

Glownia wrote that Crushed Stone declared its interest in the western land prior to the town's restrictive 1969 zoning.

The town disagrees with that conclusion. Some of the case evidence included lease-agreement language drafted by the late Victor Reinstein, said Kevin Schenk, town attorney. "It wasn't completely clear when he leased that land, what he included," he said of Reinstein, a real estate developer and medical doctor.

Schenk has asked another lawyer to review the case. "We're going to see what our odds are on appealing it," he said.

Buffalo Crushed Stone, which employs 35-40 people, was heartened by the news of Glownia's ruling.

"Our employees were pretty pleased," said Jamie Hypnarowski, a senior vice president. "They were kind of concerned about whether they were going to have to have a job in 10 years."

The privately held mine now has deep quarry pits, emptied of prized hard stone used to build roads. When it opened in 1929, surrounding neighborhoods were less developed. In the last 80 years, as more houses were built, some residents say they moved there without realizing how the mine would disrupt their lives.

"Once I'm home and I'm retired, I can't live there," said Dorothy Klink, who now works during the day.

Her neighborhood by Como Park Boulevard and Vita Avenue is part of Cheektowaga's "green belt," with stretches of scenic, park-like areas with trees, fields, Cayuga Creek, the Reinstein Woods Nature Preserve and Stiglmeier Park.

"It's gorgeous," she said, explaining that she waits until the quarry closes to go on walks. "It's wonderful on Sundays."

Yet, it is so noisy to live near the road when the quarry is open that she envies her friends who live in the country. "I'm a person who loves peace and quiet and I'm so jealous," she said. "They don't have trucks and they don't have smoke."

Frank Sikorski, with the Depew Cheektowaga Taxpayers Association, would like the quarry and the town to resurrect old plans to move the quarry entrance away from Como Park to Indian Road, which leads to the less-residential Broadway.

Hypnarowski, from Buffalo Crushed Stone, said there is not a current plan to move the entrance.

"It's not necessarily a conversation that we've been having," he said. "It's an option."

e-mail: mkearns@buffnews.com

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