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Lafarge seeks approval for new stone quarry in Lockport

Lafarge North America bought 243 acres of land near its existing Lockport stone quarry in 2004 and 2005 to eventually provide space for a new one. That time has come, the company said.

Lafarge on Wednesday asked the Lockport Town Board to rezone the land on the south side of Hinman Road to clear the way for a new quarry. Lafarge plans to quarry 195 acres in four phases over the next 40 years.

About 60 homeowners living within 1,000 feet of the planned new quarry, who in the past opposed quarry expansion, would be eligible for cash payments to make up for any damage or lower property values resulting from blasting or heavy truck traffic connected with the new quarry, said project manager Perry A. Galdenzi on Thursday.

Lafarge pledged to keep $500,000 available to pay any claims from nearby residents.

Also, the company plans to make host community payments to the town. Town Supervisor Mark C. Crocker said the price is expected to be a nickel per ton of stone.

Lafarge quarries about 1.5 million tons a year in Lockport, so that would come to $75,000 a year, Galdenzi said.

The price would be indexed to the Consumer Price Index and revised every five years, Crocker said. The town plans to spend the money on recreation programs.

"We want to see some value to the overall community," Crocker said.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation approved a permit for the new quarry Feb. 27, Galdenzi said.

The Town Board will hold a public hearing May 9 on the rezoning. If approved, work on the new quarry would come soon, Galdenzi said.

"By summer, we can start moving dirt. It'll take about a year of prep work," he said.

About 2 million tons of stone are left in the existing quarry on the north side of Hinman Road, Galdenzi said. The Lockport site is Niagara County's only producer of "DOT-grade aggregate," material that meets state Department of Transportation standards for use in making asphalt and concrete for road projects.

To improve sightlines, the new quarry would be surrounded by earthen berms as much as 25 feet high and 100 feet thick at their base, Galdenzi said. The berms are likely to be planted with grass and trees, although Galdenzi said nearby residents will have some say in their design.

The company intends to inspect all homes within 1,000 of the new quarry to check for existing foundation cracks and other structural issues. Indemnification payments would be made if the quarry's activities create new damage.

If residents within the 1,000-foot radius sell their homes but can't get what they think their worth, Lafarge will obtain two independent appraisals, take the higher figure and pay the homeowner the difference between that appraisal and the sale price, Galdenzi said. The appraisers will use homes outside the quarry area but within the Starpoint School District as comparables.

For the first two years or so, stone from the new quarry will be trucked across the road to the old quarry for processing. An overhead conveyor would be built to eventually halt that extra traffic.

"We're responsible to keep the road maintained," Galdenzi said.

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