AuSABLE FORKS — Cold Spring Granite officials say they can use rock that would go to waste otherwise if they can break or crush it.
They also say a berm will help reduce the sound for neighbors of their two quarries in the town of Jay.
The Minnesota-based company, which owns 28 quarries throughout the country, is seeking an Adirondack Park Agency permit to break rock at both its “blue” quarry, east of state Route 9N, and its “green” quarry, west of the road, APA acting Regulatory Programs Director Holly Kneeshaw said to a crowd of more than 40 people at the town of Jay Community Center Monday evening. It would only crush rock at the green quarry, however.
The company’s goal is to use 100 percent of the material it extracts from the ground by 2020, said Don Scheele, the company’s chief environmental engineer. In the past, stone that couldn’t be used in construction had been piled up and not used. If it were crushed, it could be used for “grout,” which is used in construction, and “riprap,” or the rocks put along shorelines or the sides of roads to reduce erosion.
The company did some test crushing and breaking last summer to evaluate the noise impact on nearby properties, and several people who live near the quarries spoke at the meeting and said they had concerns about the noise. Scheele said the company has built a stone berm around the crushing area of the green quarry that will help reduce the noise impact, and it will continue to add to the berm. The sound increase will be less than three decibels, right at the minimum to be noticeable, according to Scott Manchester, who did sound testing for the company.
Breaking would be limited to 40 days a year at the blue quarry and 60 at the green. Crushing would be limited to 80 days a year at the green quarry, and the two would not happen simultaneously, Scheele said. Neither would be done on weekends or holidays. They would be done in the spring and fall, when people would be more likely to be inside and thus less bothered by the noise than in the summer, he said.
Several area contractors and highway superintendents spoke in favor of the project, saying it will save them money by letting them get needed crushed stone from Jay instead of Saranac Lake, Lewis or Plattsburgh, as well as generating tax revenue locally.
“To me, this makes a whole lot of sense,” said AuSable Forks contractor Ed Zielinski.
Some of the nearby homeowners who spoke said they saw the economic benefits for the town but worried about the noise and how it could affect their property values.
“I’ve lived there all my life, and I want a quiet, rural setting,” said John Sheldrake of Sheldrake Road, who said his family has lived in the area since 1857.
Jeffrey Houston, who also lives on Sheldrake Road, said the noise last summer was “horrendous.” He said he had wanted it reduced and thought the company had done a lot to address these concerns.
Granite company officials have met with the state Department of Environmental Conservation and APA and have given an incomplete permit application to the APA, said APA Environmental Program Specialist Tom Saehrig. Saherig said he expects a complete application soon, after which there will be another public comment period before the project comes before the APA.
Town of Jay Supervisor Randy Douglas said he has met with APA, granite company and DEC staff numerous times about the project, and they have addressed many of his concerns.
Cold Spring employs 20 people at their quarries in Jay, Scheele said, a number which would stay stable and possibly grow with the expansion.