Quarry hearing to focus on noise



MOUNT DESERT — It has always been about the noise.

Residents of Hall Quarry, especially those who live near the quarry owned by Harold MacQuinn, Inc., have expressed concern about dust, vibration, truck traffic and other potential impacts if quarrying is allowed to resume.

But at the heart of their objection is the noise that comes with cutting granite.

They began talking about it even before MacQuinn and Freshwater Stone, which leases the quarry, applied for a quarrying license in June 2014. But the Planning Board’s public hearing on the application scheduled for next Thursday, Aug. 29, is the first time the issue of noise will officially be the focus.

The Planning Board held a number of hearings on the quarrying application starting in the fall of 2015. Those hearings focused on whether the plans for quarrying conformed to various provisions of town ordinances. But then in June 2017, before the Planning Board had gotten around to focusing specifically on the question of noise, board members determined that the companies had not been eligible to apply for a quarrying license in the first place.

Then last October, a judge ruled that the board had “erred as a matter of law” in basing that decision on provisions of the town’s land use ordinance rather than on the quarrying licensing ordinance. Judge Michael Duddy of the Maine Business and Consumer Court ordered the Planning Board to reconsider the license application.

The board resumed its public hearings in June, starting where it had left off two years earlier. The remaining issues to be discussed were “noise” and “buffering and screening” and whether the companies’ plans conform to the standards set by the ordinance.

Planning Board Chairman Bill Hanley said prior to the resumption of the hearings two months ago that buffering and screening would be considered first “because that may affect considerations for noise.”

Now, finally, noise will officially be front and center.

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