Quarry license denial appealed

MOUNT DESERT — Harold MacQuinn Inc. and Freshwater Stone have appealed the Planning Board’s denial of their application for a license to resume quarrying in Hall Quarry. 

The town’s Zoning Board of Appeals has not yet scheduled a hearing on the appeal. 

Meanwhile, a number of quarry opponents have filed a “cross-appeal” claiming that the Planning Board should have cited more reasons for denying the quarrying license. 

MacQuinn owns the 1-acre quarry in question and leases it to Freshwater for quarrying.  

The Planning Board voted Feb. 9 – and approved its written decision March 24 – to reject the quarrying application for two reasons: an insufficiently binding easement for an access road over a portion of a neighbor’s property and the incompatibility of quarrying with the surrounding residential area. 

Quarry opponents have objected particularly to the noise generated by quarrying operations. 

The appeal filed April 14 by attorney Ed Bearor on behalf of MacQuinn and Freshwater states: “The performance standard governing noise in the Quarrying Licensing Ordinance is unconstitutionally vague and therefore void.” 

Bearor said in the appeal that his clients had made a number of concessions regarding noise in their bid to be granted a quarrying license. 

In Oct. 2020, by a vote of 3-2, the Planning Board approved plans by MacQuinn and Freshwater to limit the amount of noise generated by the removal of granite. The majority of board members found that the noise attenuation plans submitted meet both industry standards and the requirements of the town’s quarrying ordinance.  

But in denying the license to quarry on Feb. 9, the board voted 5-0 that the quarry operation “would negatively impact the public health and general welfare of the surrounding residential neighborhood.” 

As for the access road, Bearor argued in the appeal that his clients should not have been required to build it to the town’s subdivision standards. And he stated that the Planning Board had misread the easement giving his clients a right of way over a section of a neighbor’s land.  

A cross-appeal was filed April 20 by attorney Matthew Manahan on behalf of the “Hall Quarry Neighbors Group,” a collection of more than a dozen quarry opponents, mostly Hall Quarry residents.  

Manahan wrote in the cross-appeal: “Although we support the Planning Board’s decision, we are filing this cross-appeal…to ensure that we have preserved the ability to argue that the Planning Board should have denied the application for other reasons as well.” 

He listed 15 additional reasons including some having to do with erosion control, stormwater buffers, groundwater impacts, vibration buffers and noise levels. 

A similar cross-appeal was filed April 21 by attorney Dan Pileggi on behalf of Jan Coates, Gerald and Laurie Shencavitz and Peter and Judy Aylen. The two couples live closer to the quarry than any of the other opponents of quarrying. 

Dick Broom

Dick Broom

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Dick Broom covers the towns of Mount Desert and Southwest Harbor, Mount Desert Island High School and the school system board and superintendent's office. He enjoys hiking with his golden retriever and finding new places for her to swim. [email protected]