Quarry quandary enters third year

MOUNT DESERT — Having lain dormant since mid-October, the process of determining whether Harold MacQuinn Inc. will get a town license for its granite quarry in Hall Quarry appears likely to be revived next month.

But no date has yet been set.

It has been 870 days, nearly two-and-a-half years, since the Planning Board ruled the quarry was a “lawful, non-conforming pre-existing use” and, as such, was eligible to be licensed as an “existing quarrying activity.”

Neighboring property owners and others have continued to dispute that finding, and the Planning Board has promised to revisit it before deciding whether to grant a license. In the meantime, the process of reviewing MacQuinn’s application has dragged on.

Twenty-five months ago, the Planning Board found the application complete, meaning it contained all of the required information and supporting material. January 2015 also is when the board opened its public hearing on whether MacQuinn’s plans, as detailed in the application, met all of the standards of the town’s quarrying ordinance.

But two months later, the process was put on hold while MacQuinn and Freshwater Stone, which leases and operates the quarry, amended the license application to reduce the size of the proposed area of granite extraction to one acre. The reason for that was to avoid having to comply with more stringent state environmental regulations.

The Planning Board began its review of the amended application in August 2015. There have been five board review and public hearing sessions since then, the most recent on Oct. 18, 2016.

At that meeting, Planning Board members asked MacQuinn and Freshwater to come to the next meeting – the one that has not yet been scheduled – with more detailed information about options for reducing the level of noise that can be heard at nearby homes. Noise has been the number one complaint of those who oppose the board’s granting of a quarrying license.

The quarrying ordinance, which requires a license for any extraction activities, was approved by voters at a special town meeting in July 2013.

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]
Dick Broom

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