MOUNT DESERT — There were no confrontations, and no one was asked to leave when the Planning Board visited a granite quarry in Hall Quarry for the second time in three weeks Dec. 3.
The board scheduled the visit because Jeff Gammelin, president of Freshwater Stone, which leases the quarry, ordered a neighboring homeowner off the property during the original site visit Nov. 18.
Even though it was an official Planning Board meeting that was open to the public, Gammelin said Laurie Shencavitz had no right to be on the property because she and her husband, Gerald, were “convicted trespassers.”
In the spring of 2014, a security camera captured images of the couple walking their dog on the quarry property. Gammelin called the police, who summonsed the Shencavitzes for trespassing. They initially pled guilty, but then changed their plea to not guilty. The charges eventually were dismissed.
The Shencavitzes’ attorney, Dan Pileggi, told the board Dec. 1 that Gammelin had violated his client’s rights to participate in a public proceeding. He said there was no way to undo that wrong, but asked the board to schedule another site visit at which anyone, including the Shencavitzes, could be present.
Harold MacQuinn Inc., which leases the quarry site to Freshwater Stone, has applied to the Planning Board for a quarrying license. A number of nearby property owners oppose the resumption of quarrying, and the Shencavitzes and another couple, Peter and Judy Aylen, hired Pileggi to represent them. The Aylens’ lot abuts the MacQuinn property. A corner of the Shencavitzes’ lot is within a few feet of the property line.
The Planning Board conducted the Nov. 18 site visit to gain a better understanding of MacQuinn and Freshwater’s revised plans for stormwater management and erosion control.
During the board’s re-visit last week, Stephen Salsbury, a site planning and land use permitting consultant who is working with the two companies, described those plans as he led the board and a few members of the public, including the Shencavitzes, around the perimeter.
Gammelin was there as well, but he and the Shencavitzes didn’t speak to each other.
Gerald Shencavitz asked Salsbury a few questions during the 20-minute site visit, and they briefly discussed MacQuinn/Freshwater’s plan for noise abatement. The noise generated by drilling and other quarrying activities is the main objection to the resumption of quarrying that residents of the area have raised.
Noise concerns from cutting equipment and air compressors, and noise abatement plans are expected to be the focus of the next installment of the Planning Board’s public hearing on the quarrying license application. Mount Desert Code Enforcement Officer Kim Keene said she expects that will be sometime next month; no date has been set.
The public hearing began last January. It was suspended in March and then resumed in August after MacQuinn submitted a revised plan for the quarry.