To the Editor:
For the profits of a few, the Mount Desert Planning Board and the elected selectmen of our town have sold out the property rights of the many. We, the beleaguered homeowners in Hall Quarry, are now being forced to live for the next 30 years in an atmosphere of near constant cacophony.
When purchasing our property, we were expecting to be able to enjoy the quiet beauty of our neighborhood, but such was not to be. The rustle of the wind in the pines, the song of the birds, have all been completely overwhelmed when this quarry is in full operation.
My wife and I have lived here as full-time residents for almost 20 years. I bought our property in 1994, planning to build a home and retire here. During the 10 year period 2000 to 2010, I frequently led local groups of hikers (the Footloose Friends) around the village of Hall Quarry and spoke to them about the industrial history of the village, as started by its founder, Cyrus P. Hall in the 1880s.
Most of these tours led us through the now controversial MacQuinn quarry, which, as far as I could tell, was unused and was slowly being reclaimed by nature. I emphasize that in all of these hikes, there was nothing happening in the presumably abandoned quarry, except for the very occasional truck loading granite that had been excavated in years past. During those years, the quarry was indeed a most tranquil place – a far cry from the noise factory it has now become.
From my perspective, all quarrying that has been happening recently is essentially due to the Planning Board’s ruling on the application of the grandfathering clause in the new town ordinance forbidding quarrying in the town of Mount Desert. I was in attendance at that meeting when the board ruled in favor of allowing MacQuinn and Freshwater Stone to continue quarrying under the “non-conforming activities” clause. By this action, they effectively condemned the residents of the town to noise pollution in the high decibel range.
In my opinion, the Planning Board’s acquiescence to MacQuinn’s lawyer’s request was based on very sparse and incomplete written records on the excavation and use of this quarry’s stone in his business. In my reading, it certainly did not establish the criterion of “continuous use” over the past 15 year period.
I would urge selectmen to continue to enforce the current stop-work order, thus halting the quarrying which never should have been allowed to proceed in the first place.