It was with a discouraging sense of deja vu that my wife and I attended yet another meeting of the town of Mount Desert’s Planning Board held on July 17. The meeting concerned the now- infamous quarry located in our neighborhood of Hall Quarry. At the meeting, we were joined by about a dozen of embattled fellow residents who came to the meeting to prevent those with business interests and deep pockets from essentially trying to buy the legal permission to reopen the long-abandoned quarry located next to our residential area.
There is absolutely no way any quarry can operate without creating a great deal of noise. In a normally quiet and serene community such as ours, the typical quarry operation begins shortly after daylight and ends around dusk, six days a week. It is a truly intolerable situation for the residents, especially for those whose property abuts the quarry boundary. The sound levels that are produced in the operation of a diamond-edged saw and the powerful drills that are also needed to extract the granite from the ground frequently equal/exceed sound levels that can harm people’s hearing. The noise is so loud that it makes sleep impossible and even normal conversation difficult for the residents.
Wresting the granite out of the ground is not the only source of noise. The massive slabs of granite must then be lifted by Caterpillar-style tractors and noisily loaded into huge trucks for transport out of the quarry for further processing elsewhere. Leaving the quarry, the trucks must use the only paved road in or out, the Hall Quarry Road. This thinly tarred road is narrow in places, filled with curves, unstriped, has little or no shoulders, and no sidewalks on either side.
During the school year, children must walk along the Hall Quarry road when going to or returning from their school buses. Adults, with or without their dogs, frequently walk along the road. Mail delivery occurs daily to many mailboxes at roadside and residents often stop their cars on the road to pick up their mail. I fear for their safety on this road.
I will not begin to discuss the ability of the Hall Quarry road to withstand the heavy truckloads of granite.