Stressed by quarry

To the Editor:

How is it possible that a surface mine, or more specifically a granite quarry, has been operating in Hall Quarry for decades undetected?

It is impossible!

Since 2010, Harold MacQuinn and Freshwater Stone Inc. have caused unnecessary stress to our neighborhood and the habitat that surrounds the area. It is unjust that the burden of proof is on the residents of Hall Quarry, who seem to have little say in the licensing of Freshwater Stone.

MacQuinn and Freshwater Stone have only provided receipts and statements to the Planning Board of Mount Desert to prove they have been actively quarrying for decades. A paper trail of receipts and statements are not sufficient evidence of active quarrying. Neighborhood noise complaints, aerial photos and a deep pit in the ground would be evidence of active quarrying.

For decades, Hall Quarry has been zoned Residential two (R2) by the town of Mount Desert. The substantial homes that have been built around the old quarries demonstrate that Hall Quarry has been a quiet residential area for decades. The MacQuinn quarry has no justification to be grandfathered in the town of Mount Desert. Freshwater Stone should not be licensed to quarry in a residential area.

MacQuinn and Freshwater Stone have been quarrying in an environmentally sensitive area, according to a 2009 GIS map created by Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (IFW). How is it possible that a GIS map would identify an active quarry as “high value habitat for plants and animals” if the habitat already has been removed?

It is impossible because when an area is surface mined, all habitat is destroyed to remove the granite. The recent granite quarry activity already has significantly altered this habitat. Has the town of Mount Desert contacted an IFW regional biologist or an ecologist? It is unlikely.

Reopening this quarry has only benefited MacQuinn, Freshwater Stone and customers who are in “need” of granite for their homes or businesses. The quarry is a burden to the taxpayers of Mount Desert and the environmentally sensitive habitat and wildlife in the area.

We need the town of Mount Desert to enforce the Land Use Zoning Ordinance. Please attend the special Planning Board meeting this Tuesday Aug. 11, at 6 p.m. in the meeting room of town hall, Northeast Harbor.

Kelly M. O’Neil

Hall Quarry


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