On the question of the quarry

To the Editor:

What lengths do working people have to go to in order to be good neighbors? This irksome question from the December editorial “A Crossroads for Maine’s Economy” provoked me.

This question implies Harold MacQuinn Inc. and Freshwater Stone & Brickwork have gone to great lengths to be good neighbors. From my point of view, they have not been good neighbors. In 2010, Freshwater Stone opened MacQuinn’s vacant lot for a special project, and then the owner of Freshwater Stone realized how lucrative the dimensional stone quarry operation was and decided to keep the quarry in operation. Is it okay for a neighbor to suddenly change from having a vacant lot to a quarry in a residential neighborhood?

MacQuinn is only registered with the Mine Safety Heath Administration to operate screeners and crushers for sand and gravel pits, not a dimensional stone quarry. Gammelin has only been registered with MSHA to operate a dimensional stone quarry in Mount Desert since 2011.

Readers should know people currently living in Hall Quarry did not stop the small quarry industry. The advent of Portland cement in the 1930s ended the era of the quarrymen. Stop blaming people who are trying to make a living in the same town that they reside in. We are not preventing economic development. We have the right to protect the value of our homes and a strong desire to preserve the quality of life we expect to enjoy in our town.

I have reviewed the town of Mount Desert’s Planning Board meeting minutes from 1970s to the 1980s. In the 1970s, the two largest quarries in Hall Quarry requested special land use permits for a campground and a boat yard. Hall Quarry was zoned residential in 1978. Interestingly, during this time period the town of Mount Desert developed a comprehensive plan for the town, they described the need to preserve the natural beauty of the area for recreation and acknowledged the manufacturing industry was not a viable economy in this area.

In fact, the town’s comprehensive plan states: “Mt. Desert’s most valuable resources, then, are the things that attract visitors: natural beauty, clean waters and clean air. Every proposal for development or other change within the town must be judged, first and foremost, in relation to its effect on these resources. To the extent that they are impaired, the town in the long run will be the loser.”

The writer of the December editorial should have researched the matter before voicing their baseless opinion.

Your writing only shows you promote businesses that disregard the health and welfare of working people who have to endure the costs of a nonrenewable resource based economy, which only benefits wealthy business owners.

My home is my largest investment, and I will continue to voice my opinion and facts to help provide a more balanced view on this matter.

Kelly M. O’Neil

Hall Quarry

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