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Sunday, June 26, 2005

Lindley Planning Board Minutes

Lindley Town Planning Board Minutes-June 20, 2005

The Steve Ritter storage shed request was approved by the ZBA at a hearing May 31, 2005.

A Public Hearing began for a request by Fred Robbins to operate a gravel pit on property he purchased from Harry Pierce and located between the Heigel and Hilligus and Watson properties on River Road, CR#120. Earl read the ground rules for the public comment portion of the Hearing.

Mr. Robbins stated he is the owner of the land in question and presented his copy of the deed to Ear. He said his intention is to open a gravel pit with processing, screening and crushing and to make a couple of building lots.

Comments: Kim Clark, 763 River Road, located across from the entrance to the proposed gravel pit, stated she is against the operation because: children regularly ride their bikes along the River Road, people walk there, school bus traffic is heavy especially between the hours of 7 to 9 a.m., her driveway is a bus stop, she has a child with severe asthma and is concerned about the dust this operation could generate; the entrance grade is very steep and if a loaded truck loses its brakes traveling down that grade it could end up in her house or yard. She is also concerned about potential water runoff as the banks along that area are already badly washed away and the field on the North end of her property already fills up with water after heavy rains and is a mosquito breeding ground. Kim presented signatures and addresses of 26 people who either live on the River Road or travel it on a daily basis and are opposed to this gravel pit operation.

Teri Heigel, 760 River Road, owns the bottom portion of the driveway to the proposed gravel operation. She is opposed to the operation and was unaware that Robbins has the right of way at this driveway. Her children cross River Road there and she wonders if she would be liable for any damages caused by the truck traffic?

Jack Smith, 9520 Welty Road: Asked for more information concerning potential traffic. How many trucks per day, per hour, and per week?

Mr. Robbins presented a surveyors map and a copy of a deed showing his Right of Way to the property. As to the amount of truck traffic, Mr. Robbins stated he did not know but it would not be as often as the Gordy Hakes operation in the 70’s.

Gerry asked about the hours of operation?

Mr. Robbins stated 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., 5 ½ days per week and would normally use the River Road South to Lawrenceville, Pa.

Ann Hilligus, 762 River Road stated proposed pit is directly behind their residence and they are already experiencing problems with run off which was especially bad this spring after a logging operation. She is concerned about her grandchildren, is the road wide enough and what if the brakes fail on the trucks as they descend the steep roadway?

Sherry Perkins, 779 River Road stated their field on River Road fills with water and gets worse every year. Mosquitoes are a problem and requests for someone to deal with this problem go unresolved. She is also concerned about the level the operation would generate, downhill traffic and the dangerous corner for traffic traveling North on the River Road near the pits driveway.

Gerry asked if the pit would be sloped back and would the water stay on the property? Mr. Robbins assured her that it would.

Mr. Robbins stated his route of travel goes mostly South or out to Route 15. He has three routes available which will depend on his need. He won’t travel the River Road if he can use Route 15.

Jack asked if any information had been received from the County Highway Dept. concerning this operation. How much traffic can River Road sustain? County Highway might want to look at it if that occurs.

Earl stated the County Highway Dept. was called this morning and they were not concerned about the traffic.

Gerry asked Mr. Robbins what type of fencing will be used.

Mr. Robbins stated if any, he would use a mesh wire fence.

Gerry stated that Section C of the Zoning Law under Excavation stated that a fence 6 feet high must be all around the pit.

Earl said a deed dated January 9, 1989 shows that the current Heigel property was transferred from Washington Colegrove to Richard Colegrove and that a Right of Way exists over the SW corner of the then Johnson property which is currently Hilligus’ property.

Jim asked if the trucks could cross the one lane bridge over the river; it seems more logical using the bridge route to Route 15 than to use the River Road. Why would you use the River Road to Lawrenceville?

Mr. Robbins stated he could use the bridge.

Jim stated 115D of the Zoning Law requires prior approval from the ZBA for the use of crushers and screens. He also expressed concern regarding the grade of the drive to the pit.

Mr. Robbins stated he plans on cutting down the steepness of the drive and may also blacktop a portion of the drive to control the dust. He said air brakes on his trucks provide slim odds of having a runaway truck.

Jim asked what the buffer area around the pit consists of and were there any open fields? Where is the cemetery?

Mr. Robbins said the buffer area consisted of brush and trees and there were no open fields. The cemetery is located on property adjoining his and is buried under the brush.

Sherry said Crystal Watson knows where the cemetery is behind her old residence above the retaining wall. It contains six children of the Middlebrook family and has an iron fence around it.

Diana Hill, 954 River Road asked the Board when a decision would be made and would the neighbors be notified.

Earl stated the Board has up to 45 days to make a decision and will not be rushed. He asked for a copy of the DEC Permit and whether or not a Reclamation Plan was on file. He also noted speed limits are controlled by the County.

Gerry told visitors that if the DEC gives permission for the mining operation the Town cannot stop the mine but the Town can control the hours of operation and regulate the noise and dust. Because the proposed mining operation is located on a County highway, the Town cannot control it.

Harry Pierce, 9725A Steamtown Road presented a copy of a permit he purchased June 3, 2002 to mine gravel. It was not used at the time because Gordy Hakes had mined and hauled gravel to the dam. Because the property had been used for gravel before, Mr. Pierce could take the gravel for his personal farm use but not for sale. Mr. Pierce sold his property on Land Contract then deeded it over to Mr. Robbins.

Gerry stated once a permit is used in operation, there is no “grandfathering”. Permit runs out one year from when the operation ceases. One must reapply.

Leland Harris, 856 River Road stated Gordy Hakes purchased the land about 1972 but never used the roadway to the pit for the loaded trucks. His trucks went up the drive empty and came down with their loads behind Larry Harris’ house. The drive is considerably steeper than the exit behind Larry’s house. It is hard to see traffic coming from the South from that driveway.

Jack Smith stated that SubDivision Law gives specific grade requirements as to how roadways are developed. Entry must be between 80 and 100 degrees to the main road. This driveway currently fails the test. Is there room to make the entrance wider?

Earl said not without altering the Heigel property.

Mr. Robbins believed Gordy Hakes used tractor trailors and there should be no problem with his trucks.

Gerry asked why the new sluice was not made longer to join the present sluice.

Teri Heigel was told by Mr. Robbins that he owned the property next to her and would be using it for hunting. He also offered to purchase her portion of the driveway to his property. County said they would remove the Heigel sluice and install a new one. Teri states her deed shows the driveway but does not show a Right of Way.

Diana Hill stated the current bank and sluice look very unstable. How can they hold heavy trucks? How about the safety of the driver?

Kim Clark asked that the Board drive by the site entranceway to check on the conditions of the entry and bank. Soil is already eroding with all the rain and mosquitoes are terrible.

Teri Heigel said she cannot get the County or anyone to spray for mosquitoes.

Kim Clark asked will paving make more runoff. Will Mr. Robbins need to replant? Gordy never reseeded! How long does he have to reseed?

Mr. Robbins: If it is done properly, it will run off into the ditch. He is bonded, the DEC permit requires the area must be returned as it was, reseeded, sloped, ditched and dust control. If not the DEC will do it.

Scott Fay, Tioga, Pa. stated laws are stricter than previous years and operators are bonded. Most of the laws are enforced under DEC permit. When asked if DEC inspects and enforces periodically, he said, yes.

Mark stated maybe in Pennsylvania but not in New York State. He cannot get NY to inspect his neighbors.

Jack Smith: The DEC does not even come back to talk to the town.

Scott Fay: It is up to the township and the owner.

Steve Perkins, 779 River Road: What about the noise?

Mr. Robbins does not see much noise leaving the Pit. Equipment will be in a hole.

Gerry: ZBA approval is needed for a crusher, we need to know how many trucks. If not established in the DEC permit the Town can control the number of trucks.

Mr. Robbins stated it was hard to say whether 10 or 20 trucks will be used.

Jim: The DEC application states 5 to 20 trucks max/hr. with 3 to 5/hr. most of the time, Mon.-Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Operation is not yet granted Permit from DEC. John Cole is the contact person at DEC.

Kim Clark: The DEC permit application states Morgan Creek Road. Shouldn’t that reflect the correct address?

Earl: Everything else does. Earl asked for a Motion to close the Public Hearing, Jim so moved, Jason, seconded and it carried unanimously. It was noted that Mr. Robbins has contracts with deadlines; the Board has 45 days to make a decision; they must hear from DEC and a variance is required for crushing.

Katie Peterson asked the Board for information on what is needed before she pays for a Perc test on her 1.8 acre property on the Old River Road to Lawrenceville. The property meets setbacks and has the required 200 foot road frontage but is an undersized lot. She must go to the ZBA and must have Perc test results to the Board two weeks from tonight (June 20) before the Board can act. A Public Hearing can be scheduled for next month.

Board discussion: Gerry asked who shuts Mr. Robbins down if he does not abide by the rules. Town has little control. Hours of operation can be controlled. David: Number of trucks and runs can be controlled. Should make it the same as previous mining operations. Mr. Robbin’s Mining Plan states trucks will be 3-5 most of the time, Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Janice Oberlander
Recording Clerk


Anonymous Anonymous said...

If the trucks coming out are over 57,000lb they can not use the one lane brige as its posted for "no R permits" .

Most tri-axle dump trucks are runing "overweight permits" and they will be at or near 70,000lbs

6:10 PM  
Anonymous Sallyann said...

As I was typing in the Planning Board Minutes and came across Leland Harris's concern with the visibility from Mr. Robbin's driveway for vehicles heading south on River Road, I had to agree. If ever there was a blind spot on River Road, it's there. I still choke everytime I go around that curve and remember the time my son and a couple of other kids almost got whacked by a car driving too fast and flipped over to avoid hitting the kids. I would encourage the Planning Board to consider asking the County to put signs up warning vehicles of Mr. Robbins driveway: A sign posted on the South end by or near the Railroad tracks and one posted on the North end, near Harris's tobacco barn. Vehicles heading South on River Road after they negotiate the curve near the Harris barns have time to see trucks exiting Mr. Robbins driveway, but I don't think they do if they're heading north. Fortunately, if vehicles are headed north, the railroad tracks and the slight curve before Kim's place slows "some" drivers down.

7:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why don't the Harris's make a deal with Mr. Robbins to use the drive by Larry's as Hakes did in 1975.After all they created the gravel pit when they sold the original land to Gordy Hakes for fill for the dams.
Is the County willing to build a new Rt. 116 if the trucks can't use the bridge? Read somewhere they are going to rebuild Gibson Road(town) after garbage trucks tore that up. What's fair for the gander is fair for the goose.

10:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Looks like to me just like the people of Presho who had to put up with the Gibson Hill Dump traffic and having a toxic dump left in their neighborhood the people on the other side of the river will now have to put up with heavy truck traffic in their neighborhood from this mining operation . Too Too bad that the citizens of lindley will have to indure the mess ,noise.and extra traffic so somebody else can make lots of money.It will only end up costing lindley people money, pain and possibly death to one of their citizens! does nobody care about the people of lindley or do they only care about the almighty dollar! I say no mining on this sight at all if the people at the town hall care about the citizens. Remember vote for somebody who cares about Lindley and the citizens- after all we the people finace the town!!!

5:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just wish the people running the town(all boards) would get some b____s and do what's best for the citizens for once and not what's best for some businessman.

1:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What ever happened to this town staying rural? To me, rural is farming, green grass and kids playing outside without having to worry about getting hit by big trucks; rural doesn't conjure up pictures of barren hillsides and gravel operations.

1:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To the people worrying about mosquitoes -try some hydrated lime.
dies up mud holes=good for the soil Cheap way to do the job.

4:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why does the person concerned about mosquitoes want the county to spray. Isn't this private property and thier responsibility? No wonder taxes are so high if people expect such services out here in the country.

9:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It will be interesting to see how the new gravel pit in the Presho end of town is received

11:40 AM  
Anonymous Sallyann said...

I appreciated the tip on using hydrated lime for mud puddles. Where were you last year when the mosquitoes were trying to carry me away? :-)

12:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The "Presho end of town" has fought gravel pits since the beginning of time, it seems. Lately, (in the past few years), it doesn't seem to have swayed the town leaders much.

12:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For the people against the Robbins gravel pit, circulate a petition in Presho and you'll see how many are against the Lindley pit as well.

12:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Back when Smith wanted to open the pit on Scott Rd., the board was given a petition of 100 names against it. It made no difference to their decision then. do you think it will now?

12:34 PM  
Anonymous Sallyann said...

I can't think of a single person in town, except those owning a gravel pit, who would want big trucks loaded with gravel going by their place everyday, five days a week. This is a real problem for the people who live next to the gravel operations. The Planning Board is caught between a rock and hard place over this one. The current Planning Board is seated with intelligent, conscientious citizens who will work to resolve this issue for both parties, if it's at all possible. The Town is limited legally with what it can do to prevent a mining operation from opening up. The Board has the power to "regulate" the operation to guarantee the safety of the town's citizens is protected. However, there may be a "legal device" that comes forward to stop the operation altogether.

12:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sally could the town planning board set down rules like trucks could only run in and out of the pit 2 hours a day,two flag men stopping traffic on the river rd. when trucks are coming out of the pit, and drug and booze testing every week for the truck drivers using the pit? Is mr. robbins a Lindley resident or someone coming into town to rape and pillage the citizens of Lindley? Is anyone getting a petition around against Mr. Robbins?

8:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How about mandatory break testing before every truck comes down the steep driveway. emergency air brake testing also before coming down the driveway

8:21 PM  
Anonymous Sallyann said...

Mr. Robbins must be approved for a DEC Permit in order operate a gravel pit in the Town of Lindley. The DEC would be concerned with environmental impact on the land, whether or nor there are Indian Burial Grounds or other cemeteries or historical landmarks that would be impacted on or near the mining site. If the DEC after an environmental impact study grants Mr. Robbins a Permit, then the town's only recourse is to "regulate" set backs, barriers to restrict trespassers, dust control, hours of operation and can determine if the gravel pit is a "permissable activity" in the neighborhood.

Regarding "permissable activity": The Planning Board can look at the neighborhood where the gravel pit will operate and make a determination whether or not the gravel pit impacts the "well being of that neighborhood." A recent example: The Erwin Planning Board ? determined that the truck loading facility that applied for a permit to operate in an old building once owned by Dresser Rand rejected the plan because the number of trucks running on Water Street would negatively impact the neighborhood, which consisted of several historical homes. The Erwin Planning Board determined that the truck operation was not a "permissable activity" and denied the permit.

Rural areas have always found it difficult to deny certain businesses like gravel pits and landfills from operating because of their "rural nature". Rural areas are generally not considered "neighborhoods" because the homes are not "clustered" or close together. Our homes are usually spaced far apart with open areas in between leading people to feel that there's no one "there" to negatively impact. That's the mistake that many "outsiders" make who come in with plans to establish gravel pits or other types of businesses. You'll will always hear city people say when they are confronted like the people in Painted Post were with the truck operation, to take the operation "out to the country where you won't bother anybody". That's why rural towns all across America have landfills, toxic waste dumps and gravel pits on their country roads.

The fact is: We are bothered by these types of businesses but we usually don't believe we have the clout of people power to stop them because we are "spaced apart" and do not consider ourselves a neighborhood. What we have though is a "rural neighborhood mentality" that is as powerful a voice as any historical street with many houses clustered side by side. Like one commenter said, "circulate a petition in Presho and you'll see out how many are against the Lindley pit as well."

We should consider Lindley as "one big neighborhood" that can be and has been impacted by gravel pits. If Mr. Robbins is granted a permit to operate, then Lindley will have "three" gravel pits operating within its boundaries.

10:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wasn't the precedent set when the Harris family sold the land for the gravel pit to Gordy Hakes in the early 70's. Where were all these concerned individuals then.I don't recall any big hulabalo when the gravel pit was first opened by the Harris family .There are no more houses now than then-in fact the one that would impacted the most is empty and word has it it is going to be torn down.

10:53 PM  
Anonymous Sallyann said...

Regarding “No hullabaloo over the Harris gravel pit”

From what I can remember of that time when the Harris gravel pit opened for operation not many protested for these reasons:
1.) Everyone understood there would be an “end” to the hauling when the gravel phase of the dam operation was finished.
2.) The Cowanesque Dam project was perceived as necessary for flood control in the Town of Lindley. The devastation caused by the 1972 and 74 floods was still fresh in everyone’s memory, not to mention the countless floods that had occurred in past years. The gentle meandering Tioga River that raged whenever there was a two-day rain was going to be controlled and this took priority over any inconvenience a gravel operation would incur on River Road for a short period of time. Many Lindley citizens believed that the Harris gravel pit would in the end benefit the town.
3.) On a side note and not real relevant to this discussion, but could serve as context, is the fact that Lindley’s Planning Board back in the 70’s was not as evolved as it is today. Enforcing Zoning Law was a “hit or miss” affair in most of the surrounding rural towns. Since then, local Planning Boards have developed into bodies of real adjudication, having honed their skills on experience and changing times. Either the world is getting smaller or our perception of it is and the need to “regulate” building and development has taken on a more serious tone.

10:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Citizens must understand that the DEC is the lead agency for all mining. They do take into consideration a local governments input and also citizen input. In the end the DEC really only cares about the impact enviromentally, and if in their eyes it is deemed to be a negative impact then they usually issue a permit. There have been petitions circulated against this operation and letters from some board members have been sent to the DEC opposing this permit. Since DEC has not yet issued a permit, to the town's knowledge, and since it is not known if the DEC has actually visited the site, they have been asked to do so in order to see the problems that will exist if this is allowed to go forward. We should not assume that the planning board or any other board automatically says yes to a CUP request. In fact the planning board can say no. In light of the fact that they did not issue a CUP the night of the hearing indicates the board is taking this application very seriously and trying to act in the best interest of the local neighborhood that is going to be most affected. We can only hope and pray the DEC sees the light, that this is not the place for another gravel pit. And to answer the question, no MR. Robbins is not a resident of Lindley, he is from Tioga, Pa.

10:09 PM  
Anonymous Devil's Advocate said...

Would it make a difference if he were a Lindley resident? Since reference is made to using the road to Lawrenceville, is he selling the gravel to Pa. for Rt.15 construction? Like using the gravel for the dams,would this make it okay? Lives would be saved if the road is finished?

10:29 PM  
Anonymous Marc said...

Sally- I just wanted to say i lived in the house that was most impacted at the time of the Harris gravel operation and when the mineing ruined my well Leland drilled a new one for me at his expense and with no malice.The Harris family was aware of any problems there mineing caused for neighbors and correcteted any they were made aware of.

9:01 AM  
Anonymous Marc said...

Sally -everyone with a cdl license is subjected to random drug and alcohol testing in addition immediate testing in the event of accidents.What 3 working gravel pits are being refered to? The highway dept. has to go to Savona for gravel for road repairs.

9:16 AM  
Anonymous Sallyann said...

I would not protest a minute if a gravel operation opened in my backyard to haul gravel to get Route 15 completed. I would consider this a small sacrifice to save lives on Route 15. Right at this minute the chances of getting killed on Route 15 are much higher than getting run over by a truck hauling gravel on River Road, or any road in Lindley. If Mr. Robbins is going to sell gravel for the Route 15 project (the designated one mile from the PA border to Watson Creek) then his operation could be considered a benefit for the town.

However, I understand Mr.Robbins is contracted to sell gravel to the county for the Church Creek Road repaving project this summer. Again, this fact could be considered a benefit for the town. But is it "critical enough" to allow yet another gravel pit to open up in the Town of Lindley?

10:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There has always been a certain group of people in town who have decided what is best for the rest of us while looking out for their own interests.However,the old timers didn't seem to be so concerned with minding their neighbors business as much as some of our do goody busy bodies do today. There appeared to be more respect for an individuals right to determine how to manage his life and property. It wasn't until later years that we began to hear -it is in the best interests of the public. A convenient way of sayng " this is how I would like to have things done to meet my standards."
Zoning and planning boards have a place in today's society,but all too often, they are like Unions where they forget fundemental freedoms and get carried away with their self importance. Recently,an article addressing the subject of eminent domain and the right of government to claim it was mentioned . Little by little , citizens are relinquishing their freedoms for the betterment of the "public" Do you suppose that one of these days, the average citizen will wake up and rebel as they did in 1776 when the Mother Country was deciding what was best for the citizens. I wouldn't be at all surprised.

11:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There has always been a certain group of people in town who have decided what is best for the rest of us while looking out for their own interests.However,the old timers didn't seem to be so concerned with minding their neighbors business as much as some of our do goody busy bodies do today. There appeared to be more respect for an individuals right to determine how to manage his life and property. It wasn't until later years that we began to hear -it is in the best interests of the public. A convenient way of sayng " this is how I would like to have things done to meet my standards."
Zoning and planning boards have a place in today's society,but all too often, they are like Unions where they forget fundemental freedoms and get carried away with their self importance. Recently,an article addressing the subject of eminent domain and the right of government to claim it was mentioned . Little by little , citizens are relinquishing their freedoms for the betterment of the "public" Do you suppose that one of these days, the average citizen will wake up and rebel as they did in 1776 when the Mother Country was deciding what was best for the citizens. I wouldn't be at all surprised.

11:06 PM  
Anonymous Sallyann said...

Regarding “There has always been a certain group of people in town who have decided what is best for the rest of us while looking out for their own interests.”

Democracy does not occur in a vacuum. It requires “do gooders” to step forward and take the reins to insure that government by the people and for the people is upheld. And the thrust of a do gooders/politicians responsibility is to work for the “best interest of their electorate” and that has often been misconstrued as “looking out for their own interests”. But that’s exactly what a do gooder/politician brings to the public square; his or her own political ideology. Each and every person who gets elected to a political position has a well developed political point of view. They’re Republicans, Conservatives, Democrats or Liberals and Independent shades in between. It is the voter who determines who will “rule”. The Constitution and the Bill of Rights were written for the “best interest of the public” and gave us a road map to follow, allowing Americans to use the “vote” instead of the “gun”.

And I agree with you whole heartedly that we have lost fundamental freedoms for the so-called “betterment of the public”. The eminent domain decision by the Supreme Court sent chills up my spine. While the Left lobbies for the civil rights of the Quantanamo detainees, they literally gave the kitchen sink, the kitchen table, heck, the whole house away when the Liberal judges on the Supreme Court decided in favor of extending eminent domain. The Liberal judges changed the wording from public use to public purpose and by doing so; every American’s home was put into jeopardy. In reality, we don’t “own” our homes anymore. This extreme decision flies in the face of our civil liberties and I hope someday soon it is overturned. We have a severe problem with our judicial system. Because the Left cannot win elections to change public policy, they have, since the days of the Civil Rights Movement, used the courts to impose there ideology on the American public, side stepping the electoral process altogether. Their actions are currently being called the “tyranny of the minority”.

Regarding “Do you suppose that one of these days, the average citizen will wake up and rebel as they did in 1776 when the Mother Country was deciding what was best for the citizens?”

American citizens “rebel with the vote”. I’m assuming your comment was spurred by the loss of civil liberties Mr. Robbins could incur if the DEC/Planning Board determines that his gravel operation was a “detriment to the town and environment”. But this was the very reason zoning laws were developed whether you agree with them or not. These laws are on the books and give the general public an “instrument” to affect the impact an operation like Mr. Robbins would have on the immediate community. Without these laws ordinary citizens would not have a “voice” where businesses and developments are built. Zoning Laws provide the “little guy” with a say over his rights. Zoning Laws “are supposed” to level the playing field. But the recent Supreme Court decision on eminent domain changed the rules.

1:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is it a coincidence that this page has all kinds of ads for gravel? It has to come from someone's gravel pit-but God forbid-not one of Lindley's.

11:13 AM  
Anonymous Sallyann said...

Here’s a hypothetical, but not uncommon, situation that comes before Planning Boards in rural towns all across America:

Mr. and Mr. Smith, recently retired, purchased two acres in a rural town where they had lived their entire lives and built their dream home. They specifically chose the acreage on top of a hill for the fantastic “view”; rolling hills as far as the eye could see and for the placid quiet of isolated living that appeals to those who have a “rural mentality”. They designed the house to take full advantage of that view with a bank of windows from the base to the peak across the front of the house.

They planned to spend their twilight years enjoying the peace and quiet and nature’s beauty. They had worked hard for their “nest egg” and were ready to hatch its benefits. They invested their entire life savings that came from the resale of their previous home into their “dream home”. And for the next five years they manicured their lawn, planted trees that wouldn’t obstruct the view and generally tended a property they called home. Life was good. They had fought for the American Dream and thought they had won, until Mr. Jones came along and bought the property adjacent to their “sanctuary” on the lower hill beneath them, on the side of their house that faced the view, on the side of the house with the bank of windows that opened to one of the finest views afforded anyone.

However, Mr. Jones had plans to open a gravel pit on his land. He would crush, screen and haul gravel to fulfill his contract for XYZ. Mr. Jones is a young man, an entrepreneur anxious to acquire the American Dream when he, like the Smiths, would build a dream home on a piece of land that suited his fancy. He was willing to work hard for it. He was willing to risk everything for it by investing thousands into the land and equipment. His operation, if approved, would provide jobs for the area which in turn, would boost the local economy and increase the tax base in town.

Whose “American Dream” do you shatter?

Whose “pursuit of happiness” do you deny?

4:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good question. Now I wonder if the Smiths purchased any sand or/ gravel for their dream property and did that affect another person's dream home with their purchase. -- hypothetical
Would like to pole people and see how many have used some kind of sand and /or gravel for their property since they bought it. If so, that must have been on property ajoining someone. Wasn't that an infringment,too?

5:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

same old story- fine in someone else's backyard,but not mine. maybe we should stop building roads, drives,sidewalks, all the things that need gravel. wonder where watson creek and morgan creek residents would be without the gravel from savona that somone mentioned

10:26 PM  
Anonymous Sallyann said...

You can nuance this hypothetical question until the cows come home, but eventually someone has to make a decision.

Planning Board members are faced with tough decisions like this all the time and like a good friend says, "You think this is easy?"

I'll ask again for a direct answer to the question: Whose American Dream do you shatter?

12:53 AM  
Anonymous Marc said...

Sally- Good question ! Lets see do you shatter the persons dream who has worked his whole life for his dream or the person who is just starting to try to find a way to aquire his dream.Sorry I dont feel qualified to make a call like that and am thankful i am not in a position to have to! Hats off to our planning board if they can answer your question.

8:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My vote goes to the young man. He deserves his chance in life that these people seem to have already achieved. If they had been wise, they would have bought more land or at least looked at the potential uses of the surrounding land. Pretty naive in this day and age to think things would remain the same. (Into every life some rain must fall or as mother would say life is not fair.)Since the young man has already bought the land ,it is a little late to complain.
If the gravel pit is below them , the "view" should not be affected that much and probably once the mining is finished, they will have a lovely lake to gaze upon. If life deals you lemons, make lemonade.
Either way they learn to live with the situation or move. Maybe they could sell the house to the young man and find another hill making sure they are isolated this time. Other possiblities are that as they age, they may find living on a hill has it's drawbacks or they could develop health problems which require moving to a valley home or nursing home.
There may be the possibility a comprise could be made such as a buffer built and all could live happily ever after. The older couple might even find that they need the assistance of the younger man in their golden years.

9:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can you tell me the locations of the 3 gravel pits?

12:18 PM  
Anonymous Marc said...

Anonymous-I am guessing the pits that are refered to are 1 on Scott road -Austins 1 on Joe youngs lower farm -Hawbakers 1 at towns highway dept or maybe the old Harris pit non of witch are currently active to the best of my knowledge.

10:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just saw a headline for retirees-Stayput until you retire ; then seek a less expensive home. guess these retirees didn't use a financial advisor.

10:19 AM  

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