LOCKPORT – For the second consecutive month, residents administered an oral beating Wednesday to the Lockport Town Board over its Dec. 26 approval of an expansion of the Lafarge North America stone quarry.
Lafarge has bought substantial property on the south side of Hinman Road for a planned expansion, while a group of residents of Hinman and Murphy Road, now calling itself “Enough Is Enough,” is demanding the shutdown of the quarry and threatening a lawsuit to overturn the board’s decision.
Several speakers during Wednesday’s public comment period again blasted the board for approving the company’s request for a 162-foot-wide strip, 4,000 feet long, along the edge of its current quarry on Hinman, even though town officials at the time complained that Lafarge hadn’t given them much notice of their request.
“When did our elected officials start to work for the Town of Lafarge?” asked Claudette Lemieux of Murphy Road.
“There was no ill intent on this board’s part to circumvent the residents’ concerns,” Councilman Mark C. Crocker said. While residents complained about homes shaken and damaged by Lafarge’s blasting, Crocker said the position of Kistner Concrete, a Hinman Road company that casts concrete bridge forms, was crucial to his vote for the expansion.
Crocker said Kistner told him that even though it stands to lose thousands of dollars anytime a bridge casting cracks, moving Lafarge’s activities nearer would have little or no impact on its business.
Residents attacked Town Supervisor Marc R. Smith over his statement to The Buffalo News last week that the town was waiting to see what Lafarge’s expansion plans are for the south side of Hinman before proceeding with an update of the town master plan. Such an expansion would require a zoning change.
Smith said the town will send Lafarge a letter embodying the questions residents have voiced in the public meetings since the issue flared up last fall. He said that once Town Attorney Daniel E. Seaman approves the text, the letter will be publicly released.
Daniel Krakosky, of Bear Ridge Road, who lives five-eighths of a mile from the quarry, said a blast there recently cracked a window in his house.
“Since I’ve been there, the road has deteriorated. My car, which is white, some days is totally black. And at the VA, they check my lung capacity,” he said.