LOCKPORT – Representatives of Lafarge North America said Thursday they will seek a state permit and a town rezoning for a new stone and gravel quarry once the town completes its new comprehensive plan.
The company’s attorney said after a public meeting on the plan that either the town or the state Department of Environmental Conservation could stop the plan to dig a new quarry on the south side of Hinman Road, where Lafarge has purchased most of the property in recent years.
Perry Galdenzi, Western New York area manager, said Lafarge estimates it has five years’ worth of usable material left in its existing quarry, assuming it receives state approval and a special-use permit to mine on a parcel of land within the borders of the City of Lockport, a project proposed last winter.
But it’s within the borders of the Town of Lockport that the decision most critical to the company’s future will be made.
Lafarge attorney Kevin J. Brown said, “After the plan is done, we’ll be making two applications, one to DEC for a mining permit and one to the town for zoning.”
He said the town could stop the project by refusing to rezone the Hinman Road land from its current agricultural-residential status.
Town Planner Andrew C. Reilly endorsed a quarry expansion in his second draft of the comprehensive plan, but he said, “It’s not a done deal. We need input.”
A third draft of the plan will be issued this summer, and Supervisor Marc R. Smith said another meeting may be held in about the third week of September.
Carol Clark, who lives on Murphy Road near the quarry, said Lafarge has reached out to the community, and she and two other residents have joined the company’s Community Awareness Group.
“They’re being wonderful as far as educating us. It doesn’t change us not wanting the quarry to expand,” Clark said.
Results of the town’s online survey so far show 76 percent of respondents rate road repair as the biggest issue facing the town. Asphalt is a major Lafarge product.
Dave Devereaux of North Canal Road endorsed a Lafarge expansion. “I couldn’t imagine, with all this growth and materials, what the cost would be if we had to outsource it to (quarries in) Newstead or Orleans County,” he said,
Traffic issues also were raised. Smith said he’s trying to get the state Department of Transportation to repair in-pavement sensors so traffic signals are better coordinated along South Transit Road.
Reilly said the DOT will perform a traffic study in the area six months after the new Walmart Supercenter opens this fall.
Also, Smith said he hopes the planned merger of the Lockport and Buffalo YMCAs might clear the way for the Lockport Family YMCA’s long-dormant move to a new facility on Snyder Drive.
Reilly said, “We’re working on connectivity and sidewalks in that area.”