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LOCKPORT – A new town master plan, including possible zoning changes, is coming this year.

“Our goal is to have our master plan done by this fall,” Councilman Mark C. Crocker said.

Supervisor Marc R. Smith said the town is tentatively planning to hold public hearings in May.

The statements were made in response to questions from a Murphy Road resident, Leonard R. Sayward, about the town’s plans.

One controversial aspect of the master plan is expected to be whether the town will zone the south side of Hinman Road to allow for the expansion of the Lafarge North America stone and gravel quarry.

Residents on nearby Murphy Road have bitterly opposed the expansion, including the much smaller one the town approved in late 2012, which allowed mining on the rim of the quarry already in operation on the north side of the road.

But in the last several years, Lafarge has bought up land on the other side of Hinman, planning for an eventual quarry there – unless the town or the state Department of Environmental Conservation prevents it.

Sayward wanted to know if the town will take Lafarge up on its offer to hire an expert to perform baseline assessments of the condition of nearby homes, so there will be a basis for comparison in case a resident claims his property was damaged by the blasting from the stone quarry.

“It’s a great idea, but we want to hear what comes out of the community hearings,” Smith replied referring to the master plan hearings.

The proposal was contained in a letter Lafarge sent the town in December, replying to a list of questions raised by residents at Town Board meetings and conveyed by the town in a letter to the company in April of last year.

Lafarge also is awaiting approval from the City of Lockport of its request to begin mining 9.1 acres within the quarry’s boundaries. The city-town border runs through the quarry.

The city has held up action, awaiting an engineering report on whether blasting from that site will endanger the city’s drinking water supply line from the Niagara River, which runs beneath Hinman. There are no homes on the city portion of the road.

In other action at last week’s meeting, the Town Board voted to buy a $4,000 snowplow blade for a pickup truck from the low bidder, Niagara Performance of Robinson Road.

Also, Casey R. Anderson was appointed to the vacant job of real property appraiser, for a salary of $16.50 an hour.

email: tprohaska@buffnews.com