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Frontier Stone’s nearly decade-long effort to open a 215-acre stone quarry in the Orleans County Town of Shelby will be the subject of a public hearing April 30.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation will be taking opinions on a draft environmental impact statement for the proposed quarry, 3.7 miles south of the Village of Medina. The site will front primarily on the south side of Fletcher Chapel Road, with some frontage on Sour Springs Road, according to a fact sheet from the DEC.

DEC spokesman Peter Constantakes said the hearing was scheduled because “we determined the draft environmental impact statement was complete.”

In addition to the hearing at 6 p.m. April 30 in Town Hall, at which Administrative Law Judge Molly McBride will preside, the DEC will accept written comments until May 12.

The identical project was proposed in 2006 by the Wilson-based company and its president, David Mahar. However, local opposition surfaced, and the project was set aside at the time.

William P. Albert, spokesman for Frontier Stone as well as the Harris Beach law firm, said the town took action against the project in July 2006. “They put a moratorium on mining,” Albert said.

Shelby Supervisor Merle Draper said a survey of town residents was taken in April 2007. “The average person was not in favor of it,” Draper recalled.

He said some of the objections came from residents in the southern part of the town, but others were concerned about the quarry’s impact on the nearby Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge. Draper said the proposed quarry site is separated from the wildlife refuge only by a National Grid power transmission line.

The company’s draft environmental impact statement included studies that concluded the impact on the refuge from the mining would be “negligible.”

Mahar said in a news release, “The refuge is a true national treasure in our community, and we were pleased with the (impact statement’s) analysis.”

“Quarrying would be conducted by standard drill and blast technology, with front-end loaders and excavators feeding a primary crusher with shot rock,” the DEC reported.

Frontier’s application said it is willing to pay for road and intersection upgrades in southern Shelby so the highways can better handle the truck traffic.

The company also promised measures to prevent surface water runoff and control dust from the stone quarry.

The 215.5-acre quarry is to be dug on a 269.45-acre parcel of land, with the excavation area of 172.2 acres expected to yield high-quality dolomite and limestone for construction, as well as agricultural-grade lime, the DEC reported.

The company suggested in its application that the lime would help local farmers increase corn yields that would allow them to sell more corn to the ethanol plant in Shelby.

The mining is to occur in four phases over a 75-year period, and it would lower the surface of the land by 100 to 150 feet, the DEC said. That would go below the water table, and the DEC said the company would have to pump out an estimated 554,264 gallons of water per day, to be discharged into an existing agricultural drainage ditch.

email: tprohaska@buffnews.com