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October 19, 2006
By Erin Post
Moretown officials filed a court injunction last weekend against a town resident extracting stone on his property without a permit.
Sheila Getzinger, the town's zoning administrator, said she issued a notice of violation on Thursday, October 12, to Shane Elwell for activities occurring at his Hathaway Road property. Hathaway Road runs from the Moretown Mountain Road north towards Moretown Common.
"He was excavating, drilling and blasting at his property without a permit," she said.
The notice of violation allows seven days to obtain the necessary permit or to cease the activities in question.
Instead, Getzinger said, "My notice caused a ramping up of activity" at the site.
After fielding complaints from area residents concerned about the truck traffic that continued to and from the site after the notice of violation was issued, select board members met with an attorney, completed affidavits and filed the injunction the evening of Saturday, October 14, said select board member Stephanie Venema.
The document requires Elwell to cease extracting stone and to implement measures for "erosion control" at the site, officials said.
Elwell said via telephone Tuesday that he had received the court papers and had installed hay bales and silt fences for erosion control.
There are no plans to continue with the blasting and excavating at this time, Elwell said, noting that the property is not intended to be a quarry.
"I was just prepping for a house site," he said. He added that he did not know he needed a permit until work on the structure itself was set to begin.
The activity that continued after he received the zoning citation was part of the effort to "clean up the mess" at the site, Elwell said.
"We had seven days to stop the work," he said.
But officials at the October 16 meeting said they decided to seek the injunction only after it appeared as though the seven-day period was not being used to remove equipment and end blasting activity.
Residents on Hathaway Road and other nearby roads cited "trucks going up and down all day long" for roughly one week, Venema said, only to see that activity "speed up" after the notice was issued.
The activity had the potential to endanger local residents, said select board co-chair John Hoogenboom, and because of this the situation required immediate action.
"It had to do with public safety," he said. "The truck traffic was just too much for the road to handle."
At the board's October 16 meeting, select board member Doug Jones questioned whether the town had set a precedent by filing the court injunction in the case.
"I think you guys did," he said. "But that's my opinion."