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The Valley Reporter
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Waitsfield, VT 05673

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"Citizens for Rochester" meeting scheduled for June 29




By Kara Herlihy

"Citizens for Rochester," a grassroots organization that is currently in the process of settling with landowners on a proposed large scale quarry on Route 100, will participate in a group consultation with environmental consulting firm "Toxics Action Center" on June 20.

The application received by the District Three Environmental Commission calls for the reopening of an existing pit located approximately 200 feet north of the intersection between Route 100 and New Boston Road.

According to documents on file with the state, roughly nine acres out of the 192-acre property would be involved in quarrying and blasting operations. It is anticipated that up to 42,000 cubic yards of material would be extracted annually from the site, for a period of 10 years.

The informational meeting, which starts at 6:30 p.m. at the Hancock Town Hall, was announced on the citizens' website, and urges "concerned neighbors" to attend the meeting which will focus on the Act 250 process, specifically.

Toxics Action Center is a non-profit environmental consulting firm, whose guidance is sought by towns or individuals "99 percent of the time," and not the other way around according to one TAC representative.

Toxics Action Center's description of services reads, "We provide community groups and local leaders with the organizing skills needed to wage effective campaigns. This usually starts with visiting the neighborhood and holding an introductory meeting to discuss the problem and to determine how we can help. Our seven consultations serve as the foundation for our group assistance."

The applicant, Rochester Sand and Gravel, has yet to apply for a conditional use permit, as was requested by both the state and the local planning commission. In their decision on partial findings, the District Three Environmental Commission requested that the applicant acquire the conditional use permit from the PC.

According to the engineer for the project, Mark Bannon of Bannon Engineering, the case is "still pending," while "Citizens for Rochester" representative Bill Gibson declined to comment in detail due to ongoing legal negotiations that may include a possible settlement.

While the Citizen's website also reports that an Act 250 hearing is scheduled for July 30, Gibson said he "didn't think that would be happening."


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