OMYA Answers Quarry Questions

Brandon - OMYA, Inc. representives responded to

questions from Brandon residents at a board of zoning

adjustment hearing this week on a proposed extension

of the Smoke Rise Quarry.

The company has applied for a conditional use

permit to allow further blasting, rock crushing, and

trucking of marble rock from the site near Route 7

north of Brandon Village to the OMYA plant in


Approximately 30 acres of land owned by Brian and

Jean Rivers, Richard and Cheryl Rivers and Beatrice

and Melvin Cousineau would be involved in the project,

mostly as reclamation sites for waste rock. The

quarry itself would extend to about 200 feet to the


Zoning board chairman Linda Carlson said the

hearing had been warned improperly, in that the quarry

land is in a low density multiple use area, not a high

density residential area as stated.

OMYA geologist Duncan Ogden said he found the

quarry in Brandon had exposed a marble layer that

would extend its life another five to six years. The

original application for the quarry was approved in

1979. Ogden then approached the Rivers family, with

whom OMYA now has a contract to purchase land, about

the extension.

Residents living near the quarry expressed

concerns about possible blasting damage, vibrations

from truck traffic, road dust, conservation of

wetlands and children's safety.

Regarding blasting, Pen Reed of Brandon said that

at his house house there were "cracks in the ceiling,

cracks in the wall, and now a crack in the foundation

- a big crack." He said, "There are times when the

plates rattle."

Ogden said such vibrations mostly occur when

blasting takes place near the surface. Now that the

quarry is opened, he said there should not be such a

problem. In additional, Smoke Rise "went through a

lot of quarry managers," he said until it found Edward

Carter, who runs the place "like his own backyard."

Ogden demonstrated for the board a blast

monitoring device that he said the company now uses to

make sure vibrations do not exceed recommended levels.

William Braun, the town's backup zoning

administrator, said truck traffic was one of his major

concerns. Ogden said Brandon's OMYA traffic would not

be increased by the quarry because the Smoke Rise

permit would continue to allow only 100 trucks during

a six-day week.

If there seemed to be more trucks than that, he

said, it was because the Florence plant currently

receives about 45 truck loads a day from a Middlebury

quarry as well as 13 or 14 from Brandon. If less

marble comes from Brandon, more comes from Middlebury,

he said, up to a combined maximum of 102 trucks a day.

Concerning damage to roads and nearby structures,

OMYA vice-president Edward Van Schwiebert said that in

1978 the state said 11,000 vehicles a day came through

Brandon and in 1982 there was 9,300 a day. So, he

said, OMYA's trucks were "less than one-third of 1

percent of the traffic that comes through the town."

Rivers' family members said no wetlands would be

lost because the so-called "swamp lot" was only called

that because it was wetter than surrounding nearby

land. "It's all ledge," Brian Rivers said.

Joan Bryant said the four-strand wire fence at

the quarry "doesn't keep much out." She said

neighborhood children had gone there and worried that

there could be a problem. Zoning board member Elinor

Young said, "I think the board will take this under


Cheryl Rivers said she had been worried about the

quarry when it began next door. But, she added,

"Overall it's been a decent operation."

Carlson said findings of fact would be issued as

soon as possible, but gave no date.