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
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
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.