Omya Receives Permits To Reopen Four Quarries

August 10, 1994.

By Ed Barna

Harold Correspondent

Pittsford - the OMYA marble company has received

an Act 250 permit to reopen four idle quarries at the

Hogback property in Florence, on terms that have left

several neighbors unhappy.

The company has three years in which to begin an

open-pit quarry combining the old quarries.

John Mitchell, president of Pluess Staufer

Industries, which owns OMYA, said operations would

probably begin this year, and should continue for the

50-year-life of the permit.

Earlier, OMYA said the marble ore from the

Florence site would replace material from the Smoke

Rise Quarry in Brandon, scheduled to shut down in


The Brandon quarry sends 15-20 truck loads a day

to the processing plants, while the Florence quarry

would be able to send up to 40 truck loads daily.

Rock from Middlebury, Brandon and Wallingford is

crushed and sent to the two main plants in Florence

for grinding and sale as industrial calcium carbonate.

The massive plant contributed $1,205,870 in taxes

to Pittsford in 1993 - 34 percent of the town's

total levy.

OMYA geologist Donald Burns said the Florence

site was chosen among numerous properties because it

was secluded and only half a mile north of the

grinding plant.

But the site included a deer wintering area and

state wildlife biologists testified at Act 250

hearings that they were concerned about the quarry's


The permit requires that OMYA manage an off-site

area for use by deer, and include in its management

plan a stand of evergreens that deer now use.

Mitchell said deer typically grow accustomed to

the company's quarrying operations and with 325 acres

at the site the deeryard should become "a non-issue."

Neighbor Thomas Pilcher said the best solution,

for several environmental reasons, would be to restore

the railroad tracks that used to run past the quarries

and the plant, rather than use trucks to haul the ore.

OMYA said during the hearings that a train could

not climb the 15 percent grade to get to the plant.

Pilcher also said the District 1 Environmental

Commission showed a bias in favor of OMYA by saying

neighbors' concerns about property values were

irrelevant to Act 250 while heeding OMYA's arguments

about proposed measures being too expensive.

Pilcher and Florence resident Andrew Snyder said

their main concern was truck traffic on Fire Hill

Road, a narrow, winding gravel road. The permit

states that OMYA should try to build a new access road

to the plant on its own property, but notes that

wetlands issues might be an obstacle.

Mitchell said of the new road, "We don't see any

real problem with that. It makes a lot of sense to


The permit requires OMYA to pay for improvements

to Fire Hill Road if it must be used as an access.

Pilcher said he was still making up his mind

whether to appeal OMYA's permit.

Noise was a concern for neighbors Dorothy Lizotte

and especially Larry Hazelton, who said his diary farm

would not be shielded the loud rock-crushing


"I'd like to appeal it," Hazelton said, "but to

get the right lawyer would cost big bucks."