Complaints Are Leveled Against Quarry in Brandon


Brandon - the Brandon Planning Commission told

zoning administrator Jane DeAngelis Monday that if the

OMYA company has violated permit conditions at its

Smoke Rise Quarry north of Brandon she should issue a

cease and desist order.

DeAngelis will meet Wednesday with company

geologist Donald Burns and trucking company head

Edward Carter to discuss allegations of excessive

blasting vibrations, excessive truck traffic and dust

problems caused by trucks.

Only a state's District Environmental Commission

could reopen hearings on the state Act 250 land use

permit. But the planning commission has agreed to

meet with a professional blaster to familiarize itself

with such issues.

Smoke Rise Quarry received its original permit in

1979, then in 1985 was authorized to expand

operations. The second permit added restrictions.

Raymond Mulcahy, the former superintendent of the

Brandon Training School who lives near the quarry,

made an extended presentation to the commission

Monday. He contended these restrictions had been

disregarded, and provided a dated list of blasts and

their effects at his house.

DeAngelis said, "Every explanation you can get

from the quarry is that they are operating under

federal Bureau of Mines standards."

There was much discussion of seismograph tests

performed by a firm OMYA hired in 1985. At the

complaining individual's property the test records

show no ground movement, but do not give the size of

the blasts involved.

It was alleged at the hearing that blasts of as

much as 5,000 pounds of dynamite have occurred. OMYA

spokesman Duncan Ogden said Tuesday that all blasts

had been 3,000 pounds or less, as verified in a log

that is public record.

Mulcahy's log titled, "Blasting of Significant

Decibel" overlaps the period of Burns' tests, which

Ogden says were of normal quarry blasts. Burns

detected no vibration for a May 15 blast which the

homeowner recorded as "Blast causing vibration in

house. Upset dog."

Board of zoning adjustment chairman Francis

LaPine questioned the tests, claiming vibrations occur

at his house on Mount Pleasant strong enough so

"sooner or later somebody is going to get a cracked


Mulcahy said his chimney had developed problems

and his 100-year-old flagstone foundation also may be


Ogden said the company has given up trying to

find vibrations off the quarry site, and now monitors

each blast with an automatic seismograph to make sure

no vibrations pass the property line.

OMYA attorney Edward Van Schwiebert was surprised

that blasting vibrations were still an issue.

"Heavens, the Toths don't feel anything," he said,

adding, "They're right across the street."

Mulcahy also was concerned that more trucks were

going to and from the site than allowed, which is 20

round trips per day for a five-day week. Trucks from

another marble company, a construction company, and

both the towns of Brandon and Pittsford were also

making trips, he said.

Schwiebert said, "The company hasn't been taking

anywhere near the quantity of material that is

permitted" (100,000 tons a year) and the number of

trucks is based on the tonnage taken out.

Ogden said, "It's an asset to the area. I don't

know why anyone complains about that."

Planning commission member William Braun said, "I

have complained about the police department and the

town manager letting the trucks from Pittsford go

through. (Dust) is coming off the tailgate, there's a

halo around these trucks and the halo is just dust,

and it's a dustbowl."

Town manager Frank Farnsworth agreed with

Schwiebert that the permit conditions only covered

OMYA trucks. As for others, "there's no requirement

in the law that I'm familiar with or that the police

are familiar with that requires covering," he said.

Mulcahy also said trucks had appeared at the --

site as early as 5 a.m. and had been seen leaving as

late as 6:30 p.m., in violation of required working


Schwiebert said the company has been willing to

work out problems even when they were not legally

OMYA's responsibility, such as bumps in Route 7 the

property owner complained about years ago.

We're not taking the position "We're here and

that's the way it's going to be," he said.