Rutland Herald

OMYA may reopen Danby marble quarry

January 17, 2000
By SANDI SWITZER Herald Correspondent

DANBY - An old Danby quarry that has stood dormant for many years may become active once again.

OMYA Inc. owns the former Joe Phillips Quarry property near Dutch Hill and is considering reopening the site for the extraction of marble deposits.

"We're in the process right now of evaluating the economics of developing that area," said OMYA's chief geologist Don Burns. "We haven't come up with a complete plan yet, nor have we gotten involved with the Act 250 process yet."

The site consists of approximately 400 acres with two marble prospects that were quarried years ago for blocks, and OMYA would be proposing an open pit there, according to Burns.

OMYA purchased the property a number of years ago, and its parent company, Pleuss-Staufer Industries, has owned land throughout the region since the late-1970s, he said.

The company has met with officials in surrounding towns on an informal basis to initiate discussions, and will present more specific plans if a decision is made to move forward with the project, Burns said.

One issue expected to generate a great deal of interest is which truck route would be used to haul marble from the Danby site to a processing plant in Florence.

"There's a number of options and we're currently evaluating which is the best one," Burns said.

OMYA is also considering whether road and bridge improvements would be needed to facilitate trucking, he said.

Burns indicated the project could generate 10 to 15 new jobs, with additional benefits for people delivering fuel and providing maintenance.

At least one quarry neighbor has expressed concerns regarding the prospects of OMYA reopening the site.

Steve Burzon met with the Danby Select Board recently and suggested the town be proactive in determining future development patterns for the valley.

"In this day and age, we should have the opportunity to control what goes on in our town instead of letting others decide for us," he said.

Burzon asked officials to consider adopting interim zoning so residents would the opportunity to decide the best use of the land. He said quarry operations would inconvenience neighbors, and trucking activities might impact the town.

"This will eventually become heavy industry and it'll seriously change the Danby Four Corners area forever," Burns said.

However, town officials were not receptive to his suggestion.

"We did interim zoning one other time and it was not well received," Selectman Ken Bushey said. "I wouldn't want to put it in again without a vote of the town."

Bushey said it was his understanding the company purchased the property for the purpose of using it.

"OMYA owns property all over Dorset Mountain, and they pay taxes, and employ people," he said. "Either we have to become a bedroom community or a retirement community. Hopefully, there will be some jobs in town."

Bushey said he did not favor or oppose the project, and would wait until more specifics are available before taking a position.

Burns said OMYA could file an Act 250 application within the next few months.