JOHNSTOWN - Residents want the town to stop Frank Fernandez from building a gravel mine on Steele Avenue Extension.
More than a dozen concerned residents approached the Town Board last week about the proposed 15-year project. Some residents want the town to impose a moratorium on gravel mining.
Fernandez is proposing to put a gravel pit on property that borders the state Department of Environmental Conservation's Hale Creek Station.
Daryl-Jean Pierce and other Steele Avenue Extension residents ask the Town Board last week to prevent a gravel mine project on the road. (The Leader-Herald/John Borgolini)
One resident of the road, Tim Preddice, a former facility coordinator for the Hale Creek station, said his former secretary got into an accident after sliding on gravel on the road while approaching the intersection with Route 29.
"She hit some gravel stone, and a car ran into her," Preddice said. "If you approach 29 too fast and hit gravel, you're going to slide."
He suggested a gravel pit on the road could result in more gravel ending up on the road and creating a hazard.
Daryl-Jean Pierce read a prepared statement to the board, recalling the mining moratorium the town established 11 years ago to stop Larned Brothers, a Schenectady company, from building a mine at the same location.
"We now find another man - without regard for the health, safety or way of life of the neighbors, and [with] total disregard for aesthetic, historical, recreational and environmental resources of the town of Johnstown - has filed an application to mine the same land," Pierce said. "There are many reasons to deny this. What we're asking for today is another mining moratorium so the neighbors and the town can find a way to stop this threat permanently."
Fernandez is proposing to use 15 acres of the 40-acre property he owns near the Steele Avenue Extension and Route 29 intersection, according to an application he filed with the town of Johnstown on Feb. 15. The application says five acres initially would be affected by the mining process in the gravel-pit area, which would be 1,250 feet from the highway and 800 feet from any dwelling.
The application states the project would involve "surface mining of sand [and] gravel." The maximum depth of the mining would be 80 feet to remove 750,000 cubic yards of material.
Fernandez's application states the hauling road would run for 150 feet from Steele Avenue Extension with an average of two vehicle trips per hour and a maximum of four vehicle trips per hour.
In addition to spilt gravel and sand, the residents are worried about increased truck traffic, noise and pollution to creeks in the area.
Pierce said the biggest concern is the effect the mining would have on the health and safety of the residents and its effect on other development in the town.
Councilwoman Beth Schloicka said the town will look into the request for a moratorium.