No decision yet on permit for Lane to expand mining operations

  • Lane Construction is located at 216 Mount Hermon Station Road in Northfield. RECORDER STAFF/SHELBY ASHLINE

  • Tony Wonseski, senior engineer with SVE Associates, a landscape design company that serves as a consultant for Lane Construction Corporation, begins his presentation before the Northfield Zoning Board of Appeals Thursday, July 21. Wonseski outlined Lane's proposed expansion to a 30-acre lot to the northwest of its property. RECORDER STAFF/SHELBY ASHLINE

Recorder Staff
Published: 7/28/2016 11:28:34 PM

NORTHFIELD — After two hours of discussion concerning whether to grant Lane Construction Corp. a permit to expand its gravel operations, the Zoning Board of Appeals suspended its second hearing Thursday night without coming to a definitive decision.

The board suspended the session at 9 p.m. and scheduled the next hearing for Wednesday, Aug. 10 at 7 p.m.

Fourteen people attended the meeting, including four representatives of Lane: Fred Aldrich, superintendent of Lane’s Northfield and Walpole, N.H. divisions, Yard Foreman Stephen Skowyra, Environmental Manager Eugene Weldon and Tony Wonseski, senior engineer with SVE Associates, a landscape design company acting as a consultant to Lane.

The construction company seeks to mine a 30-acre lot northwest of its current property.

At the start of the hearing, residents heard from Wonseski, who addressed concerns raised during the previous hearing on Thursday, July 21. For safety purposes, it was recommended that Lane remove a well which currently sits on the property the company intends to buy.

“They’ll either lock that top down or fill it in accordance with standards,” Wonseski assured residents.

Other concerns included how mining the lot would affect wildlife and whether the land holds significant cultural artifacts.

Wonseski said the land is not a habitat for any endangered species. He also consulted the Massachusetts Cultural Resource Information System (MACRIS), a website which allows you to search the Massachusetts Historical Commission database for information on historic properties and areas in the state, and said that no historic areas or burial grounds were found on Mount Hermon Station Road, where the land is located.

Other residents hoped to use an access road on the property for recreation, but Lane representatives and members of the board expressed a desire to limit the use of the road for safety reasons. Wonseski said, however, that Lane would work with public safety officials in town so that they would have access to the road should they need to use it to fight forest fires.

“We’re certainly willing to discuss after the fact any recreational trails,” Weldon added.

Bill Llewelyn, chairman of the Conservation Commission, expressed the commission’s approval of Lane using the property for mining.

“The land is not prime agricultural land,” he said. “You’re not taking good land out of production.”

Lane intends to purchase the land from Joyce A. Roberts, who had owned it with her recently late husband William, provided that the board grants the company a permit for mining. The property would offer 277,000 square yards of sand and gravel that would be mined in four phases, according to Wonseski.

Shortly after 8 p.m., the board called a 30-minute executive session to hear a private concern from the Historical Commission.

When the board reconvened, they began to outline the conditions, should they grant Lane a new permit. Conditions include: all waterways shall be returned to their pre-mining condition; no blasting is allowed; transportation of resources from outside the mined area for purpose of burial is not allowed; the water table must not be disturbed, altered or contaminated; and the company must stick to particular hours of operation.

The board will continue to outline permit conditions next month. The site review was conducted on Saturday, July 23, and the board expressed no serious concerns after viewing the property.


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