Monkton debates the meaning of ‘gravel’

MONKTON — Members of the Development Review Board came to no final decisions on a contentious 39.5 acre gravel production site off of Monkton Road when they held a public hearing this past Tuesday.
The focus of the hearing, according to DRB Chair Peter Close, was over whether a rock quarry would be permitted under Monkton law and “the definition of gravel.”
The proposed quarry, which is owned by Allan and Michael Brisson of Brisson Stone LLC and managed by Burchfield Management Company LLC, would mine bedrock for a projected 40 years, according to a PowerPoint presentation provided to the DRB last April.
The application was filed in January, before Monkton’s new zoning ordinances went into effect on Feb. 23. Under Section 460 of the new zoning ordinances, according to past reporting by the Addison Independent, “Commercial mining or extraction operations are prohibited” everywhere in Monkton.
Zoning Administrator Ken Wheeling struck down Brisson Stone’s application in late January, a decision that was later declared null and void, since Wheeling had referred the application to the DRB prior to making his decision.
Since Brisson Stone’s application was submitted before the new zoning regulations went into effect, it is not subject to the ban on commercial mining and extraction, proponents point out. Instead, it is subject to earlier bylaws that permitted the extraction of sand, soil and gravel if a number of provisions are met.
However, opponents of the quarry argued that Brisson Stone was not mining for gravel, but rather creating gravel to mine. The argument was that since there is no gravel currently on site to mine, the operation would primarily extract rock, then crush it to make gravel — which is significant, because under the old bylaws, extraction activity that is not expressly permitted (in this case, sand, soil and gravel) is prohibited.
The DRB has not yet deliberated over the testimonies and public input presented during Tuesday‘s meeting.
“We are pretty backed up,” said Close, who said the board hoped to reach a decision in the coming month. 

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