CHESHIRE -- Monday night’s Planning Board meeting saw members take up some residents’ concerns regarding several ongoing projects, including US Gypsum Company mining work and the expansion of O’Connell’s Convenience Plus.
The first came from William Singer, of West Mountain Road, who sought clarity on the scope of a blasting and mining operation at the US Gypsum Company quarry near his property, where there’s been an uptick in activity recently.
According to Singer, rock crushing, blasting and grinding that can be easily heard and occasionally felt at his home is occurring weekly.
"What was basically a defunct business has turned into kind of a major mining operation again," Singer said.
The quarry has been active sporadically since the 1970s but recently changed hands from Petricca Developments LLC to D. Condron Construction Inc., of Lanesborough, with a flare of new work resulting.
"It’s tremendously different in that area when there’s construction always going on," Singer said.
Singer was also concerned with potential declines in property value and damage to the wells, chimneys and foundations of his and other homes in the area that could be caused by the blasting.
Board member Bernard Bator pointed out that the quarry itself is a grandfathered business and not under the jurisdiction of the Planning Board. However, he suggested other avenues.
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Member Charles Howard agreed, and motions were made to send notice to the Bureau of Mines and contact Town Counsel Edmund St. John III regarding the matter.
Complaints were later lodged and questions were raised regarding the ongoing project at O’Connell’s Convenience Plus at 173 North St.
Claire Wohrle, a neighbor, worried about traffic congestion problems that could result from the business’ planned expansion, along with problems for neighbors due to increased customer traffic. Wohrle said speeding, noise and litter are already issues.
"Once things are done, if there’s an increase in traffic problems, then the state will get involved," Bator said, pointing out that Route 8 is under state jurisdiction.
According to Howard, an O’Connell’s representative will be invited to the next Planning Board meeting, scheduled Aug. 26., to speak to concerned residents of the area.
"The O’Connell’s representative has been very helpful with us and he will jump through any hoop he can to make this project successful," Howard said. According to Howard, the company plans to plant a screen of trees at the close of construction.
The site building plans, many years in the making, are to expand the existing store and include a bank and a Dunkin Donuts. A 21-foot retaining wall is the only part of the project under way. The additional components still need approval by town Building Inspector Gerald Garner.
This phase of construction is expected to wrap up in October.
To reach Phil Demers, email email@example.com.