Omya Receives Permits To Reopen Four Quarries
August 10, 1994.
By Ed Barna
Pittsford - the OMYA marble company has received
an Act 250 permit to reopen four idle quarries at the
Hogback property in Florence, on terms that have left
several neighbors unhappy.
The company has three years in which to begin an
open-pit quarry combining the old quarries.
John Mitchell, president of Pluess Staufer
Industries, which owns OMYA, said operations would
probably begin this year, and should continue for the
50-year-life of the permit.
Earlier, OMYA said the marble ore from the
Florence site would replace material from the Smoke
Rise Quarry in Brandon, scheduled to shut down in
The Brandon quarry sends 15-20 truck loads a day
to the processing plants, while the Florence quarry
would be able to send up to 40 truck loads daily.
Rock from Middlebury, Brandon and Wallingford is
crushed and sent to the two main plants in Florence
for grinding and sale as industrial calcium carbonate.
The massive plant contributed $1,205,870 in taxes
to Pittsford in 1993 - 34 percent of the town's
OMYA geologist Donald Burns said the Florence
site was chosen among numerous properties because it
was secluded and only half a mile north of the
But the site included a deer wintering area and
state wildlife biologists testified at Act 250
hearings that they were concerned about the quarry's
The permit requires that OMYA manage an off-site
area for use by deer, and include in its management
plan a stand of evergreens that deer now use.
Mitchell said deer typically grow accustomed to
the company's quarrying operations and with 325 acres
at the site the deeryard should become "a non-issue."
Neighbor Thomas Pilcher said the best solution,
for several environmental reasons, would be to restore
the railroad tracks that used to run past the quarries
and the plant, rather than use trucks to haul the ore.
OMYA said during the hearings that a train could
not climb the 15 percent grade to get to the plant.
Pilcher also said the District 1 Environmental
Commission showed a bias in favor of OMYA by saying
neighbors' concerns about property values were
irrelevant to Act 250 while heeding OMYA's arguments
about proposed measures being too expensive.
Pilcher and Florence resident Andrew Snyder said
their main concern was truck traffic on Fire Hill
Road, a narrow, winding gravel road. The permit
states that OMYA should try to build a new access road
to the plant on its own property, but notes that
wetlands issues might be an obstacle.
Mitchell said of the new road, "We don't see any
real problem with that. It makes a lot of sense to
The permit requires OMYA to pay for improvements
to Fire Hill Road if it must be used as an access.
Pilcher said he was still making up his mind
whether to appeal OMYA's permit.
Noise was a concern for neighbors Dorothy Lizotte
and especially Larry Hazelton, who said his diary farm
would not be shielded the loud rock-crushing
"I'd like to appeal it," Hazelton said, "but to
get the right lawyer would cost big bucks."