Shepard Settlement residents feel shafted
Residents of Shepard Settlement reacted in anger on Thursday night at the vote to direct the Skaneateles town attorney to rewrite the local law.
The entire overlay-mining district will be reduced under the new law but additional mining sites will be permitted. Supervisor Phil Tierney and councilor Ellen Kulik voted against the proposal. It passed with the majority vote of councilors Dave Laxton, Ted Astemborski and Barbara Spain.
The controversial proposal on the agenda brought a large number of concerned residents pouring into the town hall where it was standing room only. There has been a moratorium on new mining in the area since June 15, 2006. It was extended once and is now due to expire on May 6.
In a formal statement, town supervisor Phil Tierney said, "[We need] to correct a mistake which represents bad law and sends the wrong message that we don't want housing in this part of town."
Laxton made the motion to move forward with the proposal. It was seconded by Astemborski.
Spain said, "We have received a lot of mail from residents in Shepard Settlement and I have read it all. It is an important and complex issue and I have given it a lot of thought. It is not something I take lightly."
One resident of the Settlement, Bob Sykes, expressed disappointment with the councils' action.
"I think we were let down," he said. "This will affect future growth and hurt residents who are there. It is incompatible to have a mine of that size in a residential area the size of Shepard Settlement."
All RF-zoned land north of Old Seneca Turnpike, within the town boundary, has been designated for mining for many years. Bucks Mining operations commenced in 1996 with a review slated every five years.