There will be no development at three area quarries for at least six months. Town councilors unanimously passed a moratorium against such development after an Aug. 27 public hearing.
This hearing was a continuation of a long, contentious Aug. 13 public hearing, at which time councilors tabled the idea for a six-month moratorium on the quarries in the hamlet of Jamesville. This time, the meeting lasted less than 15 minutes.
Now that the town adopted the local law, there can be no new applications, building or activity within the designated lots for a period of six months. If the zoning code update takes longer than six months, then the moratorium can be extended for an additional half year.
"I couldn't be more pleased," said Elizabeth Curley, Jamesville resident and member of the Jamesville Positive Action Committee (JAM-PAC). "I think it's a really important thing to really explore this option of re-zoning for the betterment of the area."
The purpose of the moratorium is to study the most appropriate land use and zoning for those lands being affected, said Dick Robb, planning and zoning commissioner. Those lands include part of the north and south quarries within Hanson Quarries, as well as the Alpha Jamesville site where Empire Synfuels LLC proposed a coal gasification plant earlier this year.
The proposed facility at the former Alpha-Portland cement plant, if built, would ship about 10,000 tons of coal via train from West Virginia or Pennsylvania to Jamesville daily, where it would be turned into natural gas for businesses and domestic use.
George Ryan, political educator with the Manlius Greenspace Coalition (MGC) said the main driving force of the moratorium in DeWitt is the notorious proposed plant.
"That's something that's not going to just affect DeWitt," Ryan said. "That's going to affect people all around here. It's going to affect everybody that's on that train ride from Pennsylvania that has all this coal."