The town of Sullivan held a public hearing Dec. 3 on proposed Local Law No. 7 for the year 2008. Those on both sides of a proposed mining business on Quarry Road showed up in force for the proceedings.
Special counsel for the quarry proceedings, attorney Scott Chatfield, gave an overview of the proposed legislation before the floor was opened up to the public.
"The problem the town board discovered was that under the 1979 regulations, there is no provision in the town that allow for mining or quarrying to exist," Chatfield said of the revised law that lays out special use permit standards.
In order for a special use permit to be issued, there has to be something in the code that delegates authority to the board to issue or not issue that permit.
"This was missing from the code," Chatfield said.
According to Chatfield, the law proposed last year that was repealed in Chenango County Court in July, took existing mines and quarry operations -- such as Callanan and Crouse -- and quarry operations makes them permissible. He said this law does not change the existing uses.
The new law also creates new definitions for the terms mineral, mineral resource use, mining, mining and quarrying use and quarrying, mimicking state Department of Environmental Conservation law definitions, Chatfield said.
"It also establishes the standards for permits in either zone," Chatfield said. "It amends the zoning schedule notes in the zoning code to add provision 11: Any use not specifically permitted is prohibited. I don't think it is necessary legally."
Chatfield explained that he understood farmers were very concerned with the proposed law's impact on agricultural activities. He said the DEC has its own regulations, regardless of what might be in place at the town.
"If you plan to mine, move or sell more than 1,000 tons of material a year, then under DEC regulations, you need DEC permit," Chatfield said. "The town has nothing to do with that; it's state law."