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Final arguments given in Cemento hearing

The decision to allow a new mine in Shepard Settlement or not is now in the hands of the Skaneateles Town Board.

The board held it's fourth, and final, portion of a public hearing on Wednesday March 11 at the Skaneateles Fire Department. Board members heard additional testimony from Paul Sheneman, president of PLS Engineering in Tully, and Michael Vitale Jr., owner of Vitale and Robinson Concrete and the man behind the mining. The hearing was also held in order for the board to hear rebuttal from Cemento's attorney Andrew Leja.

Before Sheneman's and Vitale's testimony, though, Supervisor Phil Tierney and the board took care of matters held over from the last hearing, which included maps of homes in Shepard Settlement that the neighborhood association's attorney Douglas Zamelis had entered for the record.

Those maps Zamelis refined and proposed to replace other exhibits with. The board omitted the exhibits and entered them into the record.

Leja said his rebuttal was going to be a three-part presentation with included testimony from Sheneman and Vitale and then his own rebuttal. Sheneman was introduced as an expert witness with experience in hydrogeology and the mining application process.

Sheneman said he was involved with the test drilling at the mining site, which shows where the water table is and how far beneath the surface it begins.

To illustrate for the board and large group of people from the community how wells are, or are not, effected by sand and gravel mining, Sheneman drew a picture to show where the water source for many wells comes from.

According to him, the water is beneath a shale layer in the ground, which is under where all digging takes place. To get to water for wells, the well casing is punched through the shale and the average depth of the wells before hitting limestone was 100 feet. Water information shows that well water is coming from beneath the shale, Sheneman said.

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