Cemento permit granted in 3-2 vote

Residents in Sheppard Settlement received a big upset Thursday evening the Skaneateles Town Board voted to allow Cemento LLC to mine in the hamlet. The vote came down to a 3-2 margin.

The board met for the third time in as many weeks to make its decision on Cemento's permit application for a mine in Sheppard Settlement. With a motion to approve a resolution permitting the mine on the table from April 24, Councilman Jim Greenfield made another motion to discuss or vote on the resolution. Councilman Dave Laxton seconded the motion.

"Given our discussion last week, I'm not sure there is a need for anymore discussion, but I don't want to cut any board member off. Is there any discussion? If not, Janet [Aaron, town clerk], poll the board," Supervisor Phil Tierney said.

The only board member to speak prior to the vote was Councilwoman Ellen Kulik.

"I know that this has been a really difficult time for everybody and it's been a long process, and so I think at least in some sense it will be good that it's over," Kulik said. "But, in my heart I have said that I have always empathized with the neighbors, and I believe that the major scale mine is inconsistent with their neighborhood."

However, she went on to say that the town is unfortunately confined to the special permit process and she believes the applicant met the criteria set forth by the town.

"My heart goes out to the neighbors -- and I just have hope that Cemento will be a good neighbor and that we'll stay involved with the process with the DEC as the permitting goes forward if this special permit is granted. So, that's all I wanted to say," Kulik said.

Without any further discussion, Aaron polled the board, beginning with Kulik who voted, saying, "regrettably, yes." Greenfield and Laxton also voted in favor of the permit. Tierney and Councilwoman Nancy Murray voted against.

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