Bethel Gravel Pit Plan Kicks Up Dust
Bethel — A Vermont couple who own and operate a gravel pit in Stockbridge want to dig another pit for their business along the east side of Route 107 in Bethel.
The proposed 125-acre gravel and rock extraction and processing pit isn’t going over well with abutters though, who cite noise and traffic as peak concerns.
“It’s a tight valley and the sound bounces around a lot,” said Jon Hartland, whose property sits 250 feet from the proposed location. He cited past experiences, such as construction noise during the rebuilding of Route 107 after Tropical Storm Irene, as reason enough to stop the project.
Spearheaded by Hartland, more than 15 neighboring property owners met Sunday to “figure out how we wanted to pursue things,” Hartland said. The group formalized their thoughts and will speak at tonight’s Development Review Board meeting at the town manager’s office in Bethel at 7.
On the agenda is Raymond and Cheryl Harvey’s request for Conditional Use Approval of the multi-acre property — which must be obtained for use within the specified zoning districts of the Bethel Zoning Ordinance. The board must vote in favor for the Harveys to move forward with the project.
“No permit can be issued unless the Bethel Development Review Board grants Conditional Use Approval,” Town Manager and Zoning Administer Delbert Cloud wrote on the Harveys’ Zoning Permit Application, which was denied due to a technicality.
Although Cheryl Harvey said she’d rather withhold comment until after the meeting, she said, “We have given them (the town) information and we’ll go from there.”
The Harveys’ wrote to Cloud and the review board last month and said their gravel business needed to replenish its resources, which led them to explore the possibility of opening another gravel pit. The proposed spot is located past Tozier’s Restaurant to the Stockbridge line, according to the permit application.
“The recovery from Irene depleted a huge amount of our current pit and we need to find another source of material for our earth contracting business and customers,” the couple wrote.
The Harveys’ wrote that the gravel pit would not only supply their business, but also sell materials to town, state, federal and private contractors — with peak operation stretching from May to October. Such machinery as hydraulic hammers, excavators and dozers would be used and the application stated more than 15 trucks weighing up to 69,000 pounds, loaded, would haul in and out of the pit daily.
The heavy machinery and increased truck traffic is keeping nearby residents on their toes.
Celeste Gilbert, a six-year property abutter who recently sold her home in September, said she will attend tonight’s meeting to stand up for her neighbors and “the area that’s near and dear to her heart.”
“It was horrendous during the Irene rebuild, so I felt strongly about making sure the quarry doesn’t go in there and effect our old neighbors,” Gilbert said. “Every little sound echoes right off that mountain.”
Jordan Cuddemi can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.