Action on Bethel Gravel Pit Plan Put Off Until at Least June
Bethel — Property abutters of a proposed gravel pit shed tears at last night’s Development Review Board meeting, contending they would be forced to move if the pit was approved.
Board members postponed any further action until their June 11 meeting, saying the application submitted by Raymond and Cheryl Harvey, of Rochester, was incomplete and needed more specifics related to the proposed 125-acre gravel pit.
Those opposed to the pit, which would stretch along the east side of Route 107 past Tozier’s Restaurant to the Stockbridge line, said the industrial site would bring noise and would be too much to bear for a town that is still recovering from Tropical Storm Irene’s flooding.
“It’s nothing personal, it’s the quality of life,” said abutter Jim Clancy. “The noise — that was the most frustrating part (of the Irene rebuild).”
Karyn Hartland, at the meeting with her husband, Jon, agreed.
“Because of the valley and the mountains, the noise ricochets and it magnifies. When I went outside I had ear plugs in, and I don’t want to live that way,” she said, adding that she was concerned about the devaluation of property and truck traffic, as well.
Jon Hartland, who has spearheaded a petition in opposition to the pit, said at the beginning of last night’s meeting he had 29 signatures.
“We started it to state the position of not just ourselves (he and his wife), but of the community and to further emphasize our collective action to the review board and to make a stronger statement,” Hartland said.
The Harveys , owners of Harvey’s Plumbing and Excavating in Rochester, proposed the pit and sought conditional use approval from the Development Review Board. The Harveys said they intend to have missing information, such as a reclamation and site plan, prepared by the June meeting.
“We are not looking to jump on anything real quick,” Cheryl Harvey said. “Because we know we have a lot of people to answer to.”
If the Harveys win approval from the town, they would still be subject to review under the state’s Act 250 land use law, a process that could take years.
Cheryl Harvey said she was sympathetic to what the Bethel community recently went through with Irene, but didn’t specify whether or not that would deter the couple from pursuing the gravel pit.
“That flood raised hell,” she said. “We understand what they just went through. We lost a piece of land too.”
Abutter Jacque Lavey said her blood pressure went through the roof when she got the notice in the mail about the proposed pit. She said the construction noise of the past year — much like the gravel pit would produce, she said — was untolerable.
“I was looking forward to sitting on my side lawn this summer. It’s going to totally ruin my life,” Lavey, who recently retired, said. “If you are really going to do this give me a heads up because I will probably just get out. I am just praying that living in a nice little town like Bethel, that hopefully it won’t happen.”
Jordan Cuddemi can be reached at email@example.com.