Residents Respond To Proposed Gravel Pit
CHERRY CREEK — The Cherry Creek Town Board assembled recently in the town hall amid a standing room-only crowd of residents attending the regularly scheduled meeting to voice their disapproval concerning a proposed gravel pit on Kent Street in the hamlet.
Residents had become aware of the situation after signs of activity began to be seen at the site and a poster stating the particulars of the situation was distributed by Jessica Rungy, a Kent Street resident.
The poster stated: “The rumor is a fact! Gernatt intends to construct a gravel pit next to the First Baptist Church on Kent Street. The prime farmland around the church had been surveyed and tilled to conduct an archeological assessment, which is required before a mining permit can be issued. All of that tilled land will be included in the mining permit, and possibly the forestland beyond. An access road to Kent Street is obvious.”
“A less obvious existing right-of-way for access to Main Street is flagged in the trees on Main Street between the VFW and the big white and blue house. Drive over and check it out.Look across the field next time you’re at the playground. Imagine a gravel pit next to the church. If you don’t like that imaginary picture, don’t let it become a real picture! Come to the town board meeting and say no! No gravel pit. No machinery. No erosion or dust. No eyesore. No loss of farmland. No hauling trucks or industrial traffic. No habitat or wildlife disturbance. No jeopardizing the new village well or private wells. No disruption to our small town quality of life. Please take the time to come and say at least that one word. A few minutes from each of us can stop a five-year mining permit with unlimited renewals!”
“Garnett” refers to the Gernatt Family of companies including but not limited to: Gernatt Asphalt Products Inc., Dan Gernatt Gravel Products, Inc. and Country Side Sand and Gravel Inc., with 11 locations in the Western New York area, according to the company’s website.
William Young, Cherry Creek town supervisor, said to the gathered residents that neither he nor the Cherry Creek Town Board had received any correspondence from either Gernatt or the Department of Conservation.
According to David Crossley, Cherry Creek code enforcement officer, “Gernatt is in the process of talking to the DEC. No request for a permit has been made yet. Approval, or not, is up to the DEC.”
Rungy quoted Lucas Mahoney of the DEC as stating the granting of permits usually comes down to town approval, and the town can say yes or no.
Young said whether the town would approve or not would depend upon the zoning laws, which are not in existence yet but are in the process of being written following the dissolution of the village of Cherry Creek. Resident Lonnie Reynolds disputed Young’s statement, saying his special occasion site, The Cherry Glen, is being governed by zoning laws that Young said do not exist, and that the proposed gravel pit would border his site on two sides.
John Johnson of Kent Street said the gravel pit would cause a decrease in property values, concerning to him as he plans to retire in a few years, and will want to sell his home in order to relocate.
Bethany Smock of Cherry Creek voiced her concerns about air, water and soil pollution, carcinogens, and damage to a tarred and chipped road intended for light traffic.
The residents stressed to the board members that the board members are stewards of the town and that they need to be proactive regarding this issue.
The board encouraged the residents to contact the DEC directly to voice their concerns.
Rungy suggested a moratorium on the issuance of special use permits, to which Young requested further conversation with her, and an email to that effect. He then assured residents that, “Now we have an action plan.”
The board then went into executive session.