Chester cites Julians for quarry violations

By Shawn Cunningham
© 2024 Telegraph Publishing LLC

Zoning Administrator Preston Bristow issued the notice on Jan. 25 Telegraph file photo

Zoning Administrator Preston Bristow issued the notice on Jan. 25Telegraph file photo

After years of complaints and a recent conditional use application that dragged on but eventually went nowhere, the Town of Chester has cited the operator of three quarries for five violations and is demanding that a number of steps be taken immediately.

On Jan. 17, Julian Materials withdrew its amended application for a conditional use permit in its attempt to cure violations in its operation of those three quarries, all located in Gassetts. At a Chester Development Review Board meeting on Jan. 22, Zoning Administrator Preston Bristow said he would “file a notice of violation as swiftly as I can.”

Three days later, on Jan. 25, Bristow sent a the Notice of Violation to the Julian company and its attorney, Mark Hall of Paul Frank + Collins of Burlington. The violations are:

  1. Change and expansion of a use without a permit
  2. Generation of noise at levels or frequencies which represent a repeated disturbance to others
  3. Surface water pollution
  4. Construction or enlargement of a building or structure without a permit
  5. Placing fill and constructing buildings in regulatory Special Flood Hazard Areas without a permit

The notice gives the Julians seven days to:

  1. remove the stone cutting equipment from the Chandler Road Quarry,
  2. stop operating the three quarries as an integrated whole,
  3. stop using hydraulic hammers,
  4. keep noise below 70 db at the quarry’s property lines,
  5. stop discharging pollutants into the Dean Brook
  6. remove unpermitted buildings including additions to a shed at Chandler and remove a mobile home
  7. remove structures put in the Special Flood Hazard Areas
  8. stop using the South quarry for operations that exceed its permits
  9. stop quarrying at the North quarry
Mike LeClair said Gassets residents "want fair treatment" <small>Telegraph file photo

Mike LeClair said Gassets residents “want fair treatment” Telegraph file photo

If the company fails to do these within seven days, the town can assess a $200 fine for each violation, each day. So five violations could result in a $1,000 fine each day. There is also a clause that says defaulting on payment doubles the amount to be paid. The notice also says it may be necessary to bring the town attorney into the fray to institute enforcement, including an injunction.

The company may appeal the notice to the Chester Development Review Board, But the appeal must be done within 15 days of the notice and a failure to appeal in time will “render this notice of violation the final decision on the violations addressed” in the notice.

In a memo regarding enforcement actions, town attorney Jim Carroll noted that the process is “often lengthy” and “expensive.” Gassetts residents had an answer for that at the Dec. 11, 2023 DRB hearing.

“I know it’s expensive to have this board enforce the law, the rules and regulations … and it’s going to cost the taxpayers some money, but I want you to know, these are taxpayers,” said Gassetts resident Mike LeClair pointing to the audience. “We live in Gassetts, we want fair treatment.”

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