Schoharie may act on quarry


By David Avitabile

Schoharie town board members are prepared to make a decision this month on whether to accept a proposed settlement with Cobleskill Stone Products on a quarry expansion.
Town board members held a special meeting on July 25 and received an update from the town's land-use attorney and spoke about the next steps in the process, according to Councilman Alan Tavenner. Those discussions were in executive session.
It is very likely that a decision on whether or not to accept the settlement will be made this month, he added.
"I think we need to before the end of August."
Board members, he explained need to make a decision this month since the next trial date with CSP on land-use issues, is scheduled to begin in the end of October.
If the decision is delayed until next month, the town's lawyers may not have time to properly prepare for the trial.
The timing of the trial will "force our hand to make a decision in August," he added.
A decision will either be made at the town's next regular meeting on Wednesday, August 10, or at a special meeting, he said.
Supervisor Chris Tague, who works for CSP, has excused himself from the discussions and any decision, and Councilman Tavenner has been leading the discussions.
If board members do not accept a settlement, it is likely that both sides will head to the October trial.
Board members turned down a motion by Councilman Matt Brisley to withdraw from the settlement in June. He made the same motion in July, but there was no second to the motion and it was not voted upon.
Controversial to many residents, the settlement would end 11 years of legal wrangling that began when CSP officials announced plans to expand their quarry near Rickard Hill Road.
In April, more than 25 people spoke against the settlement that would allow CSP to expand its mining area in exchange for ending future legal battles with the town.
The ongoing legal battles have cost the town more than $500,000 in legal fees since 2005.
Besides ending the legal battle, the settlement would also end the town's opposition to expanding the mining area near Rickard Hill Road in exchange for several concessions by CSP, including a smaller expansion and a larger buffer area.
Settlement opponents have blasted these concessions, stating that a few are already required by the state or are not very beneficial for the town.
The proposed settlement notes that CSP filed plans in 2014 to downsize the quarry expansion by providing a 600-foot buffer from Warner Hill Road. Those plans are currently under review by the state.