Eddington voters put moratorium on quarries

Posted April 08, 2014, at 9:29 p.m.

EDDINGTON, Maine — Residents overwhelmingly approved a 180-day moratorium on quarries during a special town meeting Tuesday night at Eddington School.

Scheduled to start at 6:30 p.m., the meeting did not get underway until shortly after 7 p.m. because an estimated 400 residents turned out, Town Manager Russell Smith said after the meeting.

“It was a full house,” Smith said. “I’ve never seen that many people [at a town meeting].”

During the more than 1½-hour meeting, voters rejected an amendment that would have removed a retroactivity clause that proponents of a quarry proposed by Hampden-based Hughes Bros. allege is illegal.

Smith said that 264 voters wanted the moratorium to be retroactive while 66 voters did not.

The moratorium itself was approved in a 220-80 vote, he said.

The six-month delay will provide local planners time to create rules regarding the operation of quarries, town leaders have said.

Residents have voiced concerns about safety, noise and dust associated with Hughes’ project. Hughes Bros. seeks to operate a ledge quarry on Fox Hill that would start out as a 5-acre operation and possibly grow to 20 acres.

The company’s first application, for a 10-acre quarry, was denied by the Eddington Planning Board in October after a two-hour review.

Members of the town’s planning board last Thursday asked the Hampden contractor for an independent sound study for the project.

The project is on the planning board’s agenda for the April 10 meeting.

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