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Cheektowaga Citizen's Coalition petitions others to join in the fight against Buffalo Crushed Stone’s expansion plans
By Lee Chowaniec
Sep 29, 2006, 01:41
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John C. Stonefield, President of the Cheektowaga Citizen's Coalition is petitioning the Sierra Club, other organizations and residents to join the fight against Buffalo Crushed Stone’s expansion plans for their rock crushing facility located at 500 Como Park Blvd., Cheektowaga, N.Y.

The Cheektowaga community is in constant conflict with Buffalo Crushed Stones mining and Asphalt operations. Steven Detwiler, of Orchard Park, owns the stone crushing operation. He is currently suing the town of Cheektowaga regarding the zoning of its property to the West. Mr. Detwiler believes that the property to the West can be mined (while not included in the original zoning), under a Grandfather clause.)

Buffalo Crushed Stone wants to mine another 39 acres at its Cheektowaga quarry, extending the life of the limestone mine another 20 years. The quarry operation has been in existance for 76 years.

The 219-acre quarry off Como Park Boulevard wants to mine the isthmus, a 39-acre parcel that separates its east basin from its west basin. The isthmus holds the quarry's rock crushing and asphalt plants. The rock crushing plants would be relocated to a previously mined area 150 feet deep in the east basin. The two asphalt or blacktop plants would be moved to about five acres on the east side of the property north of Indian Road.

This battle has been going on since 1998, fought primarily by the Depew / Cheektowaga Taxpayers Association, Inc. A scheduled Sept 22 court hearing was cancelled to October 27, 2006.

Buffalo Crushed Stone has sued the Town of Cheektowaga for not approving their expansion plans for zoning code reasons. The CCC points out that the facility is located in a beautiful rural like setting which includes a Hospice, the Apple Tree Business Park, Resurrection Church and Elementary school, the Hill Top Daycare Center, a Ukrainian Church, Stiglmeier Park, the Reinstien Nature Preserve, along with hundred’s of houses.

The CCC asserts that any expansion of Buffalo Crushed Stone Inc. and its Asphalt Plants in a highly residential area is an outrage, especially considering there are well over a thousand complaints from area residents regarding the facility and operations.

The CCC believes there are many reasons in which to uphold the Town of Cheektowaga’s Zoning Laws and they include the following:

* The Benzene resulting from the Asphalt production creates odors that are linked to Leukemia.

* Traffic will substantially increase from the huge trucks, degrading air quality and causing more breathing related illnesses in children from the Diesel fumes and dust.

* Blasting pollutes the air with Crystalline Silica, a dust that is linked to autoimmune diseases and various cancers. This is very harmful to the young children already suffering from Asthma and cause further lung damage.

* The expansion plan decrease property values: No one wants to live near a quarry or deal with increased truck traffic and air pollution. As the desirability of the area decreases so will property values.

* When considering visual impacts, the quarry site will be visible from many homes surrounding the area. Many residents moved here because of the beauty of the area. The expansion of the quarry will destroy this forever.

* Ground water contamination: The proposed area will be below the ground water table. It will spread the chemicals from the unlined toxic landfills faster into well water and the Cayuga Creek.

* Surface water: In addition to carrying residue from explosives, spilled fuel, and other chemicals will end up in Cayuga Creek. Also there will be more releases of the Neurotoxin Hydrogen Sulfide gas (rotten egg) odors due to the pumping action of Buffalo Crushed Stone Inc. to keep the mine dry. Extended low-level exposure can deaden a person’s sense of smell, cause breathing problems, nausessness, dizziness, and gastrointestinal problems.

* Noise: Limestone mining involves a very loud operation. The blasting necessary to loosen rock can be heard for miles around. Even more homeowners than now will hear the rock crushers. Local residents around the mines can testify how the sound and vibrations can travel great distances. This increased noise will also effect wildlife and continue to drive them into our backyards.

* Vibration: The enormous explosions associated with the increased mining will further crack home foundations and will affect the monitoring wells on and surrounding the toxic landfills and damage them permanently.

* People living close to the expansion will often find dishes and other objects on the floor. They will notice cracks developing in the walls and ceilings. The blasting will rattle brickwork and foundations even more than compared to the current blasting that is at a depth of 150 to 175 feet.

* Dangerous Precedents: Once an area is being furthered mined, it will no longer be pristine. Any expansion will penetrate local zoning, and other businesses will follow close behind.

* Scale up: as the mine grows, residents will quickly lose control if expansion gets under way. There will be little to prevent the quarry from vastly expanding the project, just as the current mine has gobbled up the buildings and homes surrounding it.

* Many of the streets along Como Park Blvd. were once longer and ran well into the area that is currently being mined. This would bring added operations, more processing on site, and sending trucks in new directions over previously undisclosed routes. This is not idle speculation - the quarry has repeatedly violated terms of its permits and they will continue unchecked as they have been up to now., resulting in a poorer quality of life for residents.

* Most importantly, the health of the most vulnerable, the innocent children of the surrounding neighborhood, is at stake. There already has been enough irreversible damage done to the developing immune system for the sake of cheap Limestone, Asphalt production, along with the abnormal changes caused to human cells from the electromagnetic radiation released from the large cell tower located on the site.

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