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Mine application starts off on a slippery slope

AMENIA — Another mining operation is planned for Amenia, this time in the residential zoning section of South Amenia along the Webatuck Creek.The property, owned by Kent Hollow, Inc., contained a small mine in the 1970s and 1980s, but the permit for that mine was intentionally left to expire in 1989.The company submitted an application for a permit renewal to the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), but did not submit any applications to the town of Amenia.The town was first alerted about the application for the permit renewal when the DEC sent a Lead Agency Coordination Request to town Supervisor Wayne Euvrard and Planning Board Chairman Bill Flood.In the application submitted to the DEC, the applicant stated that mining is allowed on the property and that the operation would not require a permit from the town of Amenia.According to Amenia’s local laws, mining operations are only permitted in the Soil Mining Overlay (SMO) districts and all new mining operations and expansions of existing operations require a special use permit from the Town Board.The Kent Hollow property is not located in the SMO; it is located in an area zoned for residential use.Since the property falls outside of the SMO, it is not eligible for a special use permit unless the town zoning is amended, which the town has made clear that it is not willing to do.Attorney to the Town Michael Hayes sent a four-page letter to the DEC to explain the problems with the Kent Hollow application for a mining permit renewal.“With the limited opportunity that the town has received to review the potential impacts of this proposed soil mining operation to date, the town has already identified areas of concerns regarding the following potentially significant adverse environmental impacts: groundwater impacts; surface and storm water impacts; impacts on the aquifer, wetland and watercourse impacts, including … Webatuck creek and the Tenmile River watershed; traffic impacts; air quality impacts; visual impacts; noise impacts; and impacts on threatened or endangered plant or animal life,” states the letter.Hayes also identified other problems with the application to the DEC, including the proposed plans to operate less than 500 feet from a residence.During the Town Board meeting held on Thursday, Sept. 15, South Amenia resident Mark Doyle recommended that the board reject the Kent Hollow mining project as soon as possible because the operation does not meet the town’s criteria and it is fair to warn the Kent Hollow applicants that the town is not interested in changing the zoning to allow for the new mining operation.

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