Do We Need Bigger Mines in Averill Park?
Rifenburg Construction has submitted a sketch plan to the Sand Lake Town Board requesting that 70 acres of land be rezoned from residential and agricultural to natural resources extraction to that it can be mined.
While the sketch plan states that “Rifenburg does not plan to excavate below (bedrock)”, there is no language to prevent them from doing so. Once the gravel is depleted, they will face the choice of spending money to make the land nice again for reclamation, or earning more money by mining the already exposed bedrock. As a business, they will be compelled to do the latter. Mining the bedrock creates potentially substantial risks to the wells of the dozens of homes around the mining area. If our residents can no longer get potable water from their wells, home values will plumet for all those affected and for many not affected directly, simply by association.
Our Town Board is duly elected by our residents to manage our town (and it’s evolution) in the best interest of the town as a whole.
The sketch plan was submitted by 4 parties, all of whom would benefit financially if it were approved.
There are dozens of residents who would be negatively impacted to varying degrees by this plan. There are over 250 bona fide town residents who have signed a petition that urges the Town Board to deny this application. The combined assessed value of their homes is more than $125 Million, which is many times the combined assessed value of the land owned by the 4 parties asking for this land to be rezoned.
If our Town Board is truly working in the best interest of the town as a whole, they have no choice but to deny this application. I hope and pray that they do, and that there is no other financial incentive working against the good of the town as a whole.
Adam Stewart, Averill Park