Grandfather rights questioned at Freshwater Stone, Main quarry

Harold MacQuinn has withdrawn its appeal of an order to stop work at its quarry in the village of Hall Quarry, Mount Desert, Maine, reports Mount Desert Islander.

The town’s Zoning Board of Appeals was to have held a public hearing on the appeal Tuesday evening.

Code Enforcement Officer Kim Keene on Sept 2 issued an order to MacQuinn to “immediately cease any and all quarrying activities.”

She issued the order after Freshwater Stone, which leases the quarry from MacQuinn, resumed granite extraction this summer. That drew renewed complaints from nearby residents who argue that quarrying is illegal without a license.

Jeff Gammelin, president, Freshwater, said the quarry has been worked on and off for decades so its operation is “grandfathered” and he has the right to continue cutting and removing stone.

In 2013, Mount Desert voters adopted an ordinance banning new quarrying or mineral extraction activities in all zoning districts. But the ordinance allows “existing” quarrying operations that qualify for grandfathered status to continue, provided they obtain a license from the town.

MacQuinn’s application for a license, submitted two years ago, is still pending before the town’s Planning Board.

MacQuinn’s attorney, Ed Bearor, informed Keene in a Nov. 9 email and a letter dated Nov. 10 that his client had decided not to contest her stop-work order.

“In withdrawing this appeal, we are not signaling any agreement whatsoever with your determination, but rather, as a matter of economy, it makes more sense that the whole thing be dealt with following the Planning Board’s decision on the pending application,” Bearor said in his letter to Keene.

Keene said Tuesday that no date has been set for the resumption of the Planning Board’s consideration of the quarrying license application.

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