Quarry activity threatens Chauncey Peak, CT as talks continue

Suzio York Hill Trap Rock Co is the focus of objections to its quarry near Meriden Connecticut that Chauncey Peak.

Chauncey Peak, pictured right, forms the eastern portion of Lamentation Mountain and abuts Meriden’s Giuffrida Park.

Much of the peak is privately owned by the Suzio company, which has allowed hikers access to the Mattabesett Trail running along the length of Chauncey Peak for years.

“All the focus at the quarry seems to be heading to Chauncey Peak,” said Charles King, a member of the “Save Giuffrida Park” Facebook group, who is photographing quarry activity from Mount Higby to the southeast.

“On a daily basis, I see the quarry grinding closer to the edge. What’s happening to the integrity of the ledge and rock outcropping? There is nothing being done to stabilize the ledges. The whole thing is scary.”

Hiking fans and preservationists have joined Save Giuffrida Park in hopes of gaining permanent protection for the peak.

Legal protection for land within 50 feet of the Chauncey Peak ridge top already exists in the form of a deed restriction. The Record-Journal on Wednesday located a 1963 deed in city land records transferring the peak property from a real estate partnership for Connecticut Light and Power Co. to Suzio York Hill Trap Rock Quarry Co.

The deed prohibits mining within 50 feet of Chauncey Peak. It states that “successors and assigns will not excavate any rock on the herein above conveyed land within fifty feet of the westerly boundary of the land herein conveyed (top of the Ridge of Chauncey’s Peak) in order to protect the reservoir on other land of the releasor herein.”

Leonardo Suzio, a principal with the mining company, said Wednesday he was aware of the deed restriction, but that it didn’t help clarify Chauncey Peak’s boundaries.

“I’m not sure,” Suzio said. “That deed is a very difficult document. It is our belief we are well outside that (50-foot) area.”

Phil Ashton, vice president of the Meriden Land Trust, is in talks with Leonardo and Ric Suzio, “who I know and respect immensely,” Ashton said. After reviewing the deed on Wednesday, Ashton agreed with Suzio that it didn’t do much to clarify the boundary.

“That’s the problem with these old deeds,” Ashton said. “If anything is to happen, we have to pin down a boundary. It’s very helpful, but it’s not the answer to a maiden’s prayer.”

Ashton wouldn’t detail the negotiations but has said previously he has to consider the needs of the land trust and the Suzios’ business needs. Another meeting is planned soon, he said.

The Suzio company has been quarrying the area for a century and is one of the largest suppliers of trap rock in the region. Ashton said he could not speak to King’s concerns about the integrity of the peak, should mining come too close, because the deed only dictates activity inside the 50-foot barrier.


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