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Total Recycled Material;Asphalt (ASPH) - 145154 TN

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Leaves (LEAF) - N/A TN

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Total Recycled Material;Asphalt (ASPH) - 145154 TN

Concrete (CONC) - 315746 TN

Clean Wood (WOOD) - 62782 TN

Brush & Yard Debris (BRSHYD) - 91157 TN

Leaves (LEAF) - N/A TN

Stumps (STMP) - 246735 TN

Total Recycled Material;Asphalt (ASPH) - 145154 TN

Concrete (CONC) - 315746 TN

Clean Wood (WOOD) - 62782 TN

Brush & Yard Debris (BRSHYD) - 91157 TN

Leaves (LEAF) - N/A TN

Stumps (STMP) - 246735 TN

Total Recycled Material;Asphalt (ASPH) - 145154 TN

Concrete (CONC) - 315746 TN

Clean Wood (WOOD) - 62782 TN

Brush & Yard Debris (BRSHYD) - 91157 TN

Leaves (LEAF) - N/A TN

Stumps (STMP) - 246735 TN

Total Recycled Material;Asphalt (ASPH) - 145154 TN

Concrete (CONC) - 315746 TN

Clean Wood (WOOD) - 62782 TN

Brush & Yard Debris (BRSHYD) - 91157 TN

Leaves (LEAF) - N/A TN

Stumps (STMP) - 246735 TN

Latest News Blog

Sparta quarry controversy reborn

Category: In The News - The New Jersey Herald
Posted by Ralph DeFazio, Sales Manager on 07/01 at 10:52 PM

SPARTA—It’s spring again, and everything’s in bloom—including the red-and-white “no quarry” and “fight the quarry” signs that have sprung up around the northern corner of Sparta in the area surrounding Lake Grinnell.

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The controversy about an application to mine the soil of 150 acres of field and forest will be unearthed again May 20, after a nearly two-year hiatus.

A nearly identical application drew outcry in 2007 from the residents of nearby Lake Grinnell, who said the application is only a moneymaking deal for a local company and has no public benefit. The application progressed through several contentious meetings at the township planning board two summers ago, but eventually resulted in the request lapsing without any decision.

Jarrod Cofrancesco, one of the owners of Grinnell Enterprises, said the company was looking to mine sand, gravel and aggregates that would allow it to collect its own raw materials for its nearby concrete paving stones operation. Currently, Grinnell purchases those raw materials from some of its competitors in the business, and the cost of those materials is rising, Cofrancesco said.

Objectors say the project is a violation of Sparta’s zoning laws. John Naisby, one of the lead organizers for the Concerned Citizens Against the Quarry, said the existing zoning laws only call for rural and residential homes, and not an industrial site. He said there are “back-door politics” propelling the application forward again.

“We’re not against everything in town, but we do believe we should stick with the law,” Naisby said. “As far as I’m concerned, this is all about money.”

Cofrancesco said Grinnell has taken steps to assuage the public’s fears about any environmental impact. The proposal includes incremental, step-by-step mining that would be remediated as it goes, and would maintain a buffer around the operation. Now, the application also boasts expanded consultants’ reports about the possible mining’s effects on groundwater, noise and endangered species.

John Ursin, the attorney for Concerned Citizens Against the Quarry, said the group is watching the ongoing application. He said the preliminary hearing on the proposal in April was not well attended because the group did not know about it. However, he said the group was going to be heard during the course of the proposal.

“The law is supposed to be (such that) we don’t let pure economics be the driver behind zoning,” Ursin said.

The property in question, formerly known as the Dobbins Farm, is a site that is alternately wooded and mostly-flat fields. Grinnell bought it in 2002. The site lies along a strip of sand- and gravel-rich deposits that straddle the line between the Highlands Act’s preservation and planning areas; the site targeted by the zoning change is on the planning area side of the line. However, critics of the mining application point to the adjacent Kozdeba site as to what the mining could mean to the Dobbins site. The Kozdeba site—grandfathered in for its mining operation before the Sparta zoning laws had even been written—has been substantively mined for the same materials, and lies mostly bare and significantly lower in elevation than the Dobbins site.

Cofrancesco said Grinnell wants to dig anywhere between 40 and 100 feet underground to unearth the pockets of the concrete makings, but would replace the ground and the growth as it goes, to limit the effects on the area.

Grinnell has been revamping its operations since late last year. It now recycles nearly all yard waste and construction debris into mulch, topsoil and other recyclable commodities, meaning, essentially, there is no waste once Grinnell sorts and reuses yard waste and other materials. However, there have been growing pains. The Department of Environmental Protection cited the company for three violations stemming from a March inspection. The violations included amassing piles of construction debris and containers of material for extended periods at the site. It was the first such violations the company has had since the Cofrancesco family took over the site operations in 1983, Cofrancesco said.

The May 20 planning board meeting will have a public discussion between the board members in which they discuss how, or whether, the application will go forward. The public will not weigh in—yet.

Both sides—enterprising developer and concerned citizens group—remain optimistic, but said they do expect much of the same from two years ago.

“It should be interesting,” Ursin said.

Article from The New Jersey Herald - 5/5/09 - http://www.njherald.com/story/news/06GRINNELL-web

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