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Salem, Kobyluck At Odds Again

Town Demands Lawsuit Be Dismissed; What This Means To 28 Industrial Drive Application

On Valentine’s Day, Salem Town Planner Mary Ann Chinatti’s instincts told her to take Rattlesnake Ledge Road on her way into work. Kobyluck Brothers LLC has a quarry there, although its special permit to continue work on the site expired in October 2010.

Driving by, Chinatti saw several machines excavating stone and several trucks hauling it away. She took pictures, then went back the next two days, and continued to shoot pictures of the work.

“They were going full-bore,” Chinatti said. “Full-bore.”

On behalf of the town, attorney Steven Byrne filed a motion to dismiss Kobyluck’s pending lawsuit against the town. Included were the pictures of the men working.

“The plaintiffs have conducted earth excavation activities at their quarry without the benefit of a special permit,” Byrne wrote. “From their actions, it is clear the plaintiffs believe they can ignore the zoning regulations, in particular cease and desist orders, and act above the law.”

In June 2010, Kobyluck’s special permit to continue quarrying on Rattlesnake Ledge was approved by Salem Planning and Zoning Commission, but with strict stipulations, including a $253,000 bond for restoration. The Waterford-based company sued the town, saying the stipulations were unfair and unjust.

Kobyluck did not agree to conditions, and in October 2010, its previous special permit for the work expired. However, Kobyluck LLC will continue to work on the property, owner Matt Kobyluck said.

“We are going to do what we have to do to run our business,” he said. “I have employees I have to pay, I have a mortgage on the property; I need to keep that going.”

Kobyluck and his lawyers have argued that since the new special permit was illegal, the previous permit should still be in existence.

“Generally when you appeal the conditions stay the way they were,” he said. “And in this case we had a permit before we appealed.”

The town of Salem is asking the court to dismiss Kobyluck’s claim.

Background In Salem

Kobyluck LLC has been working in Salem since 2002, quarrying and processing stone. Neighbors began to complain in 2005, saying the company was working more hours and using more equipment, namely stone processors, than what was agreed upon.

The town and Kobyluck could not agree on a settlement, sending the issue to court. In 2008, the court agreed with the town, ordering a cease and desist order.

Kobyluck followed the stipulations of the cease and desist order by removing extra equipment and restoring land it wasn’t supposed to disturb. It also paid damages to the town, and was allowed to restart its business for the time being.

Waterford Application

Last year, Kobyluck submitted an application to quarry and process stone at 28 Industrial Drive in Waterford. The application went to a public hearing, held by the Conservation Commission.

, many residents and both Waterford legislators, State Rep. Betsy Ritter and State Sen. Andrea Stillman, spoke against the application. They brought up Kobyluck’s issues in Salem, as well as its issues in Montville, where the Department of Environmental Protection and then-Attorney General Blumenthal fined it $100,000.

Kobyluck eventually , saying it needed more time to complete several questions asked by the Conservation Commission. The company, which employs around 100 people in the area, will reapply within the next couple of months, Matt Kobyluck said.

Previous problems in Montville and Salem will not play a large role in deciding if a quarry should allowed, Conservation Commission Chairman Gary Johnson and Town Planner Tom Wagner said. The focus of the commission and staff will be on the new application, they both said.

“I’m more worried about the exact usage and all the potential issues that come with this kind of facility,” Wagner said. “That is what I will be advising the commission on.”

Johnson echoed that thought.

“We have to look at every application on its own merits,” he said. “I don’t hold (their previous problems) against them.”

Kobyluck agreed.

“I don’t really think the (application in Waterford and what happened in Salem and Montville) have anything to do with each other,” he said.

Kobyluck added that the area he is looking to build in is zoned industrial, and has been zoned industrial for a long time. Industrial zones have to end somewhere, and normally they end at residential zones; but that doesn’t mean a company shouldn’t be allowed to build there, he said.

“A lot of people take it personal, and that’s unfortunate,” Kobyluck said. “Because it isn’t personal. It is about business.”

Kobyluck said he feels confident that the quarry will eventually be allowed.

“It will be a long, drawn-out process,” he said. “But I think it will eventually work out.”

Johnny Wtfd March 05, 2011 at 02:49 AM
Ignorant I am not sir or madame. But I hardly think that a quarry is going to stir up enough dust to be unhealthy. If that were the case, then there would be no quarries in America unless in the middle of a desert or woodlands. So no, I am not ignorant. Also, if the Town thought the dust was that harmful, then I hardly believe they would let the ongoing daily construction at the new high school continue. Drive by the high school at any hour of the school day, and you can see the dust cloud profoundly float across Boston Post Road. So, you either feel that only Kobyluck dust is unhealthy, or the town does not care about its high school students? Or, you can just confess you feel you may be inconvenienced by Kobyluck working HIS land. Am I right or am I right?? Or maybe you live in a bubble somewhere on Vauxhall Street and had no idea of the ongoing construction at the high school? Or maybe you feel the dust being kicked up at the high school is a "safer" dust due to its geographical location?? As far as the waterways, do you honestly drink this water or bath with this water?? B/c if you do you are missing out on the cleanest water in CT. I am talking about the water that comes from Lake Konomic. That water actually has to be "dirtied" prior to being distributed. So how does the "dirtied" water from Kobyluck affect you?? Quit crying b/c you are losing your backyard and get on with your life or move on to the "Quiet Corner" of the state where things are much more quaint for you.
Skellsangels March 05, 2011 at 03:09 AM
Waterford Citizen, I find it ironic that you are concerned with the "health" results of a quarry. Quarries are historically imprinted into the town. Do you remember what Millstone was before it was a nuke plant? If your concerned with health issues turn to millstone, which is increadibly safe, but more hazardous to your health then your "quarry dust". Typical "entitled" Waterford attitude. You told Mr. Truths to read up and get educated. Where do I read up on the study showing that a rock quarry posions its neighbors? "Quarry Worker" or "Quarry Neighbor" wasn't on the list of most dangerous jobs in the world. Maybe Kobyluck should mine the rock that your living under so you can get a fresh breath of reality. You want a health hazard? How about the dust cloud given off by the white trash convention known as the speedbowl.
Waterford Citizen March 05, 2011 at 01:55 PM
John117. Wow. I feel enlightened. You're right there is no link between nuclear power and health and safety. I would have thought that radiation would affect people's health, but boy you aaah so ssmaaaht. Safety Truths, you're right. I always thought laws protecting wetlands were there to protect, but they must be there for other reasons. You too ahh so ssmaaht.
Johnny Wtfd March 05, 2011 at 09:05 PM
So, because the high school project is only for 18 months, 16 hours a day its healthy in your eyes? But if it were 19 months or more in your backyard, thats when it gets unhealthy?? I have absolutely nothing to do with the construction business whatsoever. If the dust is soo unhealthy, why aren't the workers required to wear inhalation protection? I believe OSHA would regulate that if it were a serious issue. They would give a TWA (Time Weighted Average) that could be worked in that sort of environment and go on from there. Also, you mentioned laws regarding the environment on one foot, but then said they shouldn't have to be babysat on the other. So what is it? Don't the police enforce our laws of DUI and violence? So why wouldn't the town government and State DEP in charge of enforcing environmental laws go to the site and enforce them? As long as he follows the law this sort of project should be allowed to go on, regardless if it dirties your backyard or not.
JimBob March 05, 2011 at 10:52 PM
The problem in my mind, is that there is documented evidence of Kobyluck's business in action in neighbor towns. There's the Oxoboxo river case (see http://www.ct.gov/dep/cwp/view.asp?A=2712&Q=324776), and the Salem Planning and Zoning's struggles with the quarry they already have. See: http://www.salemct.gov/Pages/SalemCT_PlanMin/SALEM%20PLANNING%20AND%20ZONING%20COMMISSION%20May%2025%202010.pdf) and see any of the minutes from 2010, starting with this one: http://www.salemct.gov/Pages/SalemCT_PlanMin/PZC1st.pdf . In those minutes are are documented cases of blasting outside the agreed limits, excavating outside the agreed limits, more truck traffic than agreed limits, and operation at hours outside of agreed limits. I believe there's enough there to cast serious doubt on any promises by the applicant to abide by the law or to adhere to approved plans by any commission. So plans are as worthless as the paper they are printed on. While the "Not In My Backyard" arguments are valid - I'd like to see how vocal anyone becomes when a plan surfaces to place a 120+ dB noise and dust maker in their backyard - the bigger concern, in my book, is the history which has been established by this company and the sensitive environment on the proposed property and in its watershed. I'm all for letting a guy run his business, but it's unfortunately hard to trust it will be different this time.

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