By CAROLINE MURRAY
MAYFIELD -- At a town meeting Thursday, the board introduced the idea of adopting a state law in regard to soil mining and special use permits.
Code enforcement officer Michael Stewart said the town's zoning law does not allow for any type of soil mining and recently, a Broadalbin resident inquired about mining a piece of land he owns off of Route 30.
"That is what kind of prompted it," Stewart said. "You don't want to give somebody the opportunity to do it without us reviewing it."
According to Local Law No. 2, the state allows excavations for the purpose of soil mining such as "gravel pits, quarrying or any subsoil removal." In addition to adopting the law, the town is also looking to add a new provision about obtaining a special use permit before carrying out such a project.
"Basically the law sets up the standards that you have to meet if you wanted to do soil mining ... but subject to a special use permit," Stewart said.
He said the Broadalbin resident recently asked about mining his property, which is adjacent to the town's former landfill.
Stewart said the resident would have to approach the planning board and present an application which includes a detailed site and excavation plan.
He said it does not allow for cement, asphalt or chemical processing of the product that is mined.
The individual would also have to create a berm around the site, to lessen the amount of dirt and noise caused by the mining.
Additionally, the individual would have to obtain a permit from the state's Department of Environmental Conservation in order to comply with the law, Stewart said.
"The state process is very detailed, and this kind of mimics the state's process," Stewart said.
He said soil mining does not necessarily mean an individual would be able to "blast" the land, but could, if the planning board approves.
"That is a common misconception. For the most part they have a hill and they dig sand and gravel," Stewart said.
He said before allowing a soil mining project, the town would hold a public hearing for residents to voice their concerns or questions.
He said residents could be concerned about the noise and dust levels as well as the hours of operation.
"And potentially the planning board could look at it and say 'no we are not going to issue you a permit because we don't think you could address all these issues,'" Stewart said.
He said soil mining is especially beneficial to an individual working on construction, because they could use the gravel for their building project.
The town's zoning commission is also in the midst of updating and reconfiguring their zoning laws.
Town attorney Carmel Greco said the planning board recommended adding the section about soil mining and special use permits because the state law does not include obtaining a special use permit to mine the soil.
He said the town drew up a new article to add to the state's already existing law.
A public hearing will be held on adopting the law, at the town's next meeting July 17.