Katherine Gibson knows the frustration of having a long-dormant quarry site suddenly become active again. She has lived in her two-story single-family home on Alton Carolina Road since 1970, and has seen her property suffer damage, been disrupted by blasting, and witnessed changes in air quality outside her home. “I’m not the one most affected and I can tell you personally that the blasting has knocked pictures off my walls, and I have watched the dust roll across the treetops,” Gibson shared with the Charlestown Town Council this week. A neighbor of hers even had cracks in the foundation due to the quarry activity.
Gibson expressed her support for a request by council members to seek changes through state legislation to require two weeks notice before any blasting to any properties within 500 feet of the property line where blasting takes place. “Any measure to give us more of a say in what is going on in our neighborhoods is something I will support,” she said.
Before the town can take any action, however, they will need legislators to give more serious thought to enacting legislation that shifts the balance of power away from quarry operators and back into the hands of local communities. Council members passed two resolutions this week calling on action from the state to better regulate and monitor quarry activity. The resolutions, which were presented by councilor Bonnie Van Slyke and passed unanimously, take aim at addressing combinations of noise pollution, air pollution, and nuisance abatement.
Marc Renaghan, a Klondike Road resident, shared his frustration after he woke one day following years of silence to a full operation on the site just north of his house. “I’m surprised that after such lack of activity, they were able to come in without any notice to anyone and just resume like they’d never left,” he said. “I’m not opposed to activity if it includes proper reclamation and off-site processing, but needs to be done with correct and proper oversight from town or state.”
Any action taken by the state would prove beneficial in helping provide relief to those impacted by quarry operations in town.