Hillsborough planners approve resolution for rock quarry

×

The Hillsborough Township Planning Board approved a resolution at a November board meeting to approve a resolution that considered site plans for the construction of a new facility at a Route 601 rock quarry.

The decision of approval on the resolution came from the Hillsborough planners at a Nov. 7  meeting to memorialize an application that came before the planners in October from Constructural Dynamics, Inc. (Gibraltar Rock of Belle Meade).

At last month’s meeting, the applicant sought minor site plan approval to construct a process basin to collect, clarify and recycle the process water for reuse in its stone washing operations, in compliance with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), and construct a new press building and associated facilities, on property located in the quarry and mountain conservation zone districts of the township.

The applicant’s professionals explained at the meeting that the need for this application was to approve a quarry upgrade, and the construction of the press building as part of approved operations with an adjacent holding tank would remove slurry from process water linked to the quarry’s operations.

The applicant’s engineer, Craig Stiers, said that part of site’s plans also included a project to remove a failing sediment basin on site, extend a rail in the southern portion of the property to allow more vehicles on site and improve transportation efficiency on site, construct a conveyor belt from the quarry’s processing area to the lower portion of the property for loading efficiency, and to construct the process basin.

Stiers explained that the project takes the process water on the site, filters and cleans the process water as well as takes water in the process area and various other areas throughout the location including the quarry where it later filters out.

The applicant’s professional noted that the process area also takes materials from the quarry and breaks them down into various types of stones before being shipped off-site. The proposed press building on site would be located approximately between 4-5,000 feet from the nearest residence, so any noise pollution emitting from it would not disturb residents, according to officials.

The reasoning for the upgrades to the site were linked to deficiencies in operations from a previous owner at the location, officials said. Sean Earlen, vice president of real estate, environmental and public affairs with the Silvi Group companies, of which Gibraltar is one, explained that when the group purchased the site in 2009, it inherited water problems in regards to operations on the site, which was previously owned by 3M, a manufacturing company.

Earlen explained that water discharge had been a problem at the quarry has been going on for decades, which the group inherited from 3M.

Although the group absorbed the matter from the previous owner, Earlen noted that part of the applicant’s current operations do process stone in a different manner than 3M did.

He said that in 2011, the company entered into an administrative consent order with the DEP to find ways to clean up the discharge of water exiting the site. Earlen said it took six years to come to an agreement and plan with the DEP, which is why we they needed to come before the planning board for approval on the upgrades to the tank and press building.

Earlen said that the site does recycle water back into the process to be reused, however he explained that the current site does not capture as much as it’s required to by the DEP consent order. The professional explained that an existing basin on site has experienced issues with overflow and subsequently discharges into nearby brooks.

The applicant’s professionals said it is their aim with the approved site plans to bring all water that leaves the site at the conclusion of this project in conformance with DEP standards.

Following Earlen’s testimony at the October meeting, the board planners questioned a particular issue raised by concerned residents that trucks transporting materials to and from the site have caused issues with noise.

The planners explained that specific complaints were in regards to trucks transporting materials tend to jake-brake and downshift along an incline in proximity to the site, which causes noise pollution.

Earlen said that the construction of the conveyor belt system to the lower portion of the site is anticipated to cut down on truck traffic traversing up the inclined site unless for specialty materials.

Following additional testimony and a public comment period, the planning board members made a motion to approve the application which was unanimously passed at the November meeting.