By Krystle S. Morey

More than 40 slate quarry owners and industry workers turned out at Poultney’s Select Board meeting Monday to sound off on a plan that would regulate slate production in the Vermont town.

Poultney’s planning commission is proposing stricter statutes that would amend the town’s bylaws to change zoning regulations including the allowable height of slate dump piles and increase the setback, distance between a quarry and the adjoining property line.

The commission is a “quasi-legislative commission… elected by the voters to draft language for the Poultney Zoning Regulations, Poultney Subdivision Regulations and the Poultney Town Plan.”

It is proposing a setback of 200 feet of all pits, dumps, buildings, to any residential structure or property line; requiring reclamation plans prior to the issuance of any land use permits; demanding sufficient height and strength for every access point to deny access to the public is required around any pit or excavation; limiting the height of slate dump piles to 40 feet; and limiting the load weights of trucks hauling slate to comply with road specifications.

“We, slate companies, were surprised to hear about some of the provisions of the planning commission’s recommendations,” said Craig E. Markcrow, owner and president of Vermont Structural Slate Co.

“A 200-foot restriction causes quarry owners to take a tremendous hit to the value of their properties … and in many cases, quarries would be inoperable given the planning commission’s recommendations,” Markcrow said. “How do we deal with this loss of value?”

Markcrow gave a 10-minute slideshow presentation, outlining the slate quarries’ requests. The Slate Quarry Association instead proposes a 25-foot setback and removing the requirement for reclamation plans.

Representatives from several Slate Valley quarries including Evergreen Slate, Hilltop Slate Inc., Tatko Slate, Newmont Slate and KD Stone, were present at the meeting Dec. 11. Many of them wore lime green-colored stickers with “I <3 Slate,” “Slate is Poultney’s Industry,” and “Slate supports industries.”

This is only a preview of the story published in the Whitehall Times. To read the full story, pick up a print copy of this week’s paper at the newsstand or read it online here.

This is only a preview of the story published in the Granville Sentinel. To read the full story, pick up a print copy of this week’s paper at the newsstand or read it online here.

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