Wilton quarry owners propose asphalt plant

  • The Wilton Zoning Board considered a request for a height variance for a proposed asphalt plant on Quinn Drive during its meeting Tuesday. Staff photo by Ashley Saari—

  • The Wilton Zoning Board considered a request for a height variance for a proposed asphalt plant on Quinn Drive during its meeting Tuesday. Staff photo by Ashley Saari—

  • The Wilton Zoning Board considered a request for a height variance for a proposed asphalt plant on Quinn Drive during its meeting Tuesday. Staff photo by Ashley Saari—

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 7/10/2019 9:27:12 PM

The owner of a Wilton quarry is proposing to build an asphalt plant on the same property.

Jim Quinn, represented by attorney Bill Keefe, appeared before the Wilton Zoning Board of Adjustment on Tuesday requesting a height variance for two new industrial buildings on 50 Quinn Road.

In Wilton’s industrial zone, buildings have a height limit of 45 feet. Both buildings Quinn Properties is proposing to build would exceed that. The first is an asphalt batch plant, which would manufacture and sell bituminous asphalt, using gravel, sand and stone mined at the quarry on the same land. The batch plant is proposed to be 68 feet high. The plan also calls for a storage silo, which would be 72 feet high.

This is the second time the zoning and planning boards have seen a plan for an asphalt plant on the property. The Quinn’s submitted and had approved plans for a similar facility in the late 1980s, but the plant was never built, and the approvals expired.

“The market changed, the buyer we thought we had, and it never got built,” Keefe said to the board.

Quinn told the board it was hard for the quarry to sell stone to asphalt producers, because the largest companies all have their own quarries. Despite not “really want[ing] to be in the asphalt business,” Quinn said, it was becoming an avenue for small quarries to survive.

Keefe said it’s not clear what the purpose of the height ordinance is, but said it may have been put in place when the fire department’s equipment could only reach 45 feet high. Members of the zoning board agreed they had also heard that reasoning before, though no one was able to say for sure what the intent was when the zoning was put in place.

Keefe said with the town’s current ladder truck, it was unlikely the silo and batch plant would be out of reach for the department’s equipment. From an aesthetic perspective, he said, the land the plant would be built on was a lower elevation than surrounding land, and the top of the silo wouldn’t be higher than existing buildings on the site, which are not visible from nearby roads through the tree cover.

 Mike McGonegal, a board member for the nearby Goss Park, attended the meeting, and said he does not think the height will be a concern.

“I don’t think you could see it even from the parking lot,” he said.

He does however, have concerns about the odor and noise and how it might impact the park. 

“It’s quiet, it smells like pine,” McGonegal said of the park. 

The board told McGonegal the plant will have to go through an industrial site plan review process with the Planning Board, in which those concerns would be addressed. 

The Zoning Board voted to continue the hearing to its Aug. 13 meeting, to allow Quinn to either receive a letter from the town’s fire chief or provide other materials to show what fire safety measures would be in place such as a plan for a fire suppression system.

 

Ashley Saari can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 244 or asaari@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on Twitter @AshleySaariMLT.




Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

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