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April 30, 2004, Thomas Oot, President of OOT
BROS., INC., submitted an Application for a
Special Use Permit (see the Documents
page) to the Town of Sullivan,
New York. This application requested
permission to mine parcel 59.-1-59 on Quarry
Road. The parcel includes
approximately 93.5 acres on the eastern side
of the road and stretches into the Town of
Lincoln as well.
first public hearing, to our knowledge,
regarding this matter was held on October 9,
2006, at the Town of Sullivan Office
Building at 7:00pm. Despite the
minimal notice, the neighborhood spread the
word and the hearing was well attended
by many opponents to Mr. Oot's proposal.
important question that requires an answer
from the Planning Board: What is the
current zoning of parcel 59.-1-59? Our
answer: AGRICULTURAL. Based on the
current zoning map, all land east of Quarry
Road is agricultural. Mining is NOT a
permitted use of agricultural land, even
with a Special Permit. The 2005 Tax
Rolls state that parcel 59.-1-59 is
classified as code 240, Rural Residential.
he stated in his Environmental Assessment
Form that the property is in fact
"Agricultural," Mr. Oot then
stated at the October 9 hearing that it is
"Industrial." Which is
it? Upon further
review, it appears that he is questioning
the zoning situation from the 1970s.
mining permit has already been approved by
the DEC for this property. We learned
on October 9, that a public
comment period was held for one month prior
to April 7, 2006. Why wasn't the
- the community affected by this application
discussed at the November 13, 2006, Planning
Board meeting, the Application for a Special
Use Permit is "on hold." The
public hearing - adjourned from October 9,
2006 - was closed after additional comments
from residents and a lawyer on behalf of the
concerned residents. Thomas Oot did
not attend the meeting. Until a
determination is made regarding the zoning
of Mr. Oot's property, a decision
cannot be made by the Planning Board.
confusion still seems to exist regarding the
connection between Mr. Oot's property and
the existing quarry. They are separate
properties with different owners and different
permits. The existing quarry, owned by
Callanan Industries, has an active mining
permit, but has been mostly idle for several
property owned by Mr. Oot is northeast of
the existing Callanan quarry and on the
opposite side of the road. Mr. Oot
seems to be attempting to persuade everyone
that his proposal is for a quarry that
"has been there for 150
years." However, the operational
quarry that perhaps has been running for
those 150 years is on the other side of the
December 14, 2006: Thomas Oot submitted an
"Application for an
Interpretation" to the Zoning Board of
Appeals (ZBA). See the Documents
page to review the Application. He is
questioning the "extent of boundaries
on existing Industrial Zone located on
Town of Sullivan Zoning Law and Zoning Map
(also available on the Documents
page) indicate that an Industrial Zone
exists on the west side of Quarry
Road. The Zoning Law states: "A
third industrial district encompasses the
stone/rock quarry located west of Quarry
Road. The boundaries of this district
are intended to be the property lines of the
quarry owner." Mr. Oot's property
is located on the EAST side of Quarry Road,
therefore it cannot logically be included in
a zone that is restricted to the WEST
side. A resolution passed by the Town
of Sullivan in 1972 provides a more explicit
description of the property that was rezoned
from Agricultural to Industrial. It
describes property only on the WEST side of
Quarry Road. Mr. Oot's property is not
included in the Industrial zone; It was -
and still is - zoned Agricultural.
public hearing is expected to be held at the
March 8, 2007, Zoning Board of Appeals
meeting. All concerned residents are
encouraged to attend.
public hearing was not held at the March 8,
2007, ZBA meeting; however a discussion
regarding Thomas Oot's property did
occur. His "Application for an
Interpretation" preceded an actual
determination by the Zoning Enforcement
Officer (ZEO), so the ZBA could not act upon
his request. A statement was then made
by the ZEO which affirmed that Mr. Oot's
property is currently zoned Agricultural and
that mining is not a permissible use of
Agricultural property. Mr. Oot
responded by submitting a second
"Application for an
Interpretation." A public hearing
regarding this application is scheduled for
April 5, 2007 at 7:30 pm.
lengthy public hearing was held at the April
2007, ZBA meeting. The board may take
up to two months to make a decision about
Thomas Oot's appeal.
Zoning Board discussed whether mining is
permitted in an agricultural zone at the May
3, 2007, meeting. It appears that they
have concluded that Thomas Oot's property
is, in fact, in an agricultural zone.
The meeting was adjourned until the June ZBA
May 16, 2007: Town Board meeting, the
Board voted to hold a public hearing
regarding a proposed Zoning Law
clarification. The proposal would
define mining/quarrying per the DEC
definition and limit it to Industrial Zones
by special use permit. The public
hearing was set for June 6th.
Town Board held the public hearing on June
6th to discuss the proposed Law
change. No attendees spoke in
opposition and the Board voted unanimously
in favor of the change.
Mining/quarrying will now be limited to
special Mining Districts by special use
permit. The Zoning Law change will be
in effect on June 8th when it is filed with
New York State.
June 14, 2007: the Zoning Board of Appeals voted 3-2 to DENY the appeal of
Thomas Oot. Where does it go from here? Ideally, nowhere.
...But realistically, Thomas Oot may elect to appeal the decision made by the
ZBA to Madison County. ...OR.... He could apply to the Town Board
for a zone change as he should have done in the first place!
the June 20, 2007, Town Board meeting, the newspapers have printed that Thomas Oot
intends to sue the Town of Sullivan. For what I wonder? For not
giving him preferential treatment?
Oot knew from the onset of his project that he needed to be in an industrial
zone and that he needed a special use permit.
He also knew – as evidenced by his signature on the Full Environmental
Assessment Form to the DEC – that the property he intended to quarry was
located in an agricultural zone. Despite
the fact that Mr. Oot has changed his story several times as it suited him best,
the process has come full circle back to the point at which it started: He
should have filed for a zone change. Why
didn’t he do this originally? Because
he knew it likely wouldn’t be approved. Instead
he dragged everyone through hearing after hearing where he first insisted that
his property was already in an industrial zone, then suddenly (since it was
obvious that no one was believing that his property was industrial) HE decided
that mining was a permitted use in an agricultural zone (which it is not).
the newspaper reported that the “board declines to discuss zone change
request.” How can they decline to
discuss a request that has never been requested?
No, they did not refuse to discuss a zone change; however they did refuse
to listen to Mr. Oot’s complaints about a law change that had already been
opened for a public hearing. Mr. Oot
could have attended the public hearing. But
he didn’t. He could have voiced
his opposition to the new law. But
he didn’t. The Town Board had no
reason to listen to his opinion after the hearing was closed.
The law change was approved. The
new law was filed.
could stop here, but
there are some other claims of Mr. Oot that
I find difficult to believe. Here are
two of them. (The quotes are taken
from the June 22nd Post Standard Article.)
land was mined in the early
1900s." What land? Not
his! I do not have the records of
when the Worlock Stone Company began
mining, but if there were any mining
activities in the early 1900s they were
on THE WEST SIDE OF THE ROAD. Mr.
Oot does not own the property on the
west side; only on the east side.
An aerial image I have seen that was
dated in the 1930s provided no evidence
of mining on his property.
says he needs limestone for his ongoing
Although I do not doubt that he will use
some of the limestone for his local
projects, the proposed usage of the
stone for those projects is only
one-fifth of the total he intends to
blast out of the hills on Quarry
Road. According to his Final
Environmental Impact Statement, Mr. Oot
anticipates to remove approximately
250,000 tons of stone annually.
Only 50,000 tons is expected to be used
for his projects. I believe there
is only one reason Mr. Oot desires to
start a quarry: TO MAKE MONEY. Of
course, there is the added perk of
having cheap stone for his local
projects (...which also means more
money...). The money he makes will
be at the expense of the people living
in the vicinity of his quarry.
is enough rambling from me for today...
31, 2007: Lawsuit of Subdivisions, Inc vs.
Town of Sullivan was brought before Judge
Dennis McDermott of Madison County Supreme
Court. He will not be making a
decision; case is moved to Chenango County
4, 2007: Lawsuit was brought before Judge
Kevin M. Dowd of Chenango County
Court. He has 60 days to make a
8, 2008: Judge Dowd made the decision to
reverse Local Law 1 of the Town of Sullivan
8, 2008: Town of Sullivan Planning Board
tabled the quarry discussion.
October 4, 2008 :The Town of Sullivan Planning Board is due to render a decision on
whether or not to issue a Special Use Permit to MINE on Agricultural
Land. The Town’s own Laws state that this is NOT a permissible use
on Agriculturally Zoned Land. If the Planning Board does go against it’s
own laws and issue Mr. Oot a Special Use Permit to MINE, they will not
only be against the wishes and well being of hundreds
of the town's citizens, but also be setting a
PRECEDENT that will allow MINING on any AGRICULTURALLY ZONED
PARCEL OF LAND within the Town of Sullivan!
Do you live in
an area where there is FARM LAND and ROCK? RIDGE RD., EAST LAKE RD., RT. 173,
SALT SPRINGS RD., PERRYVILLE RD., , ETC….. Then you could end up with a
Quarry in YOUR backyard. The Village of Chittenango will become the next
At this very
moment you can go to the Chittenango Library and see in the Draft
Environmental Impact Survey (DEIS), a map that shows “POSSIBLE CONSOLIDATED
QUARRIES”. This consolidation shows three different quarries merging.
There are THREE parcels of land right now, owned by Quarries. So, you see
what SOMEONE is already planning for our community.
We need to ask
our Planning Board Members exactly what motivates them to even contemplate
breaking their own laws. Can you think of any reasons our Planning Board
would not put its Community before three business men? What right do they
have to destroy our Town? Is MONEY the bottom line?
your opposition by contacting each Planning Board member and attend the next
Planning Board meeting.
December 3, 2008:
Town Board Meeting *OPEN HEARING*
concerning New Local Law 7. This
is an Amendment to Local Law 3 from 1979.7pm
The Town Board is trying to clarify it's
Zoning Laws and they need input from its
citizens on the Regulation and Location of
This was our chance to tell
the Town Board Members what our concerns are
as far as locations of mining activities,
water supply protection, traffic concerns,
safety issues, property values, etc.
According to the latest edition of the Chitt./B'port
Times, Attorney Scott Chatfield has
specified what course of action the Town
should be taking. He states "Legally,
the planning board does not have the right
to ask the ZBA to make a decision and no
resolution should occur on Nov. 13th."
That being said, the rest of the article
goes on to tell how the Town is trying to
Re-enact the Law Judge Dowd struck down
including changes with respect to items
Judge Dowd had problems with. This "New" law
will have the added language that any use
not specifically permitted is PROHIBITED.
the points Mr. Chatfield states, "is that
the simplest way to resolve this issue is to
call the applicants and tell them to ask the
CODE ENFORCEMENT OFFICER (Phil Costanzo)
whether mining is permissible under law in
the Town of Sullivan. If he says,
"Yes", the applicants won't be aggrieved,
but the neighbors might be. If he
says, "No", then the applicants can appeal."
At any rate,
we need to FLOOD the ZBA Meeting with
our presence! Please attend with all
your family members and pass the word to as
many neighbors as possible.
Chairman of the Planning
Board, Frank Park stated that the Planning
Board has one last question to be answered
before it can make a decision....."IS MINING
A PERMISSIBLE ACTIVITY IN AN AGRICULTURAL
ZONE?" This question will be answered
by the Zoning Board of Appeals.
It seems that Mr. Oot is trying to get his Special Use Permit
by pushing the issue that "if it's not
PROHIBITED, it must then be PERMITTED".
We beg to differ! Nuclear Power Plants
aren't stated as PROHIBITED either, and that
would have a hard time passing under
"Special Use Permit"! (One would hope
anyway)....Our point is this...Mining via
BLASTING is a drastically different way of
obtaining minerals than EXCAVATION is.
Contact the ZBA members
and tell them you oppose this quarry. If the
Town allows Mining in an Ag. Zone, they will
have removed themselves as the
authority to control where and how Mining in
the Town of Sullivan occurs. The Town
of Sullivan will be "OPEN FOR ANY QUARRY,
The next Zoning Board of
Appeals meeting is set for Thursday,
November 13, 2008 at 7pm.
Until then, please
contact all the Zoning Board of Appeals
members by letter or call them to express
your STRONG OPPOSITION!
Update on Town Board
Proposed Local Law 7 has
been passed. (Now called Local Law 6).
This Law more
clearly defines the differences between the
Mining of Rock (Quarry) and the Mining of
minerals, such as gravel, peat, soil, etc.
(excavation). The law will allow the
Town Board to decide where and how Mining
will take place in the Town of Sullivan.
This is a good thing for all. Though
it may not directly affect Oot's
application, it may require a Zone Change
application to the Town Board. We will
have to wait and see what the outcome of the
ZBA's decision is on Thursday, Dec. 11th,
December 11th, 2008: Decision tabled until next month....Mr. Henry
talked for an eternity about the 1979 law and all the way back to the 1950's!
Apparently, Mr. Henry believes the part where Oot has the right to mine was
"inadvertently left out" back in 1979! Mr. Henry just sealed his
position....Oot, Oot, Oot. Anyway, despite everyone else there, including
the lawyers, trying to keep the ZBA in the present, they felt it necessary to
table the decision for yet another month.
February 15, 2009
ZBA has voted...
Mining is not permissible
in an Agricultural Zone under the 1979
legislation, either with or without the
issuance of a special permit.
Local Law 6: "Mineral
Resource Uses" are not permissible in an
Agricultural Zone under Local Law 6, either
with or without the issuance of a special
Results of Polled Votes
Cliff Reals: NO
Steve Durfee: No
Update: April 7, 2010
During the Town Board meeting
of April 7th, 2010, Supervisor John Becker
told us that Judge Cerio had made a decision
on the latest lawsuit. See Documents. Part
of Judge Cerio's decision "Vacated and
Annulled" the decision of the ZBA from
January 8th, 2009. This means the ZBA
must conduct a new hearing with respect to
the interpretation addressing the question
of whether the Town of Sullivan Zoning Law
of 1979, as amended and in effect at the
time of the application of Petitioners,
prohibits mining and/or quarrying on the
property of the Petitioners.
Simply put...we're back to
Thursday, April 8th, 2010
At the ZBA meeting the
board told us they will have a Public Hearing on May 13th,
2010 at 7 pm.
Once again, we need as
many concerned citizens from all around the
Town of Sullivan to attend this meeting and
express your OBJECTION to this new quarry!
The residents of the Town
of Sullivan, Town of Lincoln and Town of
Lenox will be impacted by this proposed
Mr. Oot and his partners,
R. Benevento and J. Johnson have now sued
the Town of Sullivan FIVE times. It's
obvious that the sole intention of these
lawsuits is to get their permit to mine by
exhausting our Town of monies.
We the people, need to
stand up for our right to say NO. We
decide what quality of life we want for our
neighborhoods, towns and villages.
The purpose of our local
government...to stand for the people!