Kasiana rock quarry permit denied


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S&S General Contractors was denied a permit to operate the quarry, after roughly an hour of discussion from the Assembly table and testimony from neighbors.


The permit would have been valid for five years, although S&S would only have had 18 months to do its work. It would have allowed blasting and rock movement from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday. In all, it was estimated that some 150-thousand cubic yards of rock would be removed.


The proposal received a mixed reception from neighbors. Many were vocal in their opposition, but others wrote letters saying they had no objection to the project.  The Sitka Tribe of Alaska asked for no quarry activity from March 1st to May 30, in order to avoid disturbing herring spawn.


Hugh Bevan of S&S General Contractors said his company was happy to comply with the Tribe’s request, and that pulling rock from the site is a good opportunity for the property owner to clean up the lot.


But Kasiana Island resident Keith Nyitray said the impact of a rock quarry on neighbors would be unbearable.


“I’m sure you know how well sound carries across the water,” Nyitray said. “And on a calm day, I can hear people speaking on their lots across the way. Can you imagine what it will be like to listen to the sounds of heavy machinery and blasting for up to 12 hours a day, six days a week, for a year and a half?”


The Assembly gave the proposal a chilly reception, despite a Planning Commission recommendation to approve the permit with conditions.           


How can any person reasonably expect when they buy a secluded property in Alaska that there’s going to be a rock mine open next to their home?” Mayor Scott McAdams said.


The Assembly voted 6 to 1 against the quarry, with Assembly member Larry Crews supporting the permit.  The Kasiana Island issue took up most of the last hour of the meeting, which stretched from 6 p.m. until the mandated adjournment time of 11 p.m.


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