By Colleen Mahoney

The Great Valley Town Board voted in favor of a Sand, Gravel and Clay Mining Overlay District, at its Monday, Aug. 10 meeting. The motion to establish the district within the town passed 3-1, with board member Lori Finch in opposition.

Before the vote, Finch said she wanted more research to be done to get more information on the district.

Town Supervisor Dan Brown explained that the overlay district does not mean that whatever is within the district will be mined, but rather it gives the town the ability to control the growth of mining in the district. It also streamlines the process of creating a gravel pit in the district, he said.

Moving forward, according to Town Attorney Peter Sorgi, residents who own property within the overlay district can apply for a permit with the NY Department of Environmental Conservation in order to have their own mining pit.

“The law is in effect, but it doesn’t change the zoning. It simply takes another district and overlays it with a different use,” Sorgi explained.

Sorgi said that zoning law still ensures that the town has a say in how the new pits are positioned and to set certain conditions. Distance from residences, hours of operation and noise levels, among others, are all things the town will have a say on, Sorgi said.

“All this does is limit expansion … what this [district] does is stops pits from going … wherever there’s gravel,” said board member Gerald Musall.

At the July meeting, the board approved a State Environmental Quality Review of the district, which is required per state regulation.

Brown said the district has been in the works for about a year and a half.

The board also voted to enter into a shared services agreement with District One Kill Buck Fire Department. Brown said the shared services agreement would be beneficial when the town is working in Kill Buck. The department needs to approve the agreement, before it can be enacted.

The next Great Valley Town Board meeting will be held on Monday, Sept. 14 at 7 p.m., in the town hall.