2012-06-13 / Front Page

Mining Plan Dead

Douglas Cunningham

Supervisor Richard Shea (l) reads a letter from the Lyons family withdrawing their application for a soil mine in Philipstown, as Nate Lyons (r) looks on. Photo / Annie ChesnutSupervisor Richard Shea (l) reads a letter from the Lyons family withdrawing their application for a soil mine in Philipstown, as Nate Lyons (r) looks on. Photo / Annie ChesnutThe application for a gravel mine in Philipstown – an endeavor that has rapidly sent political debate in town to a fevered pitch – will be withdrawn by Lyons Realty Co., the PCN&R has learned.

The well-regarded Lyons family is a fixture of many, many decades in Cold Spring. But the company’s proposal for the soil mine off Route 9, a half-mile south of the county line and 1,200 feet north of Mill Road, drew some 130 people, almost all of them opponents, to a hearing last week of the Zoning Board of Appeals.
Seventy people filled the town meeting room to its safe capacity upstairs in Town Hall, and some 60 more residents gathered outside, unable to enter. Comments about the mine and town leaders from opponents have become increasingly strident and withering, even though the mining district was included in the new zoning law Philipstown passed last spring.
Supervisor Richard Shea confirmed Tuesday evening that the application would be withdrawn, contingent on another use, possibly residential housing, being approved by the town. The mine would have occupied about 23 acres, of 137 acres in the Lyons Realty parcel. Shea was reluctant to provide additional details, noting that a news conference was set for 9 a.m. Wednesday to discuss the mining question.
The decision by the Lyons family to withdraw the application apparently came within just the past day or two, and included Ernie and Nate Lyons and their sister Barbara, children of the late Harold Lyons. “I’ve met with them or spoken with them nearly every day since last Monday,” Shea said.
The supervisor said it would be positive for Philipstown if the mining issue is resolved soon, and said the scorched earth public comment against not only the mine but the Lyonses was likely a factor in their decision. “They’re not the people they’ve been portrayed to be,” he said. “They’re hard-working people.”
Route 9 is the main commercial thoroughfare in the town, particularly for businesses related to construction supplies, concrete and so on.
Until this week’s sudden, and perhaps unexpected, development, the ZBA hearing was slated to resume July 9, at a larger venue such as Haldane School. Video of the June 11 meeting is available at the PCNR.com’s video archive; click the “meetings” tab in the upper right.
Shea noted last week that the mining issue went back to 2005, when he was a member of the Town Board, but not yet supervisor. As he said, the aim of the talks then was that it would “be a good idea to try to limit soil mining in Philipstown.” The Lyons property is within an overlay approved as part of the zoning overhaul Philipstown adopted last year. The Lyons property site is the only such parcel in town in the overlay.

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