‘No’ to Kent Hollow Mine appeal is a good decision

It’s been a long time coming. Finally, after years of applications, appeals, research and reviews, the Amenia zoning board has made a final ruling in the Kent Hollow Mine appeal. 

Denied. So stated the Amenia Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA), which voted unanimously to deny the appeal of a zoning violation for being a nonconforming use.

The mine, located on South Amenia Road, in a lovely, rural area, wanted to develop a new 33-acre sand-and-gravel mine on an 82-plus acre parcel, according to documents from the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).

Kent Hollow operated a mine on a smaller scale at the same site years ago; its original permit expired in 1989. It then submitted an application to the town of Amenia to increase its operations in 2016, but withdrew that application shortly afterward. It resubmitted that application in February 2017.

There have since been violation notices issued, justifications made and plenty of discussions in between. Mine owners Richard, Chris and Greg Steiner and their attorney, Allan Rappleyea from Corbally, Gartland and Rappleyea LLP, have stood firm that the mine is not in violation, that the mine is not a new use and that the new mine should be grandfathered in.

When first applying for a permit, back in 1978, Kent Hollow was identified as a nonconforming use. 

The Steiners, meanwhile, claimed their mine was in continuous operation during all these years, which would have established that it was a permitted use and not needing review.

The ZBA called into question if documents the Steiners and their attorney submitted were reliable, noting discrepancies found in reports that the quantity of materials extracted from the site didn’t match their numbers. Rappleyea disagreed. He claimed the Steiners had routinely extracted materials from the mine — and it was therefore a continuous use.

Clearly, the zoning board was not swayed. 

We do think that the ZBA did its due diligence, under the guidance of its attorney, George Lithco, to make sure it had the facts straight. All of the evidence led the board to its final finding — one with which we agree.

We believe, for the record, that the stretch of South Amenia Road where Kent Hollow Mine is located, is not suited for the proposed expansion. It’s suited for quintessential country drives on a long, shady road — and the people who live along that road are deserving of some peace and quiet. Now that the vote has been cast, we’re hoping those at Town Hall can share in some of that peace, too.