WESTBROOK – Residents who live near Pike Industries’ quarry told members of a special committee Wednesday that Pike’s blasting has damaged their homes and disrupted their lives, and they want it to stop.
The Spring Street Quarry/Industrial Zone Steering Committee met with residents for about two hours to address their concerns about Pike’s quarry operation at the Five Star Industrial Park. About 25 residents turned out and expressed concerns about the noise, dust and vibration caused by Pike’s blasting.
Michael Daley of Spring Street questioned whether there is another way to extract rock that would mitigate the impact on residents. ”Personally, I can’t live with my home shaking,” he said.
Gary Swanson of Oriole Street asked how many residents are on the list for Pike to notify before it blasts. Swanson said he is on the list.
”Knowing there is going to be a blast does nothing for me,” he said. ”You can’t pick your house up and set it back down.”
John Koris, Pike’s environmental manager, said Pike could address most of the residents’ concerns by reducing the number of blasts and using the latest technology to reduce the vibration and noise.
”It will minimize if not prevent damage from happening to their homes and business,” he said. ”It’s not to say that neighbors won’t know when we blast, because some will.”
Wednesday’s meeting was the first of two for residents, who will meet again at 9 a.m. Saturday at Westbrook Middle School.
Public meetings for businesses will be held at 7 p.m. March 3 and 9 a.m. March 6, at the middle school.
The long dispute has polarized two of the city’s largest taxpayers: Pike Industries, a paving and construction company, and Idexx Laboratories, a biotechnology company.
Idexx has been a leading opponent of Pike’s plan to move its operations from a depleted quarry on Main Street to its quarry in the industrial park on Spring Street.
The city has proposed rezoning the park from industrial to light manufacturing uses, which would effectively shut down the quarry. The City Council tabled its decision Feb. 1 to rezone the park to allow time for a compromise that allows Pike to operate at some level at the quarry it has owned since 2005.
Some residents raised concerns Wednesday about congestion on Spring Street. Other people had concerns that businesses like Idexx and Artel could move out of the city if Pike is allowed to continue blasting.
Staff Writer Melanie Creamer can be contacted at 791-6361 or at: