WINDHAM – The controversial Busque Quarry is officially operating, five years after receiving the town’s approval.

Shaw Bros. Construction, which bought the quarry at Route 302 and Nash Road soon after the death of its owner last fall, recently completed site work that was required before it could start excavating.

The town issued Shaw Bros. a certificate of occupancy Thursday morning — around the time representatives from the company, the town and the state Department of Environmental Protection met with neighbors about their concerns about blasting.

Activity at the quarry, including blasting, increased this spring as Shaw Bros. moved to complete the site work, with a paved entrance and a stormwater detention pond.

That work reignited the ire of neighbors, who say the blasting is disturbing their lives and damaging their homes.

For Carl Russell and Linda Rowe, owners of Avant-garde Pet Care, the concern goes beyond that.

Russell said Thursday that many of the two dozen or so animals that are at the kennel at any time react to the blasts in a variety of negative ways, including biting at their cages until they bleed, urinating and defecating.

Because of that, the animals must be watched closely every time there is a blast.

“The stress doesn’t just involve the animals. It involves us,” Russell said. “It’s more than two people can manage.”

He said they’re considering closing the kennel after this summer.

They were among the dozen neighbors of the quarry who attended a meeting held by the town Thursday to “open the line of communication” between them and the quarry’s new owner, said Assistant Planner Ben Smith.

Margaret Pinchbeck, a vocal opponent of the quarry during the approval process, said she believes Shaw Bros. will do what it can to minimize the effects of the blasting, as promised at the meeting, but she still expects her life to be much different from when the quarry, across the street from her home, was a tree farm.

“The whole house shakes, and it’s just noisy all the time,” she said.

The level of activity at the quarry will depend on demand for construction and paving jobs, said Shaw Bros. owner Danny Shaw. “We don’t have any jobs right now to speak of,” he said.

Shaw said the plan is to blast at least weekly through this summer to build up stockpiles. If little work comes the company’s way, there might be no activity at the quarry for six to eight months after that, he said.

The life of the quarry is dependent on the demand for construction, Smith said. He said Shaw Bros. could be extracting rock there for 50 to 100 years.

Shaw Bros. bought the 111-acre property for $1.4 million at an auction in November.

The body of Peter Busque, a town councilor and the owner of Busque Construction, was found at the quarry in September. He died of an apparent suicide. He was 50.

The quarry was the subject of years of debate in Windham, and drew Busque into local politics. He held a party there in 2010 to celebrate the election of four new town councilors, including himself, who he hoped would improve the town’s ability to work with businesses.

Staff Writer Leslie Bridgers can be contacted at 791-6364 or at:

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