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Quarry to Return Tuesday for Sixth Hearing on Closing Plan

Millington Quarry on Planning Board agenda to continue offering testimony by its experts for how quarry would be rehabilitated after quarrying stops.

The Millington Quarry is scheduled Tuesday to appear for a sixth time before the to continue presenting its case for a plan to make the quarry property off Stonehouse Road usable for residential development once the quarrying operation stops for good.

The quarry's representatives have brought expert witnesses on all aspects of the proposal to address the Planning Board and Public in hearings that began last November. The quarry is required by law to update its so-called reclamation plan every few years, and disagreement with the Township Committee over details meant the previous proposal, presented in 2008, never received final approval.

However, this time around, experts for the quarry have testified that the decades-long operation is nearing the end of its life. Meanwhile, a legal dispute between the township and quarry owners — sparked by concerns of contaminated soil being brought in to fill deep pits in the 190-acre property — have been put on hold to see if the matter can be worked out with the quarry's latest reclamation proposal.

Township Planner David Schley on Monday morning said that the quarry is on Tuesday's agenda to continue presenting testimony by its experts to outline its plan.

After that, Schley said, experts who have examined the proposal on behalf of the township generally would give their opinon. The public, which has been able to question each of the quarry's witnesses, can offer input before the Planning Board decides whether to endorse the quarry's application.

However, after the board makes its recommendation, the Township Committee still retains the right to make a final decision on whether to approve the plan.

Schley said on Monday that he expects there will be more "give and take" between the board and quarry at public hearings.

The quarry's landscape architect has not yet appeared before the board and public. However, about a half-dozen experts, includingon Feb. 8, already have testified about plans for bringing in topsoil, creating a , regrading the property and more. Zdunczyk in February testified that he believes that rock walls at the quarry are stable. Previously, other experts outlined how a portion of the property could be turned into a meadow where houses may someday be built.

At the last meeting, on Feb. 7, Lavigne, said that be an attorney for the Millington Quarry, said he was intending to call another witness at the next hearing, and future testimony and possibly other witnesses could be required, based on questioning and reports by experts for the township.

Lavigne tried unsuccessfully to persuade the board to schedule a special meeting in February to continue hearing the application, but board members said the quarry would need to wait until March 6, since the scheduled Feb. 21 meeting already had a full agenda.

Lavigne told the board that a stay in quarry's lawsuit against the township will expire on April 27. The legal actions stems from a dispute over the Township Committee's refusal to accept the quarry's last proposal for a reclamation plan in 2008, and also a dispute about soil that tested as contaminated being brought into the quarry as fill.

"If we reach April 27, and this isn't done, I think it's likely that the litigation will carry through, one way or another," Lavigne told the board in early February.

"I know you want this to go faster, but I don't know how much faster it can go," responded Stuart Koenig, attorney for the Planning Board. "There's a lot of witnesses, a lot of testimony and a lot of questions," he said.

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