Harrison Quarry Owner Proposes a Shopping Center
By Jon Craig
A West Harrison quarry shuttered by litigation and no destination for a pile of rocks has turned to a new solution. Lawrence Barrego, owner of the 91-year-old Lake Street quarry, has proposed rezoning the site as a “neighborhood business.” The development plan includes a 30,000-square-foot grocery store, bank and offices with 181 parking spaces.
The Harrison Town Council, which meets again on Aug. 7, postponed discussion on the zoning proposal earlier this month. Barrego hired architect Daniel Ciarcia to present the new business development plan. Barrego declined to discuss the future of the quarry, saying only, “This is beyond your imagination.”
Barrego is due to appear in Harrison Town Court on Sept. 4 for a trial charging him with more than three dozen violations of town and village building codes. Judge Marc Lust issued a “stop work order” in May and the quarry has been silent ever since.
Neighbors who want the quarry closed permanently think Barrego’s commercial zoning plan is merely a delay tactic or an excuse to resume blasting and grinding operations at the quarry.
Judge Lust told Barrego and his attorney, Michael Sirignano, to remove any landfill and recycled material from the blacktop across the street from the quarry, and to remove all trucks by July 11. At the July 17 meeting of the Town Board, Sirignano called the “neighborhood business” zoning request “a global resolution” to complaints about quarry operations over the years.
Barrego assumed operation of the quarry in 1985 from his father and grandfather. He has argued that the quarry predates Harrison zoning laws, which were adopted in 1923.
Sirignano has argued that Lust has no jurisdiction over the quarry because Barrego is awaiting a decision by the state Supreme Court in a separate appeal of a 2009 “stop work order” at the quarry.
Lust ruled the code violations need to be addressed regardless of Barrego’s application to change the quarry’s use and zoning.
Quarry operations at 600 Lake St. halted in May after a new “stop work order” issued by Town of Harrison Building Inspector Robert FitzSimmons.
FitzSimmons said the quarry was in violation of 19 codes including the alleged dumping of refuse and yard waste. The quarry faces daily fines of up to $2,500 on some of the alleged violations. Other code violations carry weekly fines of up to $250. The Department of Environmental Conservation also identified nine violations of state law.
The latest stop work order, signed on May 14, listed another 16 of the alleged violations of Harrison codes, including the lack of a storm water retention and collection system and no site plan approvals for parking, fencing and trailers. FitzSimmons said the quarry is prohibited from accepting any more recyclables and waste, and is not allowed to sell any material from the quarry while the stop work order is in effect.
For years, neighbors who live along Old Lake Street and Lake Street have complained to Harrison police and the Town Board about continued noise, dumping, dust and other pollution at the quarry.
The original “stop work order” was issued in 2009 after neighbors complained the quarry was operating heavy equipment in the middle of the night without permits.
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