Residents grit teeth over drilling, blasting

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BY ANDREAS YILMA

CITIZEN’S NEWS

BEACON FALLS —  Some residents want know when the drilling and blasting of rocks at a project site in town will be over.

ANDREAS YILMA CITIZEN’S NEWS
A project site for the ultimate proposed development of buildings can be seen at Alliance Circle, Beacon Falls on Feb. 21.

H I Stone & Son, an excavating company from Southbury, has been working at a project site for a proposed development of one or two commercial buildings on the dead end street of Alliance Circle since 2011.

Residents, many of whom have complained or stated concerns in the past, were again raising concerns of vibrations at the Planning and Zoning Commission Feb. 16 meeting.

Beacon Hose Co. No. 1 Fire Marshal Brian P. DeGeorge said the site is being normally monitored but there are a lot of complaints between his office and the zoning side.

“A lot of my complaints lately have been like when’s this going to stop,” DeGeorge said.

Resident Charles Biancheri said there was a blast on Feb. 2, followed by a water leak on the street the following day.

“Kind of strange that that happened the following day. A company was there for a good 10 hours fixing that leak because it was at the main. Maybe it was coincidence. I don’t know,” Biancheri said. “We do feel the vibration over on Hubble Avenue. There’s no doubt about that and it’s definitely vibration because you can feel it in the house on your feet and that’s quite a distance.”

Land Use Coordinator and Zoning Enforcement Officer Leah Rajvong said the-then commission approved a 14-year permit in May 2011 which will give the excavating company until March 2024. After that it would need to come back annually for a permit extension to continue any unfinished work.

First Selectman Gerard Smith said the frequency of the blasting fluctuates.

“Maybe once every two weeks. So last week there was a couple but sometimes it will slow down,” DeGeorge said. “It could be a couple times in a row or it could hold off for a month.”

The blasters are limited to a 45 foot cut so they can’t go any deeper than that per blast, DeGeorge said.

H I Stone & Son owner Chuck Stone said it’s difficult to tell when the job will finish but workers are about a third way into the third and final phase. Stone said the work could be finished within a year to three years.

DeGeorge said the complaints on blasting has been pretty consistent and even before when he took over the Fire Marshal’s office in late 2019. DeGeorge has a text group with nearby businesses and residences to give them a heads up as workers give him an hour alert beforehand. The blasting takes about 30 seconds long and usually takes place in the early afternoon. The blasters are compliant, he added.

“I receive phone calls sometimes depending on the actual blast and I do receive all of their reports and some of them are toward the upper, not over limit but toward the higher limit on some of the stuff where that’s where you would feel certain blast decimals but there’s nothing that I’ve ever had where it’s over the requirements that are set,” DeGeorge said.