AUGUSTA — Changes that could remove some, but not all, grandfathering provisions from city ordinances that regulate mining and blasting are up for council consideration Thursday.

The mineral extraction ordinance exempts mining operations that existed before the 2007 adoption of the ordinance from some requirements newer pits have to meet, including a requirement they control dust coming from blasts.

No pits have opened since the ordinance was enacted, so all of the city’s active mining operations, which generally take place in pits, are grandfathered, according to Matt Nazar, the city’s development director. Fifteen to 17 pits are grandfathered from some requirements of the ordinance.

Following a June blast at a West River Road pit owned by West Gardiner-Based McGee Construction, some residents of the Grandview neighborhood complained to city councilors their homes were coated with dust.

In response, councilors are considering removing grandfathering provisions from the mineral extraction ordinance.

Pit owners met last week with At-Large Councilor Jeffrey Bilodeau, and asked that some exemptions which had been targeted for removal in the ordinance changes be preserved. They said because their pits were established before the ordinance, it would be impossible for them to comply with some of its standards, including regulations on the locations of pit roads, buffer requirements, and setback distances from residences and water sources.

Nazar, at Bilodeau’s requests, returned some of the grandfathering provisions requested by pit owners to the mineral extraction ordinance. Councilors are scheduled to review the proposed changes at their meeting Thursday.

“I would like the pit owners to come (to Thursday’s meeting) prepared to answer exactly how it is they cannot comply with the buffer and public safety components of the ordinance,” said At-Large Councilor Dale McCormick.

Councilors are scheduled to have a first reading of the changes — of two required for passage — at their meeting Thursday, which begins at 7 p.m. in council chambers at Augusta City Center.

Councilors are also scheduled to:

• hold a first reading on a proposal to change the name of Ballard Road, which is in north Augusta on the west side of the Kennebec River off Old Belgrade Road, to Jeff Gagnon Way, to avoid confusion with the similarly named Ballard Street, which is off Eastern Avenue on the east side of the river;

• consider placing several parcels of tax-acquired properties for sale and seek bidders for them;

• consider a proposed $134,000 lease-purchase deal to acquire new photocopiers;

• consider asking the Planning Board to consider a request to change the zoning of all or part of the Viles property off Stone Street to allow it to be used as a conference center for nonprofit groups, and make a recommendation back to councilors.

Keith Edwards — 621-5647

[email protected]m

Twitter: @kedwardskj

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