Fair Haven board to consider blasting notification ordinance
By Darren Marcy
Staff Writer | September 19,2013
FAIR HAVEN — Select Board members have agreed to consider a proposed ordinance requiring a blasting notice, but made no promises about approving it.
The issue is a difficult one in Fair Haven.
On one side, a company excavating a basement for a new home Aug. 24 caused some major headaches when a blast took out power lines serving about 1,900 Green Mountain Power customers and caused damage to electronics and appliances in more than a dozen nearby homes.
On the other side is the long-standing slate industry that relies on blasting and is already heavily regulated.
The Select Board has recognized the slate industry’s importance to Fair Haven and members went on record at their meeting this week saying they weren’t interested in regulating blasting.
Town Manager Herbert Durfee said “the town doesn’t want to get into the business of regulating blasting.”
“They’re very sensitive to the local industrial slate quarry operations,” Durfee said. “It would be more of a notification ordinance.”
The Aug. 24 blast, in which the operator used dynamite, has been the subject of an investigation as authorities tally the damages.
Green Mountain Power spokeswoman Dorothy Schnure said GMP had not been notified there would be blasting near its power lines.
The explosion debris took out three power lines. A distribution line landed on a transmission line, charging the smaller line with a very large voltage that entered area homes.
Electronics and appliances were damaged and one small electrical fire was reported.
Durfee said enough people had contacted the town about the incident that he thought he should present the issue to the board.
“Do they want to have more of a hand in blasting in the community in light of recent experience?” he said.
Durfee said the board is not interested in a full-blown ordinance regulating blasting.
“That’s not my recommendation,” he said. “My recommendation is it would be good for the Select Board to adopt some kind of a notification ordinance.”
Even that, Durfee said, would likely draw the interest of the local quarrying companies.
He added his recommendation would include some type of waiver for the local industry.
Even that may or may not pass muster with the board, the town manager said.
“They said it’s OK to draft a notification ordinance to look at,” Durfee said. “They may not even adopt that.”
The ordinance will be introduced at a future meeting.