MOUNT DESERT — The town’s moratorium on mineral extraction, including granite quarrying, will be extended for six months. That will allow more time for new regulations to be adopted.
The 180-day moratorium that voters approved in November was retroactive to Aug. 6, so it expires Feb. 2.
Members of the board of selectmen have indicated they will extend the moratorium for another 180 days, but they are required by law to hold a public hearing on the question before doing so. They have scheduled the public hearing and vote for their next regular meeting, on Jan. 22.
The moratorium was prompted by complaints from some Hall Quarry residents about noise generated by granite removal operations at a nearby quarry. The six-acre quarry site is owned by Harold MacQuinn, Inc. which leases it to Freshwater Stone.
In October, the selectmen voted to hire planning consultant Noel Musson to conduct a thorough review of the land use zoning ordinance (LUZO) to see where clarifications or revisions are needed. In November, they appointed a citizens advisory group to work with him.
Mr. Musson told the board in a Jan. 3 memo that their top priority is to look at where and under what circumstances quarrying and other types of mineral extraction should be allowed.
The planning board must hold a public hearing on any proposed LUZO change. Then the planning board and warrant committee must recommend whether citizens at town meeting should approve the change.