Resident Jackie Pistell made the point Tuesday night at a meeting of the Dorset Select Board. While some people had 24 hour a day, seven day-a-week access to emergency vehicles, not everyone did.
"I think everybody on Route 30 including Mr. (Dick) McDonough (who owns the property where the quarry is located) has twenty-four seven access to emergency vehicles. We do not. We do not," said Pistell. "This weekend it would have been very difficult for a fire truck or ambulance get to our house." Pistell continued to say that the lack of "24/7" access by emergency vehicles was being created by the quarry and the residents of Black Rock Road wanted to know what could be done to solve the problem.
Other residents expressed concerns about the problems stemming from use of the quarry, but more than one person out of the crowd of the more than 15 that attended the meeting said that the intent was not for the quarry to be shut down.
When McDonough addressed the select board, he said he believed there were two central issues.
"One, some of the things that you have alluded to on Kelly Road - I think the behavior of some of the visitors is despicable, but I can't address that as a private citizen," said McDonough. "The actions that people are complaining about
McDonough said that he drove down the road on Saturday afternoon - a time when the area was crowded - and did not believe that a situation existed at that time where a fire truck or an ambulance could not get through the area. However, he conceded that at a different point in the day that could have been the case.
McDonough said he examined several possible solutions to the problem. His initial proposal was to clear the east side of Kelly Road and include parking in that area. However, he was told by excavators that a number of problems existed with that solution. Not only would the solution be expensive, but McDonough said it also may affect his liability relative to the quarry.
At the meeting on Tuesday evening, McDonough suggested that they widen the east side of Kelly Road - allowing parking on both sides of the road - and then eliminating parking on the north side of Kelly Road. McDonough said he was willing to donate the land and the trees in that area in an effort to solve the problem.
"From my standpoint that would give the residents of Black Rock Road ready access from the north end of Kelly Road," McDonough said.
There was another proposal that would seal off Kelly Road entirely, which he felt was a negative solution. Additionally, McDonough said the problem exists for about three months out of the year and during that time it was primarily holidays and weekends that the congestion occurred. He felt that sealing Kelly Road off and forcing traffic to go to the north would be a "major inconvenience" since most people were headed south.
Select board member Tim Burke asked about another possible option.
"You had mentioned that you would donate the land, or something to that effect, a little while ago to make parking on the south," Burke said. "To me the safest proposal would be for the Black Rock Road to go straight out the end of Black Rock Road out onto Route 30."
Burke asked McDonough if he would consider letting the town have the land in that section. McDonough demurred from that proposal, saying that lot was a separate building lot and if he divided it in half it would no longer have value.
Other possible solutions were discussed before the select board as well on Tuesday evening. Brian Beavin suggested closing the south end of Kelly Road and then prohibiting parking on the north end. Resident Bob Menson said his wife, Joan Menson, questioned whether the area could be established as a Vermont State Park and come under the regulation and control of the state. Select Board Chairman Chris Brooks said that they would look into that.
The Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans) also surveyed the right of way of the roads and came up with alterative sketches for the area. Ultimately though, the board decided Tuesday night to examine possible options by working with McDonough as well as examining the options created from the VTrans sketches.
While there were some residents there who voiced their concerns over the parking issues and emergency vehicle access, others - such as Sally Gibney - expressed their support of the quarry.
"This quarry is not just a swimming hole. It's something of a landmark," said Gibney. "It means so much to so many people. I do not question the validity of your concerns about the parking and all of the other issues. They're very real. So, I'm not here to question that. I'm just saying that I hope in some way there can be a compromise."