The mining operations at Red Wing Properties’ site on White Schoolhouse Road in Rhinebeck have been halted because the company has no legal way into the site any more.
And according to Rhinebeck town land use attorney John Lyons, unless Red Wing can produce physical evidence showing they have a legal right to use the only access road into the mine, they won’t be able to mine until a new access point is found.
The road into the mine, at 234-286 White School House Road, is a private one owned by Steven Lobotsky, also of White Schoolhouse Road. He revoked the company’s ability to use the road earlier this year shortly after the special permit application came up for renewal. The original road use agreement was an informal one between Lobotsky and the mine’s previous owner, Vincent Kinlan, but it has not been formally extended to Red Wing. And the company has not produced written evidence of any such agreement despite requests by the Rhinebeck planning board.
Eileen Doherty, Vice President of Red Wing Properties, based in Stormville, confirmed to the Observer that mining at the site cannot continue until the access issue is resolved.
At the June 2 planning board meeting, Lyons told the board that as things stand now, Red Wing has no legal access to its mining operations in Rhinebeck. The issue arose during the board’s consideration of Red Wing’s application to renew a mining permit that already has state approval.
“The special use permit application that is in front of you right now is premised on access being gained over the Lobotsky parcel,” he said.
Lobotsky had submitted a letter to the board, dated June 2, which reads in part, “Do they have legal access to our property? We say no. We stand by the fact that they do not, nor has Red Wing ever openly or legally had access to our property.”
The Lobotskys informed the planning board that the casual agreement between them and Kinlan was based upon the stipulation that Kinlan’s use of the access road not interfere with their ability to farm on their property and they maintained the right to revoke access permission at any time.
The family told the board that the non-legally binding agreement was never extended to Red Wing, and that the company’s use of their property has hindered their ability to farm and destroyed a historic barn on the premises.
The mining operation’s controversial proposal to introduce a 9-acre subaqueous mine (lake) within the current 38-acre area has become a hot-button issue for many residents of Rhinebeck, who have been very vocal on the subject at recent public hearings.
An application by Red Wing to expand the mine even further — to 141 acres with an 84-acre lake (out of the property’s total 237 ) — is stalled before the state Department of Environmental Conservation and is also drawing concern from neighbors.
Sue Greenberg, a White Schoolhouse Road resident opposed to Red Wing’s permit application, reminded the planning board that the company had been given a March 17 deadline to submit written documentation on the question of access and still has not delivered.
In light of this, the planning board, minus chair Michael Trimble who had recused himself, read a draft resolution declaring that the Red Wing special use permit application was incomplete.
They then tabled consideration of the application, pending the company’s submission of documentation showing legal access to the Lobotskys’ road by a new deadline of September 15.