Meriden quarry places stakes along Chauncey Peak ridge

Meriden quarry places stakes along Chauncey Peak ridge

Record-Journal


MERIDEN — A surveyor contracted by Suzio York Hill Trap Rock Quarry Co. has placed dozens of wooden stakes near the trail and wooded area atop the ridge of Chauncey Peak, however, Suzio officials say the excavation of the mountaintop is years away.

The Suzio company’s survey of the property began prior to the city’s $12,000 land survey last year, however, the stakes were placed in the ground within the last several months, said quarry co-owner Leonardo Suzio.

He declined to name the company hired for the survey, but noted the surveyor was in communication with the city’s surveyor.

Suzio assured there were not immediate plans to begin mining the peak. Excavation is currently taking place near Westfield Road.

“It would be several years, I would think, before we would get even close to that area,” Suzio said.

The stakes appear to run from the southern cliffs through a wooded area and along the trail near the west peak of the mountain, with stakes being placed within a few feet of the trail in some places. A 1963 deed in city land records prohibits mining within 50 feet of Chauncey Peak along the ridge line.

“We did our survey just to assure that we were not within the 50-foot buffer,” Suzio said.

The company has an agreement with the Connecticut Forest & Park Association to allow access to the trail, which is one of the most popular hiking spots on the Mattabessett Trail according to Clare Cain, the association’s trails stewardship director. The once steep trail from Giuffrida Park up to Chauncey Peak was relocated last year to wind up the mountain with less of an extreme slope.

Cain said she was not aware of the stakes being placed on the top of the mountain.

Negotiations on preserving the popular hiking spot ceased early this year with the death of community leader Phil Ashton, who had spearheaded talks between the Meriden Land Trust and the Suzios. While former Meriden City Manager Roger Kemp said he would be continuing negotiations, as of July he had yet to meet with company owners. Kemp could not be reached for comment Friday.

Suzio York Hill has been involved in several major construction projects statewide, including the construction of the recently opened Pauli Murray College and Benjamin Franklin College at Yale University’s campus, which increased undergraduate enrollment at the school by 15 percent. The company is finishing up work on Fedex’s new distribution Center in Middletown and was also contracted to do work on a new science center planned for Yale’s campus.

The projects have not had an impact on the rate of excavation, Suzio said.

“The rate is pretty consistent, but there were some big jobs so they do take a lot of stone,” Suzio said.

While Cain said she hoped the trail could remain a place for hikers to explore, she noted the association’s agreement with the Suzios includes a clause allowing for termination.

“It’s not a binding agreement,” Cain said. “We want to see the trail stay there. It’s one of our most scenic and iconic places on the trail so we look forward to working with the landowner to make sure the trail stays up there, but it is private property so that’s part of the deal.”

ltauss@record-journal.com 203-317-2231 Twitter: @LeighTaussRJ-


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