Until Oct. 26, the battle between a group of homeowners in Sparta and the nearby limestone quarry was low-key: just a few neighbors complaining about noise, night lights, smells and dust emanating from the site, which had been recently taken over by a giant cement manufacturer.

True, the organized group had put pressure on the township and the company, turning out strong at council meetings and holding a July rally, with vows to petition for a change of the form of government to kick the mayor and council out.