Residents of Hamptonville disappointed the Yadkin County Planning Commission meeting on Monday night and cast 3-2 votes in favor of a rezoning request that would enable a total mine near West Yadkin Elementary School. The meeting on Monday was the third time the board heard information from representatives of mining companies in favor of the application and comments from local residents who opposed the project.
The parcel in question is near 3641 Hwy US 21 in Hamptonville and is currently zoned as rural agriculture. The Three Oaks Quarry, owned by real estate developer Jack Mitchell, has demanded that the 322-acre plot be rezoned to the manufacturing industry (MI-1).
Three Oaks Quarry has submitted a long document to the County Planning Commission on the steps and mitigation measures taken to minimize the impact on local and neighboring assets. Neighboring real estate owners and residents spoke at a meeting of planning and county committees expressing fierce opposition to having a mine “in the center of the Hampton Building community.”
After being advised by the Planning Commission on Monday to approve the rezoning, the issue was transferred to a hearing in front of the Yadkin County Commission, which may be scheduled for the next meeting at 7:00 pm on July 18. Is high.
After hearing from both sides at the previous two meetings, the Planning Committee on Monday called on speakers who agree or disagree with the request for rezoning to present only new information. Planning Committee members also address questions from the previous meeting from the Three Oaks Quarry regarding water usage, economic impact on surrounding assets, and safety data for other mines operated by the company. I received a big note for.
In his opening comments to the board, Tom Terrell, a lawyer representing the Three Oaks Quarry, mentioned the company’s efforts to address concerns from residents and the board.
“We’re stepping up because we’re looking for more conditions to mitigate, and we’re working with you in every way, so we’re working to alleviate our concerns,” Terrell said. I am.
Terrell also addressed the licensing issue of engineers and geologists working on the project, anticipating comments from attorney Daniel Johnson, who represents community members who oppose mining.
“The problem with this license came up, it’s a red herring,” Terrell said.
In a comment, Johnson claimed that members of a consulting agency acting on behalf of the Three Oaks Quarry were not licensed for geological research or engineering work in North Carolina.
“Despite Mr. Terrell’s opposition, there are some serious issues with the licensing of the company submitting the information to you,” Johnson said.
“You don’t have to be a licensed engineer to talk to the county about zoning applications. This is the rule someone is showing you,” Terrell said. “But this study is done by Brent Johnson. He is involved. Johnson is a North Carolina-licensed professional geologist. He is a designer and interpreter. And oversees all hydrogeological studies. “
Johnson further stated that there was “a public inquiry by both the Engineering Approval Committee and the Geologist Approval Committee” regarding the documents submitted to the county by the agency representing the Three Oaks Quarry.
In his comments, Johnson reiterated continued opposition from the local population.
“The meeting rooms are full and the community’s opposition to this application is uniform. Only the company owners and various experts outside the region are here in favor of the mining business,” he said. rice field.
Following additional comments from both groups and discussions from the board, it was finally time for a motion to move on to voting. After a pause of about 20 seconds, Teresa Swain, a member of the planning committee, petitioned to approve the rezoning application.
There was an immediate voice reaction from the residents of Hampton Building with multiple gasps, “Oh no!”. As a result, Chairman Dean Sweim rang the gavel quickly.
“Please respect the deliberations of this board,” he said.
The motion was subsequently endorsed by Resha Peregrino-Brimah, a member of the Planning Commission.
Before moving on to a board vote, Steve Brown, a member of the Planning Commission, said, “In rural agricultural districts aimed at protecting rural areas from the invasion of non-agricultural land use that could cause annoyance. I mentioned the section of the county’s land use plan, which is detrimental to the quality of life. “
“I think we should consider that,” Brown said.
“I think the plan is really great, if you’re going to build the quarry the way I want,” he said. “But there are some things that don’t match future land use plans.”
The final vote of the board was 3-2, with members Jerry Hutchens, Resha Peregrino-Brimah and Teresa Swain in favor of rezoning, while Dean Swaim and Steve Brown opposed.
Contact Kitsey Burns Harrison at 336-258-4035 or follow her on Twitter and Instagram @news_shewrote.