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Sand mine request gets another hearing

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A company that operates Pea Creek Mine on Sheppard Mill Road want to start up another mine nearby. Neighboring residents are opposed.

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Ginger Livingston
The Daily Reflector

Monday, June 19, 2017

Residents of Sheppard Mill Road are planning today to protest a conditional use permit request that would allow a new sand mine to operate in their area.

The permit is scheduled for consideration after a public hearing at the Pitt County Board of Commissioners’ 6 p.m. meeting in the second-floor Eugene James Auditorium of the Pitt County Office Building, 1717 W. Fifth St.

It is the second public hearing on Southern Land and Timber's permit request. The company wants to operate a sand mine on a parcel of property owned by James and Jerry Emmert. It is located on Sheppard Mill Road south of its intersection with Satterthwaite Road, according to information provided to the county commissioners. The property is 276.38 acres. The company wants to use nearly 139 acres for the sand mine.

A conditional use permit allows a property owner to use their land in a way not otherwise permitted in a particular zoning district if the owner follows certain stipulations.

A public hearing on the request held in April also drew protests. Another sand mine owned by Southern Land and Timber already operates in the area, creating noise and truck traffic. A second mine would worsen the situation, opponents said.

They also worried another sand mine would harm the underground water table. An engineer working for the company said that wouldn't be a problem.

The commissioners referred the matter to the county planning board for review.

During the planning board's May 17 meeting, planner Eric Gooby said he and a deputy sheriff took decibel readings at the existing mine and found they did not exceed normal conversation levels.

When residents complained about the speed of the truck traffic, a planning board member recommended petitioning the Department of Transportation to lower the speed limit.

One of the residents suggested directing the truck traffic to Satterthwaite Road but planning staff said the county can't direct traffic flow.

The planning board voted 5-4 to recommend approving the permit with additional conditions. The added conditions were complying with all applicable state transportation department requirements and obtaining certification to prevent flooding in non-encroachment areas, which are where waterways are located.

In other business, the board is scheduled to hold two other public hearings on two rezoning requests initiated by staff.

The first request involves 5.2 acres of property located on the west side of Rams Horn Road just north of its intersection with U.S. 264 East. Staff said it would be rezoned from general commercial to rural residential to match the existing zoning in the district.

The property's owners, Kenneth and Deidre Briley, successfully petitioned the Board of Commissioners in April to rezone an adjacent parcel of property from general commercial to rural residential.

The other county-initiated request involves 3.1 acres of land located on the west side of Rams Horn Road just north of its intersection with U.S. 264 east and which is owned by George Briley.

The request is to rezone from general commercial to rural residential.

It will bring the property into compliance with a rezoning action the commissioners took in April on a nearby piece of property.

Also on Monday's agenda:

• The commissioners must decide which option should be selected to begin the Candlewick Area Sanitary Sewer system. Fifty-four homes were originally scheduled to receive sewer connections. One option would reduce that number to 21 homes and another option would reduce the number to 15 homes to meet higher-than-expected construction costs.

• A proclamation recognizing the Greenville Industrial-C.M. Eppes High School Alumni Association.

• A presentation about the Belvoir Area Athletic and Recreation Program.

• A review on proposed revisions to the county's travel policy.

Contact Ginger Livingston at glivingston@reflector.com or 252-329-9570. Follow her on Twitter @GingerLGDR.

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