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Council to consider request denied over sand mining concerns


By Seth Thomas Gulledge
The Daily Reflector

Thursday, August 9, 2018

The Greenville City Council tonight will consider a previously denied rezoning request that could allow for sand mining — a site use that neighbors voiced objections to in July. 

Following a traditional month-long break from meetings in July, the council will return to City Hall today at 6 p.m. to hold nine public hearings on possible annexation and rezoning requests, discuss job creation grants, alcohol on the Town Common, and so-called Airbnbs — homes available for short-term rent via the internet. 

The rezoning request before the council on Thursday was previously approved by the Planning and Zoning Commission and recommended by city staff except for one.

That request is from Happy Trail Farms, LLC for the 60.8 acres located between Belvoir Highway and Sunnybrook Road (Tract 1) and at the northeastern corner of the intersection of Belvoir Highway and Redmond Lane (Tract 2). The lot now is empty land, and the request would change the tracts from residential-agricultural and general commercial to industry for Tract 1, which contains 51 acres and heavy commercial for Tract 2, the remaining 9.8 acres

During a public hearing on the request during the July Planning and Zoning Commission meeting, about 20 residents of the neighboring area came out to oppose it, with many voicing their concerns that it would be adapted into a sand mine, much like an adjacent sand mine that had been operating for many years.

Mike Baldwin, who represented Happy Trail Farms at the hearing, did not say the land would be specifically used for sand mining, though much of the conversation between the public and commission was in regards to the specific use. However if approved, the rezoning would allow for many additional uses, including sand mining.

In May, Baldwin received unanimous approval from the commission for an ordinance amending the heavy commercial zoning to include sand mining, specifically.

Following the July hearing, a motion to deny the request was raised by John Collins and seconded by Hap Maxwell. The request was denied 6-2 with Max Ray Joyner III and Les Robinson voting against denial. All rezoning decisions made by the commission go on to be considered by the City Council. 

Also at the meeting:

■ The Council will hear a presentation regarding the creation of the Job Creations Grant program which has been in the works for about a year. The council has approved $100,000 for the program in the next fiscal year budget.

■ Mayor P.J. Connelly has requested the council hold a discussion on the regulation of Airbnb’s and other types of short-term rentals in the city. 

■ District 3 Councilman Will Bell has requested a discussion regarding the ordinance allowing for alcohol sales on the Town Common. 

■ Members of the Pitt County Coalition Against Racism and the Greenville chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference are expected to speak during the public comment period to lobby for a police oversight commission. 

Contact Seth Gulledge at Sgulledge@reflector.com and 252-329-9579. Follow him on Twitter @GulledgeSeth.