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City Council has final say on allowing sand mines in specific zoning districts

Washington’s Planning Board is recommending the City Council deny a request to allow sand mines in the city’s RA-20 zoning districts.

The board, during its meeting Tuesday, voted unanimously on Jane Alligood’s motion to make that recommendation. The City Council has final say on the request to amend the city’s zoning rules to allow mining operations in the residential/agricultural-20 zones.

During its March meeting, the board decided it wanted to discuss the request with B.E. Singleton & Sons and its consultant, Harry Bailey, before making a recommendation to the council, which has final say on amending the zoning ordinances. B.E. Singleton & Sons wants to mine sand on a parcel of land on Cherry Lane Road, which is located within the city’s extra-territorial jurisdiction. Roper-based Sly Fox Farm LLC owns the land, which is on the west side of Cherry Lane Road. Sly Fox Farm has no objection to the land being mined for sand.

Bailey and Charles E. Manning III, president of B.E. Singleton & Sons, discussed the proposed sand-mine site and activities with the board. They said the sand-mine operations would not significantly affect traffic in the area, increase noise levels or adversely affect the quality of groundwater, from which some residents in the area draw their drinking water.

“There’ll be no blasting. There’ll be no pumping of water, so adjacent wells will not be affected,” Manning said during an interview in April.

Several residents who live adjacent to the proposed mine site questioned those statements, adding that a mining operation would disrupt the residential character of the area. They said a proposed 300-foot buffer between their houses and the mine would not be adequate to prevent noise and dust from reaching their houses. Their concerns were similar to concerns raised by board members in March.

“You’re going to have noise there. … I would say no to this for sure,” Vito Maurizzio told the board.

Board members questioned if mining operations are appropriate in areas that are mostly residential.

“I don’t want it in my backyard. I don’t want it in their backyards,” board member Jane Alligood said.

About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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