Council will vote again on city mining operations

Published 4:18 pm Wednesday, July 4, 2018


Washington’s City Council, during its meeting Monday, will conduct a second reading on a proposal to amend the city’s zoning regulations to allow mining operations in the residential/agricultural-20 zones with a special-use permit.

After that reading, the council will vote on the matter.

At its June 11 meeting, the council voted 3-2 on a motion to allow mining operations in the RA-20 zones, but that 3-2 vote was not enough for the motion to pass. For that motion to have passed, two thirds of the council members would have needed to vote for it on the first reading of the proposed amendment. When the council votes Monday, a simple majority vote in the affirmative would allow the motion to pass.

At the June 11 meeting, Council members Virginia Finnerty, Richard Brooks and Roland Wyman voted in the affirmative during the council’s meeting Monday. Council members Doug Mercer and William Pitt voted in the negative. The Planning Board had recommended the council not amend the zoning regulations.

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 as 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.

At the board’s May meeting, residents near the proposed sand mine site voiced concerns with noise, pollution of well-water sources and increased heavy truck traffic in the area near the proposed sand mine,

John Rodman, the city’s director of community and cultural resources, told the council that allowing mining in an RA-20 zone would not automatically result in mining activities. Before someone could begin mining an area, that person would have to obtain a special-use permit from the city’s Board of Adjustment. Under that provision, requests to begin mining operations would be addressed on a case-by-case basis, he said.

The council members who favor amending the zoning regulations to allow mining in the RA-20 zone indicated they believe requiring a special-use permit for a mining operation provides a layer of review to determine if mining is appropriate in a specific area within an RA-20 zone. Council members who oppose amending the zoning rules indicated they don’t believe mining operations are appropriate within the RA-20 zone.

The council meets at 5:30 p.m. Monday in the Council Chambers in the Municipal Building, 102 E. Second St. To view the council’s agenda for a specific meeting, visit the city’s web­site at, click “Government” then “City Council” heading, then click “Meeting Agendas” on the menu to the right. Then click on the date for the appropriate agenda.







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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