Mines: a detrimental effect on community

Published 7:10 pm Friday, August 3, 2018

To the Editor:

I’m writing this letter to make the citizens of Beaufort County and the City of Washington aware of a little known topic that the City Council is scheduled to vote on during the Aug. 13 meeting. A request has been made by B. E. Singleton & Sons, Inc. to allow mining and quarrying activities within RA-20 (Residential Agricultural) Zoning District. These areas are located all around Washington in the Extra Territorial Jurisdiction. A map showing these areas can be seen on the City of Washington website under the June 11, 2018 City Council Meeting Minutes (page 54) or in the Planning and Development office in the city’s administrative offices. You may not think that this action by the City Council affects you, but you may be getting a mine in your residential area soon.

The Council voted June 11 to approve the request, but because they didn’t have a two-thirds majority, a second vote is required. The June 11 vote was taken after an advisory board to the City Council, the Planning Board, voted unanimously (5-0) against the request.

Another vote is planned for Aug. 13 to determine the fate of the request.

Our communities of Tranters Creek Estates, Hillingdale and Arbor Bluff are targeted to be the first to have a mine in our front and back yards if the proposal is passed by the Council. We believe that operations such as a mine in residential areas will have a detrimental effect on our communities. Pitt County denied similar activities in June due to concerns about how sand mining would affect nearby residents. Namely, those concerns were the same as ours and include health, diminished property values, noise/vibration from heavy equipment, deterioration of state roads not designed for continuous heavy truck traffic and loss of wildlife habitat.

Mining sand is not a clean operation and dust clouds are common. We have several residents with chronic respiratory illnesses. Mining in close proximity of these residents will only exasperate those health issues.

We have documentation from credible realtors that property values will drop 30-50 percent if there is any noise, odor, smoke (dust) from commercial and industrial sources or in sight of those sources.

The noise associated with the mining operation is not only from diesel engines, but from backup alarms, tailgates on trucks slamming shut and constant movement of trucks. Rather than wake up to the call of woodpeckers, blue jays and other birds, we get to hear the sound of tractors and trucks.

The state road that accesses the proposed mine is not designed for continuous heavy truck traffic, therefore, we the taxpayers end up paying for additional maintenance.

I urge anyone who is opposed to mining and quarrying adjacent to residential areas to attend the Council Meeting on Aug. 13, call Council members or visit the City Planning Department and voice your opposition to the proposal to allow mining and quarrying in RA-20 zoned areas.

Herb Schmitt