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Caroline planners approve proposed sand and gravel mine

The Caroline County Planning Commission recommended approval Wednesday of a sand and gravel mine on the Moss Neck Plantation property owned by the Silver Cos. on U.S. 17.

The vote was split, however.

Commissioners Percell Minor Jr., Timothy Thompson and William Smith all voted to recommend approval while Les Stanley and Bob Fiumara opposed it.

Stanley said he has concerns about allowing another sand and gravel mine to operate in the U.S. 17 corridor while others already exist there, and how the mine will change the character of the area as laid out in the county’s Comprehensive Plan. The land where the sand and gravel mine will go is designated agricultural and rural preservation, which is why a special-exception permit is needed. If all the mines opened, it would make the area more industrial, which was not originally intended.

Fiumura said he has concerns about the traffic that the mine will bring to the U.S. 17 corridor.

The mine was originally presented to the board in June, but the vote was deferred until the commissioners could have their questions answered by the applicant.

Maryland-based Chaney Enterprises plans to use 544 acres of the 1,209-acre property for mining. Representatives said at previous meetings that no more than 30 acres would be used at one time. Of those 30 acres, 10 would be used for mining, 10 for preparation and 10 for reclamation.

At a previous meeting, there were several public comments, both in favor of and against the mine, and the Planning Commission received a letter opposing the mine from adjoining property owner Gil Shelton and a petition of people opposed to the mine.

County staff imposed a list of 34 conditions for the mining company to meet before the permit is approved.

Some of the conditions include:

Submitting a site plan within 12 months of the date of approval

Applying for the necessary permits within a year of the county’s approval

Maintaining a financial guaranty in an amount of $3,000 per acre

Ensuring the land is restored to a safe and usable condition

Maintaining the road and making improvements.

The site will have berms that will block the view of the mining from the surrounding roads.

A balloon test was completed on Aug. 18 to show the location of the stationary equipment to demonstrate from different vantage points what would be visible. A balloon was raised 30 feet into the air where the equipment would go. The planners will forward their recommendation on to the Board of Supervisors, which will review the request.

Meanwhile, at the Planning Commission’s next session it will elect a new chair and vice chair after Chairman Pete Davis resigned earlier this month.

Robyn Sidersky: 540/374-5413; rsidersky@freelancestar.com

 

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