Mining rezoning request tabled again

Attorney Tom Terrell points out locations on a map of the area in Hamptonville where Three Oaks Quarry has requested a rezoning for the purpose of an aggregate mine.

It was standing room only once again during Monday’s meeting of the Yadkin County Planning Board though again the decision regarding the rezoning of a Hamptonville property for purposes of an aggregate quarry was tabled. More than a dozen Hamptonville residents spoke during the April meeting against the proposal saying it was not in the best interest of the quiet community. The close proximity to West Yadkin School, health and environmental concerns and property values were all mentioned by area residents. Multiple speakers representing Three Oaks Quarry, which has proposed the project, addressed concerns saying they wanted to be “good neighbors” in the community and detailing mitigation efforts that would be in place to ensure minimal impact to the area.

At the start of Monday’s meeting it was announced that additional documents on behalf of the petitioner were submitted on April 29 and the staff had not yet had time to review the “extensive and technical” documents and make a recommendation to the board. The board was to have 60 days to review the rezoning request which would change the parcel of land from Rural Agriculture to Manufacturing Industrial 1 which would allow it to be a quarry.

Since the April meeting, petitioners for Three Oaks Quarry have altered their proposal somewhat, changing the size of the proposed mining pit from 61.5 acres to 49.6 acres. This change would create a larger buffer area between the pit and surrounding properties.

Daniel Johnson, a local attorney representing the community members opposed to the mine, addressed the board during the meeting indicating the parcel in question, which is surrounded by other rural agriculture zoned areas would be considered spot zoning and illegal.

“We contend this is a classic example of spot zoning and I would further submit that this is illegal spot zoning,” Johnson said.

“The size of the tract has to be considered in the context of the surrounding area,” he continued. “Here you have a section of Yadkin County in the Hamptonville area that is uniformly zoned as a rural agriculture use. At the last meeting Mr. Terrell basically said this is not spot zoning, it’s not a small tract. You have to look at the size of the tract in context with the other surrounding land use.”

Johnson went on to say that zoning the property in question as Manufacturing went against the County’s own comprehensive zoning plan.

Tom Terrell, attorney for Three Oaks Quarry, whom Johnson referred to, also spoke to the board. He again reiterated his view that the property in question did not qualify as spot zoning as it was not involving a small tract of land.

“I can tell you with great confidence this is neither spot zoning or illegal,” said Terrell.

Terrell added that an area south of the proposed site has been designated as area for economic growth and also noted that quarries typically are in rural areas.

A panel of representatives for Three Oaks Quarry answered questions from Planning Board members on a variety of topics from ground water levels, property values, increased traffic and general best practices used in aggregate mining to mitigate possible negative effects on the surrounding community.

Representatives for Three Oaks Quarry said the expected life of a such a mine would be around 40 years. It was noted that a reclamation plan would be part of the process and they hoped that the County would share input on possible public uses for the site at such time that the mine would be decommissioned.

John Cross, CEO of Turnkey Processing Solutions, the company which would operate the proposed mine also spoke to various best practices in keeping the mine safe for workers and causing minimal impact to the surrounding community. He said having a committee council of neighboring property owners has often been done with other quarries he has operated to ensure minimal negative impact on the community.

The matter regarding the rezoning was tabled to the June 13 Yadkin County Planning Board meeting.