Barnhill Contracting Company received Richmond County Planning Board approval to expand its mining operation into the Wayman Chapel area of Hamlet on Tuesday, a plan that brought several community members to a public hearing.
Barnhill representative Benjamin Carr said the sand mining would create a hole about 15 feet deep, which would be surrounded by a 25-foot-wide berm, six feet tall. The permit is a 10-year permit, and after the mining is complete, the land must be restored back to pasture land, according to the company’s bond. The sand will only be used at its asphalt plant.
“We won’t be mining every day,” said Carr. “Just based on needs. It would be only for us. We are not selling it.”
Kim McCall spoke during the public hearing. Her property and home sit directly beside the area to be mined, along Wayman Chapel Road.
“I am the person that’s in front of you,” said McCall to the planning board, who directed the statement to the Barnhill representative. “How deep will the hole be? How close is Barnhill going to be from my backyard? What are you using?”
Carr mentioned the depth of the 15 foot hole, with a 25-foot buffer between the mining area and the property line.
“The buffer in place will be to protect landowners,” said Carr. “We’ll put up a berm to screen what we are doing. We’ll be using a big shovel, no explosives.”
McCall said she was concerned about damage to her foundation and disturbance to her well water. Carr assured there would be no damage to her foundation and the mining operation should not affect the water table because they won’t be digging that deep.
Thadius Mumford also lives in the Wayman Chapel community. He had concerns about property nearby that was previously mined but then became dumping grounds for shingles.
“If you dig a hole, people are going to put things in it,” he said.
Cliff Harrington of Stallings said he has property in the area and is concerned about damage to wetlands and pollution run-off from asphalt trucks.
Carr said there is no wetland on the property in question, according to the North Carolina Department of Water Quality, who inspected the area. Carr also mentioned that public streets are made of asphalt and those do not pollute groundwater.
“I took a water sample,” McCall informed the Barnhill representatives. “I will get them checked again after y’all do this. We hope it will be OK. This is our community. We hope no one starts getting sick or anything. I did my homework on this. You can’t divide the earth. I’ve been out there nine years. It’s been so quiet.”
Harrington urged the board to have the county collect water samples before work begins, “so you have a point of reference for your records.”
The vote to approve the conditional use permit for Barnhill was unanimous.
In other action, the board:
• Approved a conditional use permit request from Unimin Corp. to expand existing sand mining operations located along Cognac Road, east of N.C. Highway 177.
• Approved a conditional use permit for T&S Investments to open and operate an Internet cafe on U.S. Highway 1 North just south of Hoffman, in a pre-existing commercial building previously doing business as the Sandhills Trading Post and Grill. Hours of operation will be from 8 a.m. to midnight. There will be no alcohol or food sales at the business.
• Granted Oak Grove Technologies, LLC a conditional use permit to open a military and law enforcement firing range and urban shoot house on property off U.S. Highway 1 north, just north of Hoffman and bordering Camp Mackall. The property is on Rushing Road. The managers of Oak Grove Technologies, LLC have agreed to allow Richmond County law enforcement agencies to use the shooting range at no cost.
— Staff Writer Dawn M. Kurry can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 15, or by email at email@example.com.