Split decision by planning board prolongs debate on potential Castle Hayne sand mine


NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) —¬† A fight between neighbors and a proposed sand mine rages on. New Hanover County planning board members debated allowing the opertation to move in around Castle Hayne.

Years ago the plans to bring a sand mine to north New Hanover County were met with lawsuits locally and by the state. Its return Thursday night was met with similar hostility.

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“I would like for everyone that opposes this to stand up and make themselves known,” said River Bluff neighbor Bob Conger as dozens of other neighbors stood up in the meeting.

Steve Coggins represents Hilton Properties before the planning board. (Andrew James/WWAY)

That opposition goes back more than four years. A sand mine wants to come to north New Hanover County, but neighbors do not want it.

“When do I get to enjoy my property if this is allowed to go on,” asked neighbor Susan Murphy. “I think never if this is conditional rezoning and special use permit is granted.”

Hilton Properties brought the project back to county planning board members to re-zone 63 acres behind GE from rural to industrial. More than a dozen acres have a state approved permit to mine for sand. Something contractors say is in short supply around the county.

“We’re having to go outside of New Hanover County presently passing this site to go to Pender County and out into Brunswick County to bring those materials back in,” said Alan King who owns A.C. Clearing and Grading.

The developer says it could take up to 80 trucks a day to carry the material down Sledge and Hall roads. That is why the debate rages on about just how much damage the project would do to home values on the stretch of road they’re using.

“Heavy, noisy trucks, up to a hundred trucks a day, two hundred passes a day hurts a properties marketability,” said neighbor John Carroll.

Another area of concern is the reported uranium and other contaminant deposits that the developer says belong to discharge from GE. Their staff says it will not impact neighbors. In either phase 1 or phase 2 of the project.

“There is no reason to be concerned that any work on this property is going to affect the groundwater of any of the neighbors,” said attorney Bill Toole.

The planning board approved the conditional rezoning 5-1. They were apprehensive to approve the permit. Several board members were outspoken that the developer did not do enough to meet the requirements of the permit to take into part environmental impacts the project would have.

The developer did agree to pave half a mile of local road. However, board members still thought that was a rushed offer. They did not approve for the permit to allow mining on the property only because the developer requested the issue be continued to a later meeting.

The planning board will now wait to give the developer time to present a request for permit on the mine at their March meeting.