Proposed sand mine stirs up concerns amongst Hampstead neighbors


HAMPSTEAD, NC (WWAY) — A proposed sand mine, which would be right in some people’s backyards, had a crowd fired up tonight at a meeting Hampstead.

The land is zoned for a mixed-use development. However, developers want to turn 500 acres into a sand mine.

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“Ten years of digging,” neighbor Winifred Meiser said. “We’re going to have a whole generation growing up breathing that stuff.”

“We’re concerned about the noise,” neighbor Peter Rawitsch said. “We’re concerned about the air quality.”

At an informational meeting Tuesday night, there was a packed house and plenty of emotion.

“We’re concerned about the potential harm to our water wells and our water source,” Rawitsch said. “We’re concerned about not only our neighborhood, but the children.”

The land runs behind Topsail schools, several neighborhoods and out to Highway 17.

“I’m actually shocked that they could have it somewhere so close to all that development,” Meiser said. “It’s already been invested in by the public and the school system for the health and welfare and education of our kids.”

Dozens shared their concerns with the developer, who wants to rezone the land.

Rawitsch, who lives in a nearby neighborhood, started a petition asking commissioners to deny this request.

“We’re concerned about the increased traffic it will have on Highway 17,” Rawitsch said. “So, we’re concerned about the safety of children and families.”

The developer says there will already be more traffic and noise to come with the Hampstead bypass.

Some neighbors are more worried about what things will look like further down the road.

“People are part of this ecosystem, so what we do to the ecosystem, we do to ourselves,” neighbor Andy Wood said.

Rawitsch says he would prefer to see the land stay zoned for mixed-use because another development for families is a better fit.

No decisions were made at Tuesday’s meeting.

The rezoning request will have to be approved by the Planning Commission and Board of Commissioners.