Quarry Foes Get Hearing

Tentative Date: June 24

WINNSBORO – A public hearing on a proposed granite quarry off Rockton Thruway is tentatively scheduled for June 24, Interim County Administrator Milton Pope said Tuesday night. The meeting would be held in the Fairfield Central High School auditorium, Pope said, in order to accommodate an expected large crowd.

Dorothy Brandenburg, a Rockton Thruway resident who has been the point person on organized opposition to the proposed quarry, said that while her largest current concern was the impact of the quarry on the local water table, another pressing concern was truck traffic on the narrow gravel road.

“I would like to see some type of investigation into the classifications as stated in land ordinance 596, article 3, subsection 26 (minor roads),” Brandenburg said. “I just want to make sure we don’t have these large trucks on our minor roads.”

Brandenburg said she would like to see this part of the ordinance strengthened, if not in the face of the currently proposed quarry, then for future potential quarries in the county.

Randy Sisk, another Rockton area resident, said the train traffic associated with hauling crushed stone in and out of the mine could affect the response times of Fairfield County’s emergency service providers.

“Every time there’s a train that’s coming into this area, it’s going to have to stop and cross Golf Course Road 13 times to put a car in and take one out,” Sisk said. “This is going to take an extremely long delay for emergency crews if there is a fire, a medical emergency or law enforcement (emergency). It’s going to take them another 15 minutes to come back into 11th Street and come back around.”

Lisa Brandenburg, meanwhile, asked Council why they could not put the kibosh on the quarry.

“If you have an application process through this county,” Lisa Brandenburg asked, “then why can County not either accept or deny any application that’s made based upon the merit of the application?”

But Pope said the application for Winnsboro Crushed Stone, which was submitted to the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) on March 13, is entirely in DHEC’s hands.

“The application is approved by DHEC, not the County,” Pope said. “Even the public hearing is a state process based upon the criteria DHEC has.”

The property in the proposed mining area is zoned RD-1, Pope said, which allows for mining with conditions. For the County to attempt to change the zoning with the application already in progress, Pope said, could be risking a long and expensive legal challenge from the company.

“The County has to be very cautious on how we move forward on any action,” Pope said, “because it could get litigious.”

Pope said the issue of the use of minor roads is something that needs further study, adding that he would like to see “the site plan itself, where those things actually come out so we can definitively say what is a major (road) and what is not.

“One of the things that we need, just like a lot of the citizens need, is additional information,” Pope said. “We don’t have all the information; just the permitting information.”

For additional information regarding the proposed quarry, see the May 23 and May 16 editions of The Voice. Public information on the mining application can be found on the DHEC website at: http://www.scdhec.gov/PublicNotices/Land/

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