Mining operation planned in Carolina Forest

Horry County, SC - HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - People who live in certain subdivisions of Carolina Forest could soon be living near a sand mine, should area leaders approve a Grand Strand company's mining permit request.

Officials with Southern Asphalt have submitted a request to mine 15 acres of sand at the end of Gardner Lacy Road, which also overlaps an area of wetlands. The issue is expected to be discussed at a public hearing set for April 20 at 6 p.m. at the Horry County Council chambers.

Horry County Councilman Marion Foxworth said the two biggest concerns the county has is quality of life issues and to particularly protect the county roads.

Sand is often used to make concrete, but for Waterford Plantation resident Robby Haller, it's drawing concern because the proposed site plan is adjacent to his home.

"It's not even 100 yards away," said Haller.

Foxworth said he doesn't believe the site would be a threat to anyone based on an aerial picture of the plans.

The proposed site isn't only affecting the residents of Waterford Plantation. A closer look at the request reveals residents in Clear Pond and Walkers Woods will also have to deal with the sand mine.

"I really thought it was an April fool's joke," said Clear Pond Resident Mike Grubb. "I thought someone did a clever thing. I don't think there's an adjective that describes my distaste for it."

The red and white "Public Hearing" signs that are now lining Gardner Lacy Road aren't a trick, though. On first glance, some residents say the project could pose safety concerns for children and teens that live near the proposed site, especially when they learned it could be upwards of 30 feet deep.

"Kids play," said Tami Hinnerschitz, who lives in Clear Pond. "Kinds play and wander, and someone is going to end up hurt."

"Year in and year out, you hear about kids drowning in the water in a mine," added Jim Pomerantz. "Kids drowning in gravel pits, kids lost in a mine."

Pomerantz also says he's worried about noise, extra traffic and the likelihood his property value will diminish once Southern Asphalt sets up shop near his home.

"There's no incentive for anybody else to come in and buy," he said. "You're living next to a mine."

Opponents to the group set up a website at www.citizensforcarolinaforest.com.

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