Neighbors concerned over proposed mining operation

by: Greg Suskin Updated:


YORK COUNTY, S.C. - A rock quarry could open in rural York County near the state line, and neighbors are speaking out hoping to stop it.
The 40-acre site is along ridge road, just west of green pond road, north of clover.  Currently, it's open grass fields and wooded land.
Standing out on ridge road in northern York County, you hear almost nothing.  There are horses and cattle here, along with the occasional passing car on a quiet country road.
Homeowners like Nancy Bryant, want to keep it that way.
"It’s quiet, peaceful. No traffic. Lots of wildlife," she said.
However, the owners of the site just down ridge road, hope to see Martin Marietta materials develop the fields into a massive rock quarry.
They want the zoning changed from residential to agricultural.
Bryant has many concerns at the very top.
"The noise pollution, and what it will do to the water, because everyone around here has wells," she said.
A small, barely visible sign on the property line advertises a public hearing next month, on June 2.
However, neighbors are already ahead of the game.  Dozens of them received flyers this week, showing maps of the proposed site, and urging them to get involved now. 
Here's where the process stands.  York county planners have already recommended that the zoning of the land be changed which could one day make the mine a reality.  However, several county council votes are needed along the way, and also public hearings, and a permit from Department of Health and Environmental Control before that happens.
Late Thursday, Channel 9 spoke with Paxton Badham, a spokesman for Martin Marietta materials.  The company operates 300 quarries in 35 states, and has one already in rock hill off porter road.
Badham said the proposed quarry location is a good one because there is so much visible granite on the surface, easily seen when you drive by.
He estimates about 80 trucks a day would enter the quarry empty, and leave loaded with rock.  However, that could be years off, once permits are obtained and approval is granted.
Badham said he understands neighbors’ concerns and hopes they will be involved in the process and ask questions.  As for the quarry itself, "we can do this safely and with minimal impact to neighbors there," he said.  "We’ve done this many times before."
The rock mined at the site would be used in construction to make concrete, asphalt, and line road beds.
Channel 9 tried to contact York County Councilman Bruce Henderson who represents that district.  He had not responded to our phone calls or emails as of late Thursday.
The public hearing on June 2 addresses only the rezoning of the site, not the proposed quarry.