CHESTER COUNTY, S.C. - Wednesday was the first day Chester County residents could voice concerns to state health officials about a proposed granite mine.
Virginia-based company Luck Stone is planning to open a large granite mine off Highway 9.
The 287-acre site is bordered by Boise Cascade Wood Products to the east, Highway 9 to the south, a railroad to the north and mostly farmland to the west. The closest major road is McCandless Road, which is just over a half-mile away toward Chester.
There are, however, dozens of homes in a rural community behind the site off Highway 72.
Joanna Timms loves the quiet of her neighborhood but worries it may not last.
She's concerned about blasting that would take place at the site.
"It would shake the walls. It would rattle the windows" she said. "They did confirm that we will definitely feel the blasts, and it would be frequent."
Officials with Luck Stone confirmed that fact in May at a community meeting where they spoke to residents.
They plan to alert residents through a phone call or text on days blasting will happen, which will be about once a week.
Other neighbors we spoke to weren't aware the mining operation was in the works.
The permit application for the mine shows it will be a maximum of 500 feet deep and there will be blasting. Explosives will not be stored on-site, the company said.
Luck Stone will also require an air quality permit for emissions.
The company's application claims there will be "no direct physical hazards to the surrounding community."
Luck Stone's development director, Ben Thompson, told Channel 9 over the phone the business wants to be a good neighbor and it will work with the community.
"The support that we show for the community is the support that we hope to garner for ourselves," he said. "We want to be a part of Chester County."
The company operates 18 other quarries in other states.
The site plan shows Chester Middle School, which is a little less than 1 mile away, is outside of any possible impact, the company said. There will, however, be 12 to 14 trucks an hour traveling on Highway 9.
Those large trucks will affect traffic on Highway 9 and will run five days a week. Some of those will also on Saturdays.
Timms said she and her neighbors are also concerned about their drinking water.
The mining company said it will monitor groundwater. The company has also filed documents with the Army Corps of Engineers related to wetlands, potentially endangered species and archeological sites on the 287 acres.
Those studies uncovered no concerns and there's a plan to divert a creek through the property.
"The reality is that a project will not move forward if it is deemed to have potential to impact properties off-site," Thompson said.
The mine still faces several hurdles. The state Department of Health and Environmental Control has to approve the needed permits after the public comment period ends Aug. 1.
After that, Chester County leaders will also have to approve the plan.
What happens next in the process may depend on what state health officials hear from the public.
If approved, the mine could be operating in two to three years. As required by law, Luck Stone also submitted a required reclamation plan with DHEC. That plan outlines steps to restore the land post-mining.
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