A sand mine in Castle Hayne could soon be a step closer to becoming a reality.
Whether it does depends, in part, on what happens at the Thursday night New Hanover County Planning Board meeting. But a public meeting about the project in December left Castle Hayne residents with questions and concerns about the project -- and almost no clear answers.
Even the minutes from the December 20th meeting reveal a palpable skepticism among community members over the real purpose of the sand mine. Held in an unmarked – and some residents say – hard-to-find building at 9 AM on a Friday, representatives from Hilton Properties explained their intention to use most of a 62-acre tract in Castle Hayne for the project.
That usage requires the property to be rezoned, and the request is on the agenda for the February 6th Planning Board meeting.
At the public meeting on the project in December, one resident asked whether the sand mine would be used for a nearby Department of Transportation project. Hilton reps said there was no connection but they couldn't say where the sand would ultimately go or who might buy it.
Another question was raised about the impact of mine operations on an existing plume of pollution from the adjacent General Electric property. That question was also deflected.
One person asked whether the sandpit traffic would create dust. The presenters said they'd adhere to any guidelines and requirements put forth by the planning department to keep dust down.
At both the public meeting and this week, several stakeholders asked for another public meeting that is centrally-located, easily accessible, and hosted by speakers who are prepared to offer substantial answers as part of an earnest public discussion.