WINNSBORO — Fairfield County Council will hold a public hearing to discuss the proposed mining company — Winnsboro Crushed Stone — on June 24 (subject to change) at Fairfield Central High School’s Auditorium.
Interim County Administrator Milton Pope believes it is important for the community, county staff and the mining company to get off on the right foot and chose the high school because of the anticipated large crowd.
“Also made conversations with the school district to hold that meeting in the auditorium because there will be anticipated large crowd with many interests,” Pope told council on May 26.
Pope reiterated that there had been no discussion with the mining company and the county prior to receiving the information from DHEC, that an application had been filed.
As soon as the information was made available a link was placed on the county’s website to navigate interested parties to a site map, ownership parties and areas affected.
After a conversation last week with DHEC, Pope announced that a new site map will be produce because the current map doesn’t give the public an accurate view of the property impacted.
County Council Chairman David Ferguson suggested the engineers review the public’s questions, so they would be versed in the public hearing.
The application and permitting process is a process that is approved by DHEC, not the county. Even the public hearing is a state process.
After the application was submitted, Pope was contacted by Rick Moses, one of the principals in the mine. Pope recommended the mining company make a presentation itself.
“Just so that there is as much transparency and full disclosure as to what their plans are,” Pope advised. “At that point in time they will be there to verse the public and DHEC will be there to rebound any questions.”
The county’s Land Development Code, which was adopted in 2011, is a revised planning document and on the county’s website.
Pope explained there is a zoning matrix that list all the zoning categories that the county has, which dictates what uses can be enacted based upon the classification.
In the proposed area RD-1, mining is allowed with conditions.
Section 3.25 in the zoning code, specifies conditions to be met such as distance requirements and a reclamation plan.
The state agency DHEC doesn’t consider zoning in the process because it is a local matter.
Pope said a comparison of zoning codes was done with communities of like-size.
“In comparison, Fairfield County’s regulations are either on par or ahead of adjacent counties to us,” he advised.
Pope said there are letters from DHEC on record for all of the impacted and affected property owners
“I wanted to make sure that everyone impacted had received notification from DHEC,” he stated.
The county has the ability to change zoning, but Pope advised that the permit has already been filed and the county has to be very cautious with any action because it could get litigious.
“We need to make sure we accept all information and represent all of the public body before we respond to anything that may jeopardize the county in a legal aspect or have to expend legal funds,” he said.
One of the stipulations in the mining code says the company cannot use minor roads and Pope would like to see the site plan itself so the county can definitively make a judgment.
The county still needs additional information before moving forward Pope noted.
“There is a lot more information for DHEC to produce before the county articulate on these things,” he said.