Lancaster County rock quarry being debated Tuesday, residents in the neighborhood, lawyers stating their case

The mining would be a few thousand feet from a couple houses in the Lancaster County...
The mining would be a few thousand feet from a couple houses in the Lancaster County neighborhood.(Source: (Morgan Newell, WBTV))
Updated: Apr. 20, 2021 at 8:31 PM EDT
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LANCASTER COUNTY, S.C. (WBTV) - Neighbors are speaking out against a proposed rock quarry possibly coming to their community.

For months, people living near the site in Lancaster County have been showing up to meetings to lobby against it. They are concerned about how close it is to their homes. At 6, Lancaster County’s planning committee was packed with people ready to fight against this rock quarry, but the lawyer representing the property owner geared for a fight of his own.

UPDATE: Land owner withdraws bid for rock quarry in Lancaster County neighborhood

”It saddens me,” says Don Faile. “It really does.”

Don and his son Stacy Faile have lived in this area for years, but now they are concerned their tranquil rural escape will become anything but if a rock quarry come to the area.

”I don’t think anybody. Anybody would want a rock quarry in their backyard,” says Don Faile.

When he says backyard, he means it. Don Faile can stand right next to the entrance of the rock quarry and still be on his land. This is a huge concern for him for not only because of the health effects but also because of the proximity. He says he already lives near two rock quarries, both in a neighboring county but only about two miles away. He showed WBTV cracks in his brick and bathroom tile from the blasting shaking his house. He says it’s only because of the quarries a few miles away, so he cannot imagine what it would be like a few thousand feet away.

”My father’s 87 years old my mother’s 82,” says Stacy Faile. “They are not going to be able to pick up and move and find another location.”

”We know we’re a guest in this community in addition to being a neighbor. And we want to be a good neighbor,” says Alex Shissias, the property owner’s lawyers.

Shissias, who presented at the meeting, says he has an answer for most of the problems people in the community have brought up. That includes traffic and roads, property values, blasting and contaminated well concerns.

Here those are:

Traffic and Roads: Shissias says the company, Primo Holdings, is committed to getting a contract with the county to fix 100 percent of the road impacts made from the construction so that the roads are not messed up.

Well Concerns: People are concerned their wells are going to be contaminated with the dust from the blasting or potential spills. Shissias says they are going to make a well inventory and figure out who would need help if the wells got contaminated. He says if the wells are contaminated, the company is ready to put the house on the quarry’s water while they repair the well.

Blasting: South Carolina law, Section 89-150 - Surface Blasting Requirements, requires blasting to the limitation of one inch per second. Shissias says the company report says they will be at a much lower frequency than the state law permits. He says before mining, they will survey the area to make sure.

Buffer: The initial buffer was going to be 100 feet away from the area initially. The new buffer will be double, according to Shissias, at 200 feet of vegetation.

”If the response is ‘I don’t like it’ or ‘we don’t believe you’ we’re doing our best to respond to reasonable rational concerns,” says Shissias.

The environmental lawyer still has an uphill battle though. Planning staff have already recommended denying the request despite what Shissias calls “significant information and added protections.” The planning commission decided to go ahead and deny the request, 7-0. It now goes to the county council.

“For staff to pick that up and say we’re still denying this is very disheartening,” says Shissias.

He pressed forward with his presentation Tuesday night addressing all of the concerns in front of the commission. All three men hoping to get their way.

”Just like you, we have a right to use our property,” says Shissias.

”If they were here they wouldn’t want it,” says S. Faile. “It’s just gonna really put a lot of stress on us.”

This does not end with the planning commission. The recommendation they made will go to the council and the final decision will be from them.

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