By Paul Gable
A request for an expanded mine permit from Horry County by RCPS Properties has caused controversy recently among some residents of the Carolina Forest neighborhood area.
If approved, the permit would expand the current footprint of the mine to a total of 301 acres. Most of the mining takes place behind the Sparks Toyota and Dunkin Donuts properties between West Perry Road and Myrtle Ridge Drive off U.S. 501.
The mining operation has been owned RCPS Properties since 1996 and operates on an expanse of land which has been mined since the 1950’s.
According to RCPS Properties general manager Justin Harris, approval of the permit will not result in an increase in volume of the mining operations.
“We are not looking to increase the amount of fill dirt leaving the mine,” said Harris. “We are looking to increase the area from which we can mine the dirt.”
Harris said RCPS Properties loads about 100 trucks per day, on average, with its current operations. That dirt is used on a variety of public and private projects around the county including the U.S. 17 Bypass project by the back gate of the former Air Force Base and the widening of Hwy 707.
The application was to have been considered by the county’s Infrastructure and Regulation Committee last week, but the committee process was delayed at the request of an attorney representing RCPS Properties.
“As you know, my clients are very interested in being the best neighbors they can in all their endeavors. Given the public interest of late, it seems appropriate for us to take some time to speak to any members of the local community who may have concerns about my clients’ intended operations,” read the letter in part.
Opposition to the application arose recently in the form of a petition by some Carolina Forest residents. The opposition to the RCPS request may be a reaction to the controversy that has surrounded the Cottonpatch mining operation in the Carolina Forest area over the last two years.
Harris said he believes the best way to ease people’s minds about what is being planned at RCPS Properties is to invite people to visit the site.
An open house for residents and media will be held at the RCPS site beginning at 10 a.m. Wednesday September 19, 2012. A presentation on the expansion will be made followed by a question and answer session with RCPS officials.
“We want everyone to make an informed decision about the project based on its merits,” said Harris. “We believe the best way to ease people’s minds about our operations is to see the site. We will be available to answer questions for as long as necessary.”