MYRTLE BEACH — All parties agree that an open dialogue between the owners of a company looking to continue mining operations in Carolina Forest and the residents themselves have helped to alleviate some concerns.
Justin Harris, who owns RCPS Properties with other family members, acquired a large piece of property in 1996 that is close to what has become West Perry Road in Carolina Forest.
“It’s been mined continuously since the mid-50s,” Harris said about the land. His company, he added, took over the mining shortly after buying the property.
Now, they’re trying to get a county permit allowing them to continue mining operations for the next 25 years.
“We just want to extend our duration. We don’t look to increase volume at all,” Harris said.
Their plans were met with concerns from Carolina Forest residents, specifically its impact on traffic at the intersection of West Perry Road and U.S. 501.
“The traffic has always been the major concern,” said Robert Shelton, a Myrtle Beach attorney representing the company.
This week, Harris met with concerned citizens to address their fears. He appeared at both a public tour of the mine on Wednesday, and at a Carolina Forest Civic Association meeting that night.
Traffic was just one of the topics. Also causing the residents pause was worry the mine would operate at night and problems from dust.
Shelton said trucks wouldn’t run past 5:30 or 6 p.m. He added the company is only permitted to mine 75 acres at a time per its permit from the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control.
Bo Ives, with the Carolina Forest Civic Association, praised Harris for opening a dialogue with residents so their concerns can be included in the company’s application to the county.
“It was very productive, because residents got to speak out on what their concerns were. We were convinced of their sincerity,” Ives said.
Harris said there are still a lot of details to work out with the county and residents before their application is brought back before the Horry County Infrastructure and Regulation Committee.
It was originally on the I&R’s Sept. 6 agenda, but was removed at Shelton’s request so they could meet with folks in Carolina Forest, said Lisa Bourcier, Horry County spokeswoman.
She added the county is waiting on a request from the company to put the permit application back on the I&R agenda. From there, it would move on to County Council in the form of a resolution.
The next I&R meeting is Oct. 18, Bourcier said. Assuming the application is placed on that agenda, it wouldn’t come before full council until November.
Poll watchers training scheduled
The League of Women Voters of Horry County has scheduled a poll watcher/observer class, said Chairwoman Elizabeth Weems via email.
The class will take place Oct. 1 at Ryan’s Family Steakhouse, located at 2904 Church St., in Conway.
Lunch is at 11:30 a.m., and classes start at noon. Sandy Martin, director of Horry County Voter Registration, is instructing.
Contact BRAD DICKERSON at 626-0301.