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Proposed Sand Mine Receives Intense Criticism From Hampstead Residents

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Images by Katelyn Freund
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A Hampstead Resident holds a homemade sign in opposition to the proposed sand mine.

 

At a public hearing in Hampstead on Tuesday evening, residents of the area turned out to oppose a proposed sand mine behind Topsail Elementary School. The developer, who had originally planned to build homes on the site, is now seeking a re-zoning. Residents don’t like the idea.

  

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Hampstead Residents hold homemade signs in opposition to the sand mine.

  “This is a lovely community. It used to be rural, but it's really now become a suburban community with homes and families.”  

 

That’s Peter Rawitsch, one of about 100 neighbors who showed up at Tuesday’s Public Input Meeting wearing red in solidarity.  Most attendees had to wait outside the crowded 34-person meeting room, holding homemade signs in opposition to the proposed sand mine.

 

The developer of the property, Jamestown Pender LP, had originally planned a large mixed-use project designed to include almost 900 single-family residential units. But those plans changed when NCDOT took a portion of the developer’s property for the future Hampstead Bypass.

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The 34-person meeting room could not accommodate the large crowd that attended in opposition.

 

Russell Weil, an applicant on behalf of Jamestown Pender LP, says they have limited options now that they can’t develop the land as originally intended. They’re asking to rezone the 562 acre site.

 

But local resident Sara Brannon says this isn’t good planning for Hampstead.

 

“The sand mine is the biggest disaster to hit Hamstead in a long, long time. It's ridiculous. It's disruptive to the schools that are sitting there right next to the property. The environmental impact that it's going to have on the area is, I think, really unpredictable. The traffic issues that we have in this town are not going to be helped by those. They're going to be hurt. It's just, it's a freaking disaster.”

 

Peter Rawitsch plans to bring a petition to Pender County’s Board of Commissioners on April 20th—it currently has nearly 1,000 signatures. Both the board and the county’s Planning Commission must approve the rezoning request.

 

Katelyn Freund, WHQR News.