Rock and hard place: Why SunRock’s proposal is a threat to Goldston

By Amanda Jones

Goldston, NC – I am writing to speak out against the upcoming proposal from SunRock for a crushed rock processing faculty and quarry mine outside on the Town of Goldston. The company has purchased 630+ acres of timber forest and wetlands roughly two miles outside of Goldston. The property runs the length of J Cook Road between Goldston Glendon and Bonlee Carbonton Road. SunRock is planning to apply to annex the property into the Town of Goldston and have the property rezoned for Heavy Industrial, so they can begin digging a 100+ acre rock quarry and crushed rock processing facility. Not only is this a way to get around the county’s restrictions on these kind of industries/facilities, but it violates the rights of county citizens by going around us and our elected officials to put in a type of industry that we as a county have already decided we do not want.

Mt. Airy rock quarry (photo by Bob)

We have no voting power in Goldston and we do not benefit directly from any minimal tax revenue that may go to the town. We would, however, face all the of consequences of this quarry and processing facility, including significant decrease to quality of life, destruction of wetlands/forests, potential loss of wells, and decreases in property value. There is also the deeper concern with the number of quarries operating in this area. Around Goldston alone, there are three active crushed stone quarries and a few clay quarries. If you look at the map of the county, the majority of the active quarries are concentrated around the Goldston area. The idea that we need SunRock, or any mining company, bringing another quarry to our area is ludicrous. Concentrating this many mining operations into one are is incredibly damaging to that area both in terms of environmental damage and health/quality of life/property value damage. This side of the county is already lacking in resources/beneficial development and has lower property values than other parts of the county. This quarry would further degrade the area.

SunRock’s proposal will start with 100 acre rock quarry and processing facility on a forested area that has a large amount of wetlands running through it. They will eventually mine as much of the 630+ acres as possible. The quarry would sit squarely on a number of small creeks and streams in this wetland area. These wetlands are part of the Indian Creek river system that feeds into the Deep River. Much of this area consists of ephemeral and intermittent streams and wetland areas that help feed the ground water supply and control flooding. Putting a rock quarry on this land will destroy this system and threatens our ground water supply as well as the supply of water into the Deep River, which is slowly becoming one of the few reliable, clean water sources in the area. The digging threatens wells in the area the rely on the ground water. Many in the area have shallow wells that have the potential to fail or have other issues once digging starts.

This proposal also has the potential to bring up to 58 trucks per HOUR out of the mine entrance. Those who live near the mine will have up to one truck a minute going out of the entrance and down one of three routes, all while spewing dust into the air. The route at least half the trucks are predicted to go will run through Bear Creak and right past Chatham Central High School. I would imagine that would create lots of issues with dust and traffic and noise for anyone along that route, including school buses and teens driving themselves to school. The other trucks will run right through Goldston on their way to other parts of the county where beneficial growth is happening for those residents. The main paths they have marked are down Goldston Glendon Road, Bear Creek Church Road, and Pittsboro Goldston Road. These roads were not build to handle that kind of vehicle traffic and can barely handle the quarry tucks that currently go down them from the other mines in the area. 

Downtown Goldston will receive even more quarry trucks bring noise, exhaust fumes, and spreading layers of dust across town to add to the layers of dust they already have from the quarries in the area. Goldston will also gain increased traffic issues and increased noise pollution downtown. This will most likely prevent real growth and development of the downtown area as it will reduce the walkability and decrease people’s enjoyment of the downtown space. The town already has issues with the quarry trucks and other large commercial vehicles running through downtown and has had to spend significant time and money into attempting to address those issues and keep Goldston a walkable community. This summary of traffic issues does not even factor in the number of trucks that will need to go into the facility. This is just the problems with the number of trucks exiting the facility. You have the same number of trucks going in as going out of the quarry entrance.

This annexation should not be allowed to happen. It is not the kind of growth we need for this area of the county and does nothing but degrade the land and quality of life for the people here. Everyone should be extremely worried about the slippery slope of industrial zoning that could happen if this quarry is put in. The potential that more and more heavy industry will flock to this area and that this side of the county will be swallowed up by more and more quarry and asphalt plants and other types of industry that no one wants to live by is too great. This area has enough of this kind of development and needs different development in order to grow and thrive. Another quarry will mark the death of Goldston and the surrounding communities.

Quarries don’t make towns anymore, they only destroy them. We have enough of that now.

We need positive growth, forest/farmland protection, wetland/water systems protection, positive investments in small, rural communities, sustainable small towns build on small businesses, and affordable housing. That is what will bring prosperity and beneficial growth. We need to put a stop to the SunRock proposal and others like it. Tell the Goldston Town Board to vote NO on any proposal from SunRock or any other company for another mine in this area! NO to SunRock and NO to new mines! We have had enough!