Rock the status quo: The fight over Goldston’s proposed quarry

By Gene Galin

Goldston, NC – In a quiet corner of Chatham County, a contentious debate brews over the proposed development of a rock quarry outside the town limits of Goldston. I had an opportunity to sit down with Mark Stinson, a local resident involved in the community, who sheds some light on the concerns and intricacies surrounding this issue.

The Annexation Conundrum

At the heart of the matter lies a peculiar scenario: the potential annexation of a property into Goldston’s jurisdiction to facilitate the establishment of a rock quarry. The property, located outside the Goldston town limits, is subject to stringent regulations by the Chatham County planning board, making it challenging to obtain permits for such industrial activities within the county limits.

The annexation proposal, as explained by Stinson, is an attempt to circumvent these regulations. By bringing the property under Goldston’s governance, proponents of the quarry hope to navigate a more favorable regulatory environment and secure the necessary permits for development.

Legislative Loopholes

One of the striking aspects of this situation is the legislative maneuvering that enables such annexations. Stinson highlights a piece of legislation, he claims was spearheaded by Robert Reives, which grants Goldston the authority to annex properties located up to three miles outside its town limits. This legislative provision, seemingly tailored for Goldston’s benefit, raises eyebrows due to its exclusivity to the town.

Stinson notes the uniqueness of this arrangement, emphasizing that it diverges from typical annexation practices where properties abutting a town are annexed. The application of this legislation opens the door for annexations like the one proposed for the rock quarry site, stirring concerns among residents about its implications for the community’s character and well-being.

Environmental and Infrastructural Impacts

Beyond the legal and administrative aspects, Stinson delves into the environmental and infrastructural concerns associated with the proposed quarry. He highlights the presence of wetlands on the property, a factor that influences the choice of access points for the quarry’s operations. The necessity of avoiding environmentally sensitive areas necessitates routing heavy traffic through existing roads, raising worries about road safety, congestion, and environmental degradation.

Proposed rock quarry site located approximately three miles outside the Goldston town limits.

Moreover, Stinson underscores the potential strain on local infrastructure, particularly the adequacy of Bonley Carbonton Road to accommodate the influx of heavy vehicles associated with quarry operations. The prospect of increased traffic, coupled with the road’s existing limitations, amplifies anxieties among residents regarding safety and accessibility in the area.

Community Engagement and Advocacy

Throughout the conversation, Stinson emphasizes the importance of community engagement and advocacy in shaping the outcome of this contentious issue. He encourages fellow residents to voice their concerns, engage in constructive dialogue, and actively participate in the decision-making process.

Economic, Environmental & Community Concerns

The proposed rock quarry outside Goldston epitomizes the complex interplay between economic development, environmental conservation, and community interests. As residents grapple with the prospect of significant changes to their surroundings, the importance of informed discourse and active civic engagement cannot be overstated. Mark Stinson’s insights shed some light on the multifaceted nature of this issue, underscoring the need for collaborative efforts to address concerns, navigate challenges, and chart a path forward that balances progress with preservation.

In the words of Mark Stinson, “The only way we’re going to make a change in this part of the county is for all of us to have a discussion and all of us to work together toward a common goal.”

Watch the video conversation on YouTube.
Controversy Over Goldston Rock Quarry Proposal: Annexation Laws Evade Restrictions on County Quarry Establishment

00:14 Community concerns about proposed rock quarry near Goldston

  • Goldston being approached to annex property for easier permit approval
  • Concerns about environmental and community impact of the proposed rock quarry

01:46 Proposed rock quarry location being considered for annexation

  • Unique situation with the potential location not being up against the town limits of Goldston, but legislation allows for annexation up to three miles away.
  • Chatham County planning department has strict rules about having a rock quarry within the county limits, leading to hopes of annexation for the proposed rock quarry.

03:24 The property was considered unsuitable for development due to soil conditions.

  • Property was originally a tree farm and had never been developed before.
  • Developers expressed interest in annexing the property to carry out their plans under city’s control.

04:48 Concerns about planned annexation

  • Neighbors concerned about property values and increased traffic on narrow, unsafe road
  • Environmental concerns regarding wetlands on the property and the need for costly infrastructure

06:13 Proposed rock quarry near Goldston timeline

  • Even if approved, process would involve years for permits and studies before development.
  • Sunrock representative explained the lengthy process at Goldston town meeting.

07:36 Understanding the impact and importance of a proposed rock quarry location

  • Community members express concerns and opinions about the proposed project
  • The importance of communicating and voicing opinions to all involved parties for a well-rounded perspective

09:05 Importance of citizen input in the planning process

  • Encouraging community members to share their opinions and concerns via email
  • Emphasizing the need for more information and open discussion on the topic

10:29 Encouraging positive discussions and community engagement

  • Emphasizing the need for all voices to be heard and work together towards a common goal
  • Inviting public participation and feedback on the proposed rock quarry location outside Goldston