Little River Quarry, NC, seeks new quarry permit

The Little River Quarry project, Sanford, North Carolina, is scheduled to go before the Lee County Board of Adjustments on Monday.

The quarry has operated for more than a quarter of a century, said Ray Covington, who along with other members of the Covington, Harrington and Holder families, is seeking a special use permit from the Board of Adjustments to expand operations at the site off Fred Stone Road .

Covington said some of the needed property was not available back then, and plans for a quarry were dropped until about five years ago.

“We started doing our research and talking to people,” Covington said. “As far as working with the local planning department, we started working with them about three years ago making sure we were doing the basics to protect water, air and other concerned areas.”

Some residents of Carolina Trace, a nearby gated community, are worried about the noise of the explosives used in blasting the rock, heavy truck traffic and water and air contamination, and

Covington said he and the other property owners and developers have been working closely with adjacent property owners and the Carolina Trace Association.

“We’ve tried to reach out and discuss issues with Ray Covington and his group. … A few of the issues concerning noise abatement and the use of water from the Little River, as well as disposing of sedimentation, have been discussed,” said Alan Dirk, president of the CTA. “Concerns about tremors from the blasting have been discussed as well. Most of those I think have been resolved.”

“People are afraid of blasting, of hearing these big booms,” Covington said. “But you can literally be standing over a quarry, looking down during a blast and not hear it. They’ve got it refined to where the vibrations cancel each other out.”

Covington said the developers have worked with the NC Department of Transportation to ensure all issues regarding traffic are addressed.

The quarry, which contains metamorphic rock with similar properties to granite, would supply construction material for roads and buildings, and Covington said he hoped to see it active for 100 years. He said once quarries are finished, they often are filled with water and used for a variety of purposes.

“With what we have planned, we have calculated that there will be more than 5 billion gallons in there,” Covington said. “Who knows, it could even become a future water source.”

James Izzell, a geologist guiding the property owners through the permitting process, said activity could begin on the site as early as May 2016 depending on how long it took to obtain the necessary permits.

“I don’t think anybody is in a big hurry,” Izzell said. “I think they want to make sure it’s done right. It’ll take six to eight months of environmental review for the permits. Once that’s done, there’s a little bit of logistics planning to get started. Next Spring would be a good estimate.”

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