LUMBERTON — A Superior Court judge on Tuesday denied a request by Robeson County that a $1.24 million bond be posted by a community group that is challenging in the courts the county’s approval of a permit allowing for the establishment of a sand-mining operation in their community.
Superior Court Judge Robert “Frank” Floyd Jr. — without holding a hearing on the matter — denied County Attorney Hal Kinlaw’s motion that the bond be placed on the Friends of Philadelphus, a group of about 10 property owners appealing a decision by the county Board of Commissioners to grant a conditional-use permit to Buie Lakes Plantation LLC for the establishment of the sand mine. The sand mine would be located on a 125-acre tract just outside of Red Springs.
According to Kinlaw, Gates Harris, the lawyer for Friends of Philadelphus, on Monday refiled his motion to appeal the court’s decision last month dismissing his group’s first appeal. The first appeal had been dismissed because the mining company was not listed as one of the respondents.
Kinlaw had argued in his motion that the bond was necessary to protect the county from possibly losing the more than $25 million investment that the developers of the mining project say they will make.
Buie Lakes has said it wants to establish a sand-mining operation in a Residential-Agricultural zone off Buie-Philadelphus Road. The company has said it will construct a $22 million facility to harvest sand and then process it so it can be used to make solar panels.
The developer’s plans have been on hold since opponents of the project began the appeal process after the county commissioners granted the permit in July. Those who have filed the lawsuit say they don’t believe that the processing facility will be built, and that Buie Lakes will mine the sand and then transport it to be processed elsewhere. They say the truck traffic will be hazardous, and that the operation doesn’t blend in with the local community, some of which is considered historic.
Kinlaw told The Robesonian on Tuesday that the judge’s denial of his motion now puts the case back in the appeal process. The average appeal case takes about 18 months to complete, Kinlaw said.
“Judge Floyd gave us a fair and adequate chance to present our argument,” Kinlaw said. “We just didn’t have the argument to satisfy him there was a need for our motion to be granted.”
Kinlaw said that the county does not plan to take additional steps to stymie the appeal process.