To the Editor,
As a former resident of the Philadelphus area, I was absolutely appalled to read that the Robeson County Planning Board has approved a conditional-use permit that will allow a sand mining operation there. The Planning Board members have essentially signed the death warrant for that lovely and peaceful rural community with a scenic old millpond and a historic Presbyterian church that is so architecturally significant it appears in numerous North Carolina architecture books. A mile or so away, on the same stream that flows into the millpond, is the Buie Mound, an Indian burial mound made of sand, that dates from the Middle Woodland Period (300 B.C. – A.D. 800).
The whole Philadelphus area has a wealth of history that is now endangered by the proposed sand mine on land where the Buie Lakes Plantation owners initially said they were going to build houses. Many local governments in other places protect their history and heritage, but apparently the Robeson County Planning Board members don’t think these things matter.
Even more disturbing is that the Planning Board members don’t seem to be concerned about the health and well-being of the people living near the proposed sand mine, or the devaluation of their homes and property, or the destruction of the peaceful place they live in. Apparently all that developers have to do is say the magic words “jobs” and “tax revenue,” and their proposal will be approved — no matter what kind of a toll it may take on Robeson County citizens, and no matter what kind of a toll it may take on the health of those future job holders. (The sand contains silica; ever read about “silicosis”?)
Let’s all hope and pray that on Monday the Robeson County Board of Commissioners will vote against the conditional-use permit and save the people of the Philadelphus community and surrounding areas from this disastrous sand mining operation.