Sand-mining operation gets OK

Published 10:43 am Wednesday, December 21, 2011

COURTLAND—A Southampton County sand-mining operation got permission Monday to add 70 acres to its project.

County supervisors voted 7-0 to support the proposal, but will require Sebrell Farm LLC to do an archeological study of the property on White Road near Branchville for Indian remains.

Chesapeake-based Sebrell Farm LLC in 2002 was granted a conditional-use permit to mine 500-plus acres, but the work never started. To make the project more economically feasible, the company would like to add the 70 acres, said Vice President Peter Schmidt.

Outgoing Supervisor Walt Brown said he understands at one time there was a two-acre Native American village on the property and asked if testing had been done for artifacts and skeletal remains.

Schmidt said the company knew nothing about the Indian village, so nothing was done.

“The land had been farmed for decades,” he said.

The company agreed to do the research.

The 652 acres are located in an area zoned for farming. However, with permission through a special-use permit, mining is allowed.

Only 240 to 250 acres will be mined because some of the property has wetlands, Schmidt said.

The company originally proposed filling in the land when mining is completed, but learned that would not be logical. The plan calls for turning the mined area into a lake.

Supervisors also gave Sebrell Farm LLC permission to put up modular buildings for an office, restrooms and employee break area. The buildings will be moved to different places on the property during the 15- to 20-year mining operation, which should begin in mid-2013.

The Planning Commission stipulated the company must maintain a 100-foot buffer on the eastern side of the property where there are homes. There will be a 50-foot buffer elsewhere.

According to the permit, mining involves removing the topsoil and digging up the sand. The sand is passed through a portable washing-screening plant. The end product is used for making concrete sand and sand blocks.