In response to the Bryan County News article from Saturday, April 7, 2012: Attention to Mr. Roy Hubbard
I thank you for your concern over my application for zoning for a mining permit. As you have pointed out, I have met all of the requirements of both the county and state, and have abided by all county ordinances with regard to my application. While you seem to think that borrow pits are unsightly, others find them more acceptable than high-density housing. Ultimately, this 10-acre site with a five \-acre pond once completed will provide two home sites and a recreation area for those landowners. Homes built on ponds and lagoons historically have a much higher tax value to the county. The Ford Plantation is a prime example of this. They have approximately seven borrow pit/lakes on the golf course and two former large borrow pits used for recreational fishing and boating. The lakes have been stocked and are maintained for the residents of the Ford Plantation. The following developments are centered around borrow pits/lagoons/ponds: the Cove, Red Bird Creek, Kinsale, Kinsale Bluff, River Oak, Buckhead, Buckhead North, Brigham Lakes, Tranquill, The Bluffs and the multimillion dollar project known as Waterways Township that has a tremendous number of former borrow pits that are now considered lakes, lagoons and ponds. The foundation of the County Administration building came from the adjacent borrow pit that has been stocked with fish and is used as a walking trail. The fill material from the borrow pit is what developers use to develop their property. At the heart of most every upscale development in this area is a former borrow pit. Lakefront lots bring approximately 30 percent more than interior lots in a development.
You may have misunderstood the purpose. While the appropriate application is for a mining permit, the ultimate outcome will be 1. a borrow pit, or 2. a pond or lagoon to the individual who purchases the property adjacent to the proposed five-acre pit. Simply stated, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. While you insinuate that some sinister mining operation is about to take place in South Bryan, I assure you that I am not mining for gold or any other mineral that would necessitate the introduction of chemicals into the area. The dirt, also known as fill material, will be sold to local developers and to Bryan County for county improvements. As you also point out, mining or excavation is a conditional use under the A-5 zoning for Bryan County and therefore, it is not as if I am asking for a complete zoning change.
Just so you understand, it took the Environmental Protection Division (EPD) four months to approve the mining permit and a $9,000 bond was required. In order to submit an application I had to employ the services of an engineer not only to fill out the application, but also to certify that there would be no adverse effect to the area. Rest assured that we intend to use best management practices and will do everything required under state and local laws.
If borrow pits were not permitted in Bryan County, it would result in an economic disaster for the county. With the price of fuel, cost of equipment, trucks and labor, Bryan County could no longer compete with other jurisdictions that allow for borrow pits.
As you properly stated, as a longtime resident of Bryan County, I have no desire to do anything that would endanger the health, welfare and quality of life of the citizens of Bryan County. I personally see no downside to this project. The developments I have been involved with all have former borrow pits/lakes and are fully maintained and enjoyed by the residents of those developments. I consider Bryan County my home and am proud of the developments I have been involved.
Massey is a local businessman and developer.