Board of commissioners attendance

The audience listens as the McDuffie County Board of Commissioners deny one of two requested special exemptions that would have allowed kaolin mining to begin on two tracts of land. Both requests were denied.

The McDuffie County Board of Commissioners pleased a multitude of Dearing area residents on July 21 by saying no to mining for now. The well-attended meeting was held outside, in front of the Government Center to accommodate the large crowd while maintaining social distancing.

County commissioners voted unanimously to deny two special exceptions that would have allowed kaolin mining to begin on tracts off Boneville and Wellmaker Road and Luckey’s Bridge Road. The commission also denied a recommendation made by the Thomson-McDuffie Consolidated Planning and Zoning Commission to create a community liaison committee. This committee could have addressed citizens’ concerns over mining activity and have the authority to place stipulations on mining, according to Planning and Zoning Commission Chairman Fred Guerrant.

Such a committee would have consisted of the county manager, the county road superintendent, a mining industry representative and two community representatives, had it been approved.

County Commission Chairman Charlie Newton clearly stated that only the Board of Commissioners has the authority to place stipulations on mining in the county.

The county’s planning department stated in a staff report that following a denial of the planning board’s recommendation, the Board of Commissioners should consider reviewing the county’s ordinance regarding mining activities and discuss amending the county’s ordinance on mining activity.

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