Yes, I am a NIMBY

Therese Dunphy

September 10, 2012

Regular readers of Aggregates Manager know that I often cover permitting situations in the State and Province News section of each issue. As a rule, I take a “facts, and just the facts” approach to news reporting. Apparently, I erred too far toward unbiased journalism, and a NIMBY group determined that I might be a receptive audience to the following email. It arrived Friday afternoon, just days after the September issue mailed.

Subject: Buie Lakes Plantation LLC
Date: Fri, 7 Sep 2012 13:20:09 -0400

Ms. Dunphy,

I am writing to you about the Buie Lakes Plantation LLC. Our County Commissioners of Robeson County approved this conditional permit without proper documentation. The Philadelphus community is in the  appeal process against this company/Commissioners. This company has once again changed their name. Our County Commissioners are also under fire for the back door deals and bad judgement against the citizens of Robeson County. Please google Buie Lakes Plantation and the Sand Mine deal and you will read the articles about this permit that was passed in an agricultural/residential area. Our local papers the Robesonian and the Fayetteville Observer have published many articles concerning this crooked deal. It has been in the works for over 3 yrs. It is under litigation. I thought you would want to know this for future articles that this company may want to publish. The citizens that live in the Community do not even know what happened to this company nor have they ever spoken to us. Help make this public to warn the companies against this farce of a business. Raleigh had nothing to do with this!
Thank You,
Friends of Phildelphus
Red Springs NC 28377

As background, here’s what I wrote in the North Carolina section of September’s State and Province News.

Robeson County officials took opposing views on Buie Lakes Plantation LLC’s proposed mining operation. According to The Robesonian, County Manager Ricky Harris says he sees the upside of the proposal, noting that it will create jobs and does not require tax relief. John McNeill, mayor of Red Springs, says he doesn’t believe the company will follow through with plans to construct a $22 million processing plant. Despite the controversy and approximately 150 people attending its public meeting, Robeson County Commissioners unanimously granted its request for a conditional-use permit.

Now, I don’t know anyone at Buie Lakes or the citizens group, but I have learned a thing or two about the permitting process. During the 20+ years I’ve covered the aggregate industry, I’ve seen how much homework is required. Operators are required to navigate detailed paperwork, environmental impact studies, and miles of red tape. Most importantly, they have to present information in a factual manner because those facts are regularly challenged by outraged neighbors.

Rather than take a fact-based response to the permit, Friends of Phildelphus throws around accusations of “back room deals” and “crooked deals.” None of these unsubstantiated claims furthers its cause. Instead, this email simply underscores the irrational approach of most NIMBYs.

Of the entire email, most puzzling is their request for me to “help make this public to warn the companies against this farce of a business.” When it comes to trash talking about aggregate producers, I’ll put on my own NIMBY hat (just this once) and say: “Not in My Back Yard!”

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