THOMASVILLE — Thomas County needs new laws to govern zoning, said a Maddox Road woman, who is part of a group opposed to a rezoning request for surface mining.

An application has been filed with county government to rezone 151 acres on Maddox Road from agricultural to agricultural, conditional use, to allow for dirt mining.

Opponents met Thursday night at Pickers Paradise Park on Maddox Road to address the situation. Karen Williams said 35 people attended the meeting.

"All they want to do is dig it out and sell the dirt," Williams said.

The rezoning request was made by Lee Green, prospective buyer of the property, which is part of the James Shortes estate.

The application will be considered at 6 p.m., Monday, Aug. 19, by the Thomas County Planning and Land Use Standards (PLUS) Commission in third-floor commission chambers at the historic Thomas County Courthouse. Action taken by the PLUS Commission will go to county commissioners for final consideration.

A delegation of opponents will attend the PLUS Commission meeting.

Williams said wildlife and a pond are on the land requested for rezoning. 

"Barnetts Creek goes through it," she said.

One of the routes into the proposed mining project is by the home a woman on disability because of breathing issues, Williams said. An asthmatic child lives nearby, she added.

"It's something we're adamant about," said Williams.

Thomas County agricultural zoning laws, she said, should be updated to consider people who buy small acreage for homesites.

"We want them to update laws so the smaller landowner has input," Williams said.

Opponents are circulating a petition and expect to have 200 signatures to present at the PLUS Commission meeting.

In addition to the environmental impact on the land, a dirt pit would lower property values, present a sinkhole risk, cause noise pollution and affect air quality, among a number of other negative aspects of the proposed operation, Williams said. 

 

Senior reporter Patti Dozier can be reached at (229) 226-2400, ext. 1820