Letters to the Editor: Comp Plan Review – metallic mining updates

Jun 24, 2023 | Gold Mining

The Buckingham County Comprehensive Plan is being reviewed and updated. This could be an important step towards creating strong protections from metallic mining. The first public input meeting was on Thursday June 15, 6 pm at the Community Center in Dillwyn, next to the library. We were asked to list what we would like to preserve, add, remove, keep out – and where in the county. It seemed a hopeful exercise in working together to focus on our collective future in our county. Scroll for 2 LTEs below – thanks to Ruby Laury and Haris Lender for getting the word out.

Then go to the next post, which will have a good editorial by Brian Carlton of the Farmville Herald:
https://www.friendsofbuckinghamva.org/no-change-on-met…eeting-heres-why/ ‎

Your next chance to make public comments, for the record to the Planning Commission is Monday, June 26, 6 pm. Sign up to speak between 5:30-5:55 pm.  If you’re not outraged – you are not paying attention!


In February 2023 the Supervisors asked the Planning Commission to create a zoning ban on metallic mining and to define metallic mining/ mineral mining. On June 15, 2023, EM Wright, County Attorney, gave the Planning Commission his legal opinion on options before them. One suggestion was that they first update the Comprehensive Plan, before changing the zoning code to address metallic mining, since it is now being reviewed. The target finish date is September 2024…

We first asked the Supervisors in August 2022, to adopt a rights-based ordinance to protect us from the toxic trespass we know will come with metallic mining. They wanted to wait until the state study about the impacts of gold mining on Virginia was finished. That report was out on December 1, 2022. Now EM recommends the Planning Commission wait until the Comp Plan is complete. He also has advised the PC they have plenty of time because that’s what the state study says. We know that stakeholders on the State Agency Committee did not agree with that, in fact did not sign off on the final publishing of the report. That may be the only matter of import where there is disagreement. But this is important, as EM is passing on that lack of urgency, to our dismay.

Furthermore, the last Planning Commission (PC) work session on Monday, June 19, the PC agreed to stick with existing zoning code, which requires special use permits (SUP) for Zoning districts A1 and M1 and to create an application for mining companies. They will vote to send that decision to the Supervisors at their monthly meeting on June 26. They will deliberate further on the by-right status all mining enjoys in M2. Yep. Nothing has changed. They never invited experts to inform them, though they said they did. Paul Busch, Goochland gold miner, is an expert, but with bias, wouldn’t you say? There was a question of concern about existing mines being sold to less scrupulous buyers, as they are confident existing mines (kyanite, slate) are exemplary.

There has been very little, and disappointing discussion at all the meetings and work sessions. There are numerous options they could take to protect us and they decided that status quo is good enough, that it leaves the county the least exposed to lawsuit by industry, which seems to be their spoken main concern. There was little discussion about the larger problems should metallic mining make it into the county. There is a lot more to it than this, of course.

This is not surprising, but nonetheless very disappointing, as all this fuss was about stopping metallic mining from happening here. A mere SUP is a ticket to ride – especially the way existing code is written. We need a champion on the Board of Supervisors. Next elections?

Recordings of Planning Commission meetings Here.

Letters to Farmville Herald

Letter to the Editor: Metallic mining in the comprehensive plan
Published 12:05 pm Wednesday, June 7, 2023
By Letters to the Editor (https://www.farmvilleherald.com/author/letters-editor/)

I want Buckingham County residents to know that on Thursday, May 15, the Buckingham County attorney, EM Wright, presented to the Planning Commission (PC) the legal aspects of changing the zoning code in regards to metallic mining in Buckingham County. One thing he made clear was that the comprehensive plan of the county must be aligned with zoning and any changes that are made have to be reflected in the Comprehensive Plan.

Because of this, he suggested to the PC to wait until the new Comp Plan is written instead of making zoning code changes right now (like banning metallic mining). The new Comp Plan is in the works right now. The County is calling a public meeting (June 15 at 6 p.m. at the
Community Center in Dillwyn) to get public input on the future vision of Buckingham County.

This is a direct way I have to let the PC and Supervisors know how I want our laws to protect the residents and environment of Buckingham County. Preserving our rural way of life and our economy, along with clean air, water and soil from the damages of metallic mining needs to be a priority.

Tell them you don’t want metallic mining in the county and you want this in the comprehensive plan. This is a really important in-person meeting impacting our future. Come help me show them we care about our home! Please bring family and friends.

I was told that there would be a flier to announce this meeting in The Farmville Herald. Be on the lookout for more details. Hope to see you there.
Ruby Laury

Letter to the Editor: What is your vision for Buckingham County?
Published 12:10 pm Wednesday, June 14, 2023
By Letters to the Editor (https://www.farmvilleherald.com/author/letters-editor/)

This is for all Buckingham residents. Howdy neighbors! What is your vision for Buckingham County? Do you want to protect the rural character, keep our water drinkable, our air breathable, our land productive, our economy healthy? Generate good jobs that don’t compromise our health and safety? Do you want to help create a home that our kids would
be proud of and interested in continuing to live in? I know I do.

The County is reviewing its Comprehensive Plan and would like to know what we want for our future here. Please show up on Thursday, June 15 at 6pm at the Community Center next to the Library in Dillwyn.

About 1,000 Buckingham residents and landowners signed a petition in support of an ordinance that would assert our right to be free from the toxic trespass we know would come from metallic mining. The Supervisors agree they don’t want this toxic industry and asked the Planning Commission to look into protections from metallic mining. The county attorney is advising that the Comp Plan be changed before changing local law to prohibit metallic mining. That opportunity is now before us.

The Commission has gotten off track, is dragging its feet and needs to hear from us that we don’t want to be a sacrifice zone for new industrial scale metallic mining. We want strong protections Now.

Together, our many voices can accomplish great things for all of us. Let’s show up!
Stay healthy and free!
Haris Harini Lender



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