Supervisors Say "No" To Sand Pit Off Shaw Road

The people who live on Shaw Road say it's not W.C. Fore's plans to mine sand that troubles them so much. It's the 150 loaded trucks going back and forth to nearby Highway 53 that bother them.

W. C. Fore has a two year contract to expand the Port of Gulfport, using sand from the land he owns off Shaw Road. But neighbors say the road isn't built to handle the large trucks hauling the sand from Shaw Road to Highway 53.

David Reeves lives on Shaw Road.

"The accidents that are going to happen. We're already having them. We have two or three serious accidents a month and we don't even have the trucks running now."

Fore says trucks won't work when school buses are in the area, he'll create six spots where the trucks can pull off the side of the road to let other traffic pass, and he'll have a man escort the trucks when they leave the pit.

Fore's attorney Britt Singletary says, "He does not have another pit that's available to get this amount of sand from to complete his contract."

The pit is in Supervisor Larry Benefield's district. He asked the board to deny giving Fore a permit. Benefield says he can't ignore the potential dangers even with Fore's promise to make Shaw Road safer.

"There are areas of Shaw Road, the first two thousand feet you can't put a safety turn because there's no right of way, there's absolutely none. There's asphalt and ditch. I do see where we can have many accidents there and I do see a danger to the public," Benefield says.

The board agreed, and voted against Fore. Fore's attorney says the next stop will be circuit court.

"It's much easier to block development now than it is to pursue and build it and our boards and commissions are intimidated, quite frankly, by a lot of people showing up to vote against them. They all want to keep their job. And they're fearful that they'll lose their job in the next election if they all vote for something, even if they know it's right," says Singletary.