Carriage Hills Sand Mine Still Has Equipment in West Fork Floodway

In March, Montgomery County Commissioners voted to sue a new sand mine operating near the Carriage Hills subdivision of Conroe. The county attorney sought to force the mine to remove unspecified materials from the West Fork floodway while they resolved permit issues. Since then, according to residents, the mine has voluntarily suspended operations.

Aerial Photos/Maps Show Mine in Floodway

However, a flyover on 4/21/2020 revealed that mining, processing, and transportation equipment remains in the floodway.

New mine in San Jacinto West Fork floodway near Carriage Hills (background on left) in Conroe.
Reverse angle. Floodway cuts between homes in foreground and mine in background. River concealed by trees in background. See FEMA flood map below.
Cross-hatched area = floodway. Aqua color represents 100-year floodplain. Brown = 500-year floodplain. Source: FEMA.

From 600 Truckloads a Day to Nothing

The once bustling operation with 600 trucks per day coming and going down Carriage Hills Boulevard now seems eerily quiet. It’s not clear whether the suspension of operations relates to the County lawsuit, COVID, a drop in demand due to the economic downturn, or all of the above.

Close up shot of operations.
Residents say that before suspension of operations, the mine was running up to 600 trucks per day up Carriage Hills Blvd. leading to top of photo.
A second, smaller part of the operation.
Another sand mining operation brackets the other side of Carriage Hills.

Residents Fear Resumption of Activity

While residents enjoy the quiet, they see it as temporary. They fear that once the COVID crisis passes and the mine resolves its permit issues, the round-the-clock truck traffic will quickly return.

Indeed, the Montgomery County Engineer’s Office, indicates that the owner of the new mine has re-applied for a permit. That permit is now under review.

Even if you see zoning as a communist conspiracy, as some in Montgomery County do, being surrounded by sand mines kind of makes you a believer in large-scale, master-planned communities.

So much for those idyllic little hideaways in the woods.

Posted by Bob Rehak on 4/27/2020

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The thoughts expressed in this post represent opinions on matters of public concern and safety. They are protected by the First Amendment of the US Constitution and the Anti-SLAPP Statute of the Great State of Texas.