Albemarle County Planning Commission

February 17, 2009

 

The Albemarle County Planning Commission held a public hearing, meeting and work session on Tuesday, February 17, 2009, at 6:00 p.m., at the County Office Building, Lane Auditorium, Second Floor, 401 McIntire Road, Charlottesville, Virginia.

 

Members attending were Marcia Joseph, Calvin Morris, Bill Edgerton, Linda Porterfield, Thomas Loach, Vice Chair and Eric Strucko, Chairman.  Julia Monteith, AICP, non-voting representative for the University of Virginia was absent. 

 

Other officials present were Juan Wade, Transportation Planner; Megan Yaniglos, Senior Planner; Wayne Cilimberg, Director of Planning; Rebecca Ragsdale, Senior Planner; Elaine Echols, Principal Planner, Joan McDowell, Principal Planner; Bill Fritz, Chief of Current Development and Greg Kamptner, Deputy County Attorney. 

 

Call to Order and Establish Quorum:

 

Mr. Strucko called the regular meeting to order at 6:00 p.m. and established a quorum.

 

Public Hearing Item:

 

SP-2008-00032 Central Virginia Recycling Center (Signs #49&52)

PROPOSED: Special Use Permit on approximately 25 acre portion of a 100.261 acre parcel and a .23 acre parcel containing a central well. Proposal is to receive wood products from timber, stumps, and wood waste from construction, shipping and excavation and then processed/recycled by grinding, chipping, dying and composting into mulch and wood biofuel; conduct both retail and wholesale sales of the products at the site; site would include structures related to this use. ZONING CATEGORY/GENERAL USAGE: RA -- Rural Areas: agricultural, forestal, and fishery uses; residential density (0.5 unit/acre in development lots)SECTION: 10.2.2 (14) Sawmills, planing mills and woodyards COMPREHENSIVE PLAN LAND USE/DENSITY:  RA Rural Areas - preserve and protect agricultural, forestal, open space, and natural, historic and scenic resources/ density (.5 unit/ acre in development lots); EC Entrance Corridor - Overlay to protect properties of historic, architectural or cultural significance from visual impacts of development along routes of tourist access. ENTRANCE CORRIDOR: Yes. LOCATION: 4545 Richmond Road;  South side of Richmond Rd. (Rt. 250 East) at its intersection with Three Chopt Road (Rt. 794), approximately 1,325 feet west of Union Mills Rd. (Rt. 759) and Black Cat Rd. (Rt. 616). TAX MAP/PARCEL:  TMP 94-21N and TMP 94-21N1 (well lot). MAGISTERIAL DISTRICT:  Scottsville. (Joan McDowell)

 

Ms. McDowell presented a PowerPoint presentation and summarized the staff report. (SEE Attachment 3:  Staff Report and Attachment 4: PowerPoint Presentation)

 

Proposal:  This is a special use permit request for Central Virginia Recycling Center to receive wood products and process into wood mulch; conduct wholesale and retail sales; repair vehicles; office for business

 

In the preparation and review of this application staff explored the local recycling facilities as well as all the way to Williamsburg since they have not done a wood recycling facility before.  Ms. Porterfield visited the recycling facility in Williamsburg.   As shown in the photographs of other recycling facilities there is some scattering of wood materials as they process.  In a photograph at Ivy Landfill there was some smoke coming from the wood mulch pile that was left over from last year.  The wood mulch pile was being turned as they were visiting the site.  She reviewed other photographs in the PowerPoint presentation of other materials on the site.

 

This application received an incomplete review.  The applicant directed that the application proceed to public hearing.  Early in the process staff offered to have the request brought before the Planning Commission as a work session, but the applicant declined.

 

Staff had some issues in the review that they asked for additional information or materials on. These are listed at length in the staff report.  They include the following: 

 

Noise – There was a noise test done last June.  In one area it exceeded the allowable noise levels.  No additional noise tests have been conducted. The proposed grinding area moved closer from where it was tested at the tree line because the applicant did not want to take down trees.  On the site plan it actually moved closer to the east property line.  The existing trees between the mulching operation and the east and south property lines would be preserved with this application.  The applicant has assured that noise issues would be resolved when the business is in operation.  The remaining noise concerns are noise from the operation, noise from the traffic (which includes the truck back up warning devices and the flapping of truck tailgates that they were told at Ivy were a problem for their neighbors), noise from trucks slowing down and braking before entering the site and both the levels and duration during the hours of operation.  The neighbors would be placed in the position of policing this operation.  This operation would generate noise that is uncharacteristic of this rural area.

 

Parking – Onsite parking may not be adequate to meet ordinance requirements.  A parking study was requested, but not submitted.  The applicant said they would submit the parking study with the site plan.  The special use permit provides an opportunity to make adjustments that may be necessary to the concept plan since the first condition will always tie it to a concept plan.

 

Traffic – Access is from Route 250 (Richmond Road) and Route 794 (Three Chopt Road).  The entrance would be constructed in a Y configuration with access onto each road.  The existing driveway would be 24’ and paved.  An east bound right turn lane would be constructed on 250.  A west bound left turn lane on 250 is not warranted at this time.

 

Water – The projected usage was 1,000 gallons per day.  The review stated that without a justified estimate of the water usage the effect on the local groundwater cannot be determined at this time.  No permits are required by the Department of Environmental Quality.  A letter from DEQ is included in the conditions.

 

The Comprehensive Plan -

          Rural Areas Land Use Designation

          Preservation and protection of agricultural, forestal, open space, and natural, historic and scenic resources

          The wood products to be recycled (turned into mulch) would come primarily from land clearing for development, pallets, construction waste

          The proposed use would not directly support the preservation and protection of the Rural Areas.

          The Guiding Principles has a pledge to “Protect and enhance rural quality of life for present and future Rural Areas residents.”  The negative impacts would not allow fulfillment of the Guiding Principles.

 

There are a couple of properties across the street currently under easement.

 

Factors Favorable:

1.        The wood recycling would provide a service to reuse waste from land clearing, construction, and pallets.

 

Factors Unfavorable:

1.       The operation would cause noise and traffic that is uncharacteristic to this area.

2.       The operation could exceed the maximum allowed noise standards in the Zoning Ordinance.

3.       The noise, both volume and duration, could disturb the neighbors.

4.       The mulching operation would be of greater benefit to development occurring in both Albemarle’s Development Areas and in other counties, instead of the Rural Areas.

5.       The information requested by staff pertaining to groundwater, parking study, traffic generated from this operation has not been forthcoming; therefore, the review is incomplete

     

RECOMMENDED ACTION: 

Based on the findings contained in this staff report, staff recommends denial of SP-2008-00032 Central Virginia Recycling. 

 

However, if the Planning Commission or Board of Supervisors determines that the application should be approved, the following conditions are offered for consideration:

 

1.             Development of the Special Use Permit SP200800032 Central Virginia Recycling use shall be in general accord with the “Central Virginia Recycling Center Concept Plan”, last revised November 17, 2008, as determined by the Director of Planning and the Zoning Administrator.  To be in conformity with the plan, development shall reflect the general size, arrangement, and location of the mulching operation, access, driveway, proposed buildings, parking, and limits of clearing. Minor modification to the plan which does not conflict with the elements above may be made to ensure compliance with the Zoning Ordinance.  

2.             Dust emitted from the operation and traffic associated with the operation shall be controlled at all times.  Procedures to control dust from intruding on any abutting property shall include at a minimum and as necessary, sprinkling with water the ground surface, wood and soil material stockpiles, and access road; sprinkling with water the trucks prior to their leaving the property, stabilize soil by planting and maintaining a vegetative ground cover or other landscape material approved by the Planning Director in all areas not expected to handle vehicular traffic or paved or gravel areas dedicated to the operation of the mulching operation. 

3.             A minimum 20’ wide landscape screening buffer of evergreen trees and other suitable evergreen landscape materials starting on the west property line at Route 250, extending around the entire special use permit boundary and on the east side of the access road, excluding the entry, as necessary, in order to achieve adequate sight distance.    Existing evergreen trees and shrubs shall be supplemented as necessary to achieve and maintain a visual barrier between the entry, the access road, and the wood mulching facility “dedicated to the special use permit”, as shown on the Concept Plan identified in Condition 1.  This landscape buffer shall be at a height and density that would prevent visibility of the entry, the access road, and the building, equipment, vehicles, product piles (mulch and materials waiting to be processed) from the adjacent property on the west side of TMP 94-21N. The buffer shall be subject to the approval of the Planning Director or designee.

4.             The use allowed by SP199300007 shall not be permitted on the property while the use permitted by SP200800032 is operated on the property.

5.             All fixtures emitting 3000 lumens or more for outdoor lighting shall be full cut-off luminaire as defined in Zoning Ordinance Section 4.17.3. and arranged or shielded to reflect light away from all abutting properties.  A lighting plan limiting light levels at all property lines to no greater than 0.3 foot candles shall be submitted to the Zoning Administrator or their designee for approval.

6.             The hours and days of operation shall be limited to no more than the following: Monday through Friday between 7:00 AM and 5:00 PM and Saturdays between 7:00 am and 1:00 PM. 

7.             No grinding or processing shall be allowed on Saturday or Sunday. 

8.             There shall be a maximum of ten employees on the site at any time.

9.             Storage and repair of equipment and trucks not used onsite for the delivery and / or process of wood mulching shall be prohibited.

10.         A tree protection plan shall be required to be submitted with the site plan.

11.         No tree removal, grading, or disturbance shall take place within the driplines of the trees shown outside the limits of clearing area, as shown on the concept plan described in condition number one. The applicant shall have the dripline of the trees surveyed and shall mark the dripline in the field with a minimum five (5) feet high, three-board fence. The fence shall be maintained for the duration of SP-2008-00032.  Any grading or disturbance within ten (10) feet of any dripline shall necessitate submittal of a "Tree Protection Plan" in accord with section 32.7.9.4 of the Zoning Ordinance. No grading or disturbance within ten (10) feet of any dripline shall be permitted until a) the survey and fencing have been completed and b) the Planning Director approves a plan which show the grading or disturbance and the surveyed dripline of the existing trees.

 

Mr. Strucko asked if there were any questions for staff.  There being none, he opened the public hearing and invited the applicant to address the Commission.

 

Mark Keeler, of Terra Concepts PC of Charlottesville, represented the applicant Central Virginia Recycling and explained the proposal in a PowerPoint presentation. 

 

The applicant, Bobby Vess, is present to answer questions. The request is very controversial.  Regardless of the points that are made against the request there are quite a few more than just one positive aspect of this application.  So he wanted to bring those to the Commission’s attention.  The description of the business is a wood recycling center.  It is strictly wood and the recycling of natural materials that are otherwise considered waste product.  These products consist of pallets, branches, construction debris, section of logs and stumps.  These are by-products of land clearing, construction and in some cases storm damage.  These are recycled into marketable secondary products. 

 

This is not a dump, but quite the opposite.  It is mandatory for a facility of this nature to remain clean.  Otherwise, the products will not be purchased.  Furthermore, it is self regulating since once at capacity a load in needs to equal a load out.   These products do not stay on this property.  In fact, the permit that DEQ will issue at some point in time will require that 75 percent of these products stay on the site no longer than one year.  Having a facility of this nature would reduce the activity at the Ivy Landfill.  It enables the county to curtail burning of these natural products as was the case in Belvedere.  It would reduce erosion and the compromising of good land which now occurs through on-site burial of these types of materials. 

 

Mr. Vess has operated a mobile tub grinding operation for several years.  The site conditions when he shows up at these properties are often time muddy and littered with debris.  The items are not sorted.  As a result the product is contaminated and many times unmarketable.  Typically the produce is casually disposed of.  He has in the past contracted with Ivy Landfill to go there and do tub grinding.  It would not be surprising that the photo presented was mulch that he had grinded for the county.  Tipping fees still apply when a contractor comes into the Ivy Landfill with these materials.  In addition the county has to pay somebody to come in and grind it.  Then there is a product which is unsorted and of dubious quality.

 

The following key points they would like to bring to the Commission’s attention:

Recycling is the right thing to do

Must be cheaper than landfill

Controlled environment = quality products

Importance of second income stream in this recycling process

Accessibility and convenience are crucial for the land to be used.  If not the people will dispose of it otherwise

Proposal represents true “recycling”  They are not taking the products to a transfer station hoping to find a market for those products and then having to ship them to some other location to be processed there into a reusable raw material.  This is a turn key proposal.

 

There are a series of core requirements for any kind of recycling facility, as follows:

Proper Zoning Clearances

Facility Area Requirements – What kind of land does the property require?

Site Requirements – What type of site do they need to shop for?

Operational Requirements – For Zoning:

          Business Definition – Sawmill / Planing Mill/ Wood yard

          By-Right in Heavy Industrial Zone

          By Special Use Permit in Rural Area

 

In the report they have broken down the flow chart of the activities that this facility is built around.  It is rather complex.  He offered to answer any questions since he has been dealing with this project for nearly a year.   He created the process flow chart so that he could explain it.  (See Central Virginia Recycling Process Flowchart in PowerPoint Presentation) The left hand side of the chart describes the incoming and processing of the material.  The right hand side describes for the most part the customization of those ground products and their sale and distribution.

 

The site requirements are as follows:

Ready Access to Interstate 64

Frontage on Major Roadway That Can Handle Trucks

Large Acreage (10-15 Acre Operations Area + Buffering) Note:  This site is significantly larger.

Wooded Area for Screening and Abatement

Adequate Water Supply Note:  This is not a high use water facility.  It is somewhere between 5 and 10 equivalent residential connections.  That over 100 acres would not be significant.  This facility does require water to maintain dust and to properly age the products.  But, it is not an enormous amount.

In an Area of Predominantly Large Rural Parcels

 

All in an effort to avoid the response, “Good plan…wrong location.”  They are doing their best so they don’t hear that tonight.

 

The property selected is located east of Charlottesville, west of Zion Crossroads and the Fluvanna county line.   About two-thirds of the property is wooded.  An exhaustive search was done first analyzing those parcels in the HI district of which there were eight.  None of the eight parcels were over nine acres.  So that would not allow them to do any buffering, although buffering in a HI District would be less.  But it still was not large enough for them to accomplish what they needed to do.  So they decided to pursue this property and found somebody willing to sell it.  He reviewed photographs of the property.

 

The Certified Engineer Report is submitted to acquire a zoning compliance clearance and is pre-requisite to approval of a site plan.  Given the nature of this business proposal the applicant went to the time and expense of preparing this report.  There are operational requirements which are performance standards that when a business is in operation it must operate within these perimeters.  It includes such items, as follows.

          Noise

          Vibration

          Glare

          Air Pollution

          Water Pollution

          Radioactivity

          Electric Interference

 

The applicant wanted to perform enough due diligence to ensure that his operation could perform on this site and not exceed these limitations.  That is the reason for the engineer’s report.  The applicant is aware of the limits and consequences. He has performed preliminary noise tests to approximate impacts.  He has involved experts to study and/or provide professional input on dust, traffic, odor, fire avoidance and groundwater and environmental matters.  All of this information is in the report.  He is confident that he can operate his facility within these limitations.

 

They conducted an on-site test with a tub grinder and an excavator.  The equipment was not located back in the wooded area where they would actually do their work but rather on the wood’s edge much closer to the property line.  It displayed a 69 decibel reading.  Everybody knows that 60 is the maximum decibel reading.  They feel that by moving that back and preserving trees that will be greatly abated.  But there are a series of other mechanical and architectural means by which they can further abate noise if it becomes a problem regardless of whether it is 60 decibels or more.

 

They have some additional considerations, as follows. 

          Traffic

          Water Consumption

          Visual Impact

          Hazardous Chemical Storage

          Trash Collection

 

There are operational limitations.  Many of the following have already been discussed.

          Operations (M-F  7 am – 5 pm) (Sat 7 am – 1 pm)

          Saturday primarily a sales day – sale of product to homeowners and landscapers

          No grinding on weekends

          Maximum 50 dump trucks and 3 semis per day

          Strictly limit site lighting

          Water truck to control dust

          Limit activity during dry, windy days

          Other conditions you may deem appropriate

 

Summary

          This is the type of business we should be promoting.

          Rural area is the most appropriate location for this business.

          Large parcel capable of buffering the operation is best.

          Facility needs to be convenient to promote patronage.

          Appropriate limitations can be placed on these operations.

          We’ve done what we can to present all the facts about this application and have performed enough due diligence to know that this facility can operate within the performance standards that apply.

          They feel that they have a good plan at the right location, and

          Ask for you to make a determination on this item tonight.

 

Also, he has with additional slides and information that discuss the recycling process, the facility, the equipment and specifics on other issues, but he would leave that to the Commission’s discretion to bring to their attention.

 

Mr. Strucko invited questions for the applicant.

 

Mr. Edgerton noted that in reading the materials and staff report there was a discrepancy that jumped out that perhaps could be clarified.  On page 11 of the staff report under maximum sound levels the staff report states that the decibels range was 65 to 78 in one test.  On the second report it was 64 to 79.  In Mr. Keller’s material it contradicts that and says that in only one instance did the noise level exceed 60 decibels at 69.  He asked how to reconcile those two.  He asked if it was the same test.

 

Mr. Keller noted that he would like to confer with the expert here tonight to answer that question.

 

Mr. Loach noted regarding water that the letter from DEQ references the mulching operation, but does not address the colorfast colorants that the applicant plans to use.  He wondered if in the context of their communication with DEQ that they were only referencing the mulching operation and did not take into account the use of colorants.

 

Mr. Keller replied that may have been the case. What they actually did was involve someone that was more aware of the products that are used. Subsequent to the engineer report there is a letter about the materials being used behind fire safety that says the materials are non toxic and water soluble.  But, that he might not be answering the question in stating that.

 

Ms. Joseph asked if only part of the entire parcel would be used for the special use permit. 

 

Mr. Keeler replied that was correct.  What the applicant really wanted to do was have the front part of the property, which is roughly 25 acres, to be a horse farm.  There is an existing house back up on the hill overlooking that pasture.  Staff suggested wisely that they not designate it as a horse farm, but to put some form of easement or buffer that limits one house on those 25 acres. 

 

Ms Joseph said that the sections show that there will be a lot of trees that will be buffering from one side of the site to the other and the trees are not within the special use permit zone.  She asked how is that going to work as far as preserving those areas if the applicant sells them off.

 

Mr. Keller replied that the sections were designed to go through each individual adjacent home.

 

Ms. Joseph said that there are sections that were cut through the wooded area.  A lot of them are going through Sections A, C, B, D and E that go through the wooded area that is not part of this area that has been designated for the special use permit.

 

Mr. Keller said that there is no clearing to occur in those areas.

 

Ms. Joseph said that maybe it is a legal question that needs to be asked.   She asked if that area is not designated as part of the special use permit how do they ensure those areas remain wooded.

 

Mr. Kamptner replied that ordinarily the special use permit applies to the entire parcel. What the applicant might be showing is where the use itself would take place.  The conditions can reach out to the entire parcel.

 

Mr. Loach said that he had a process question because the diagram says for sales. He asked what type of sales would occur if people are coming in to the property with trucks.

 

Mr. Keller said that it would include anything from your little car pulling a trailer to get mulch in small portions.  That is a small portion of the business.  There would be landscape companies and big purchasers like UVA that would purchase specific products.  Primarily exporting is going to be the same trucks that are going to be bringing in materials that would be anything from a single axle truck to a semi tractor trailer.

 

Mr. Keller noted that he would try to answer Mr. Edgerton’s question.  What he had been told was that the county also had another person out there other than the person who the client hired to do the decibel readings.  Apparently that person recorded a range of decibels.  The report given to them was done in averages.  So he had no way to contest what was said.  It was the same test done by different people and arguably the same kind of equipment.

 

Ms. Joseph noted that one of the things listed to be done is truck repair.  She asked how extensive are his expectation of that.  There is a whole building designated as truck repair.  Not only would the people be working with the wood, but folks would be working on repairing trucks and selling to the public. 

 

Mr. Keller presented slides to show what kind of trucks and equipment will be used in the operation.  He said that all or most of the vehicle and equipment would be worked on inside the structure.  The applicant plans to place several 5,000 gallon tanks to store water below the shop.  So rather than having a peak demand on the well he would like to have a small draw down and gradually fill those wells.  Then he would fill his water truck from the location behind the shop to avoid a peak demand on the water well system.   The 23 gallons per minutes that well yields equates to 33,120 gallons per day.  The recharge rate for that area is 49 gallons per day. They feel that they are using a small percentage of the water in that area.  

 

Mr. Strucko opened the public hearing and invited public comment.  He noted that if there were a lot of speakers the Commission may take a break in the middle of the public hearing.  While they want to give everybody a chance to speak he encouraged each person to consider if prior speakers have made their point that they come up and agree. They are looking for each speaker to add something new to our discussion.  But, they don’t want to preclude anyone from actually coming up and saying what they want to say.   .

 

Eric Wagner, resident of 2040 Fox Hunt Drive, spoke in opposition to the request.  The staff has done a good job in summarizing the problems of this application considering that the applicant has not responded to so many of the inquiries that the staff has had.  As neighbors they have asked the same questions and have gotten very little in response.  The one noise test that was done, which failed, was done with one piece of equipment running.  There will be ten employees at this site at any given time, which indicates that there will be far more than one piece of equipment running at any given time.  So there will be a lot more noise.  In summary he felt they are talking about a manufacturing facility, retail facility and construction equipment yard, which is not what they want in a rural area surrounded by such beautiful property.  There are too many unanswered questions.

 

Dr. V. Cole Peyton, resident of 2140 Fox Hunt Drive and a physician at the Martha Jefferson Hospital spoke against the request.  As a home owner in the adjacent community of Keswick Farm he opposed the proposed “industrialization” of the nearby countryside for many reasons.  He asked for a show of hands from the audience of all that opposed the request.  He noted concerns about the proposal due to many reasons such as air pollution, abhorrent traffic conditions, noise pollution, spontaneous combustion of wood piles, destruction of wildlife habitat, health issues including respiratory and water contamination, disturbance of adjacent livestock such as horses and cattle and depletion of water with the proposed 2,000 gallon use per day. There are more reasons if the truth would be known.  He addressed two other topics – what are the goals or ulterior motives and the industrialization of the Keswick eastern section of Albemarle County.  It is difficult to see how a start up project that costs 3 million dollars to operate a recycling center when there are cheaper opportunities in Zion Crossroads which is already zoned industrial. It is 100 acres and the first 25 acres is proposed as a horse farm.  It is hard to imagine a horse farm in front of a facility with this amount of heavy traffic.  He could not make sense of this economic question and how it was economically feasible.  The neighborhood is a group of concerned citizens trying to preserve the area.  This is not a project to be undertaken to be stuck in the middle of the Keswick area. 

 

Julie Minetos, an adjacent property owner and resident of 1950 Fox Hunt Drive, spoke against the request.  She has had problems with wells on her own 21 acres and actually has drilled 4 wells to get 1.5 gallons a minute.  She worried about the fire hazard and taking care of a fire if it happened.  The noise level is terrible.  She stood on her deck while they conducted the test in June and it sounded like a helicopter was flying in her back yard.  If they take the leaves off the trees and adding the trucks coming in and the people coming in she felt that the noise is going to be greater than the 60 decibel limit.  She worried about the dust.  She was not against small business growth but this is not a proper place for this business.  The increased traffic would be bad for the farm land and horses.  There are safety factors due to limited sight distance and increased accidents.  There are a lot of unanswered questions that need to be addressed.  She did not think that the road could handle this type of traffic and kinds of large vehicles.  Once the special use permit is granted it is a done deal.  She asked for denial of the request.

 

Dr. Matthew Bassignani, adjacent property owner and resident of 4653 Vista Court in Troy and physician at University of Virginia, spoke against the request.  He presented 245 signatures opposed to project of area residents.  (Attachment 5 – Petition with 250 signature against SP-08-32)    As a physician at the University of Virginia one of his interests is bladder cancer.  There were about 62,000 new cases in 2006.  The two most common risks are smoking and exposure to commercial dyes.  He noted concerns with the proposed operation in dying the mulch depending on buyer’s wishes.  The product will be stored on site and they will be exposed to the air which will send obnoxious odors over to their properties.  The dye may seep into well waters and they may drink them.  These dyes may become concentrated into our body.  The study says that these dyes are safe. But, no level of a foreign substance in our bodies is safe if not intended to be there.  In the materials it does not mention the three different dyes to be used.  But it notes that respirators are required for the yard workers.  So it is not going to be as non-toxic as is told.  This is not a saw mill, but actually a manufacturing plant which will disturb the neighborhood.  He felt there were better places than Keswick to put this type of business such as in the new industrial park in Crozet.  It is not meant to be in Keswick.

 

Karen Warren, resident of 140 Warren Crescent Drive in Keswick, spoke in opposition. She lives one mile from the site.  They already have existing traffic problems during the day. She worked out of her home and is at home in day. They already have large trucks going to and from Zion Crossroads and Luck Stone.  There are three inclines between the site and her house that create sight distance problems.  The left hand turn would be very difficult particularly with the vehicles not adhering to the 45 mile an hour speed limit.  The road is already unsafe.  There is a current special use permit on an adjacent property that is not policed.  He breaks the rules almost every day.  Therefore, she had concerns over who would police the activities of the proposed site if the special use permit is approved.  She opposed the request because it adversely impacts the adjacent neighborhood.  It is may be a good plan, but in the wrong place.

 

Sylvia Straun, resident of 4939 Richmond Road, spoke in opposition and deferred her comments to her husband. 

 

Tom Struan, resident of 4979 Richmond Road, spoke in opposition to the request.  He did not have anything against Mr. Vess because he was a small businessman himself.  His main concern being that he lived .4 mile from this project going east on 250 was the increase in truck traffic on a narrow road that could not handle it.  His wife’s mom is afraid to go up to the mailbox because of traffic.  With that in mind he decided to measure the road.  From the yellow line to the white line it is 123”.  From that white line to the lid of his mailbox is 24”.  His neighbor’s mailboxes are the same.   His small pick up truck is 75” wide.  He measured bigger trucks which range from 80” to 94” in width.  He did the math and determined that if they can thread the needle they can do it.  But, he forgot about the mirrors.  Also when two big trucks meet on the road they are going to veer over more towards the while line.  He would not want to be standing at his mailbox when these trucks go by. Therefore, he felt that the road was not wide enough.  He felt that this is a residential area and the road is not built for big trucks.

 

Paul Manning, President of Keswick Farms, spoke in opposition.  He was worried about the health and safety issues, particular about the dust and potential respiratory problems.  He manufactures infant formula.  The EPA has already told us they would measure this as parts to the million.  That would be like several drops in a swimming pool causing kidney infections.  He was worried about the noise because he has a horse farm down the road.  He was very concerned about the health and safety issues down the road.   It is critical.   Ten years from now it may be a problem and they should do something about it now. 

 

Stephen Reynolds, of Keswick Farms, spoke in opposition to the request.  He came to this area because Albemarle County wants to preserve its scenic resources.  Looking at 50 to 250 dump trucks per day is not going to be very scenic.  Hid brother-in-law tried to put a canopy over Cismont Market and was turned down based on that very same reason.  He lives 100 yards from the proposed site.  When he moved here he brought a special needs daughter who 12 years old.   Her life is dependent on clean air. They have an air filtering system in her bedroom and have to give air treatments.  If they cannot keep the dust down his daughter’s welfare will be at great risk.  He wants to protect his family.  He was not against this business man, but he wants to protect his family.  He was concerned over the noise, water and how to keep the dust down. 

 

Brian Verhoff, an adjacent property owner, spoke in opposition to the request.   He had lived there for ten years near Boyd Tavern Market.  He has seen four major accidents on the road.  On accident involved a dump truck had wrecked in front of his house.  The speed limits were lowered.  The 0.4 of a mile of road is a problem.  He agreed with everything that had been said.  He wondered about bringing waste wood products in that might bring new diseases to area.

 

 

Marcia Buck said that she owned Boyd Tavern with her husband.  She spoke in opposition to the request because they wanted to preserve the historic nature of the properties in Albemarle County.  She was concerned with the noise, traffic and damage to the historic fabric of their home.  They have been approved to be a Virginia Landmark.  They prefer that the area remain residential.

 

Steve Friedman, resident of Albemarle County, said that he lived off of Woodsedge Road a couple of miles from the site.  He was not going to be impacted like the other speakers.  He appreciates what Mr. Vess is trying to do in trying to fit a round peg into square hole.  He felt that it would be cheaper and a lower cost for Mr. Vess to locate this business at this location instead of in an industrial area.  He suggested that another site be found in an industrial area.

 

Charles Meyer, resident of 4562 Three Chopt Road, spoke in opposition.  A lot of his concerns have already been addressed.  He lived right across from this property which is a gravel rd where two cars have difficulty passing each other.  The approach from the south onto Three Chopt Road will require engine breaking as well as off of Three Chopt Road.  The noise generated from this engine breaking is a big concern.  The speeding on the road is already a concern.  The road is already being used as a by pass to the traffic light at the intersection of Route 616 and 794. Increased truck traffic will decrease the safety along the old remaining part of Three Chopt Road.  They have seen traffic increase along this road and feel that the most recent traffic studies done in 2006/2007 understate the traffic volume

 

Donna Knoll, resident of Albemarle County on Three Chopt Road, spoke in opposition.  Many of her concerns over this application have been expressed.  She has two issues.  One is referred to as a flood gate. The second is the truck noise on Route 250.  With regards to the noise it has been well covered.   The flood gate issue is that the project will represent the first domino that is going to fall.  Then there will be more and more commercial development along 250. The impact from this development will be unacceptable to the adjacent residential property.

 

The Planning Commission took a five minute break at 8:02 p.m.

 

The meeting reconvened at 8:07.

 

Heinz Gadient spoke in opposition to the request.  He represents Gadient Enterprises Inc t/a Woods Edge Water Facilities which is a community water system supplying 42 homes with drinking water. The well that supplies all the drinking water is a short distance and directly downstream from the property where the Zoning hearing sign #49 is posted. Our easement passed exactly over the same property in question. He would like to be brought fully up to speed on the particulars of what is proposed. There was a wood-chipping operation that lasted a short time last year in this area and coincided with a bad bacterial sample taken which gives me cause for great concern for the safety of our public drinking water. This exact watershed is a very porous limestone area and therefore very sensitive to contamination from run-off of anything.  He was worried about water contaminated.  Last summer he had a bad water sample.  He found a chipping operation breaking down and moving away.  He did not know if it was the cause, but it caused him to be concerned. He had not had a bad water sample since.  In 2002 he hired Nick Evans to do a study for him regarding his water supply. At that time he was financially an interested person in the land this project was on. He suggested that possibly Mr. Evans should have recused himself from submitting a report on this.  He did not know if Mr. Evans still owned part of this property, but he did in 2002.

 

Carlton Brooks, resident of Keswick Farms, spoke in opposition to the request particularly because his home was the closest to where this will happen.  His home is about 400’ due east of this property line.  He was not opposed to recycling, but felt its advantages should outweigh the disadvantages.  He was concerned with the noise, flying debris dangers and dust.  He met with an owner of one of these facilities and he told him that if someone wanted to locate a mulch grinding operation next to his home close to his home that he would oppose it also. He said that there were reasons why a facility of this type should be located on an industrially zoned property because it is noisy, dusty and potentially dangerous from the flying debris and fire.  He met with some of the residents around the facility in Williamsburg.  When he asked them if the noise and dust ever bothered them and they replied that you get used to it.  He felt that is the same response one would hear from residents about the odor from a wood mill.  He felt that the granting of the special use permit would impact his home for the rest of his life and he would therefore ask the Commission to deny the request.

 

Bill Johnson, owner of Limestone Farm and resident of Keswick for 35 years, spoke in opposition to the request.  He had a farm on Black Cat Road that was close to 500 acres, which had been put in an easement. He supported preserving the land.  His company is in the lumber business.  He was very concerned about the air and water pollution.  There is no way that properties that have wood products and do this kind of manufacturing on them are not going to seep into the ground.  He urged the Commission to consider the trees and streams and protect the land.

 

Leslie Dorsey, resident of an adjacent property, spoke in opposition to the request. She had many concerns about the proposal.  The first and foremost concern was if this business was allowed to operate in the community and to police themselves disposing of contaminants in the way they are planning will this ensure the safety of the community.  According to the applicant’s concept of operation they will have strategically located gates at the check points and at the entrance of the state road.  To control access they are proposing a modest care taker residence/office/shop complex to police around the clock.  This in itself is concerning in that they must have someone to police your business around the clock.  Another one would be to have the man power to monitor this business and that being the county and police.  She asked if this would bring crime to their area.  The applicant plans to monitor the materials that are being trucked going in. She was concerned that the applicant was monitoring this himself and wondered if they were licensed professionals.  She asked if the county can guarantee that the contaminated loads will not be accepted in the facility.  Then if the loads are not accepted where will they be taken to.  Will the customer take them off or is the business going to take the loads and put them somewhere on the property as contaminated loads.  There are too many unanswered questions. She felt that the proposed business was like putting the fox in charge of the hen house.  This is not good for the neighborhood or community.  Working out of her home she would have to watch the trucks going in and out of the site if the special use permit was approved.

 

Trevor Joselin, President of the Home Owner’s Association for Glenmore, spoke in opposition to the request.  He pointed out that one mile west is Running Deer Road that has about 80 residences on it.  Then to the west of that is the edge of Glenmore, which has about 750 homes.  Rivanna Village will have another 300 to 400 homes.  There are high density developments in the area.  They are concerned about the proximity and the traffic.  He felt that they were talking about 250 truck trips a day when counting the trips in and out of the facility.  A high proportion of the trucks going to and from the Charlottesville area will go west along Route 250 and avoid the one mile each direction in getting to I-64.  This is going to add a lot of traffic between Glenmore and the freeway junction to the west of Glenmore which is currently a total bottle neck.  The application does not mention the word odor once.  He quoted Tom Richard of The Cornell Waste Management Institute, which says, “Odor is perhaps the most common problem associated with composting and the failure to adequately address it has lead to numerous neighbor complaints and the closure of many large scale facilities.  Fortunately for the most part odors can be controlled but proper management can take time and money.”  Anyone that lives near these types of mulch piles says that there are tremendous smells that happens when the humidity is high and the proportion of air and moisture within them are not managed. It is a technical issue.  He had not heard anything in the application that says how they are going to stop it from smelling when it gets wet and humid.

 

Diane Reynolds, resident of Keswick Farm on an adjacent property, spoke in opposition to the request.  She home schools her daughter who has special needs as referred to earlier.  Her son has attention deficient and focusing is specifically related to noise. In the rural area they don’t have to compete with all of those noises.  She noted concerns about the noise issues and the safety issues related to the increased traffic.  If the applicant moves the operation eastward it would move it closer to her home.  If they have two pieces of equipment instead of one running at the same time the decibel level would increase by about 3 decibels. She asked that the Commission take that into consideration.

 

Mary Beth Wagner spoke in opposition to the request. She asked to tell a story about when the noise test was done.  She agreed with Ms. Minetos that it sounded like a helicopter outside during the early morning test.  In the afternoon the noise test was done while she was inside vacuuming and it sounded like a helicopter.   She was told that the helicopter was tested at either 69 or 70 decibels.  If she could hear that while vacuuming one could just imagine what it would sound like if they were outside.  She asked that the Commission take this in consideration and preserve the rural area. 

 

Bill Dorsey, Senior, said that he was one of the largest adjoining landowner to Mr. Vess’ operation.  He spoke in opposition to the request. He agreed with comments of the other speakers particularly about the noise and pollution concerns.  This is a beautiful area and should be preserved and not become an industrial area.

 

Bill Dorsey, son, spoke in opposition to the request.  He noted that the white house in the center of the field was his residence.  His biggest concern among many was the traffic.  He asked that the request not be approved.

 

Carol Mallon, resident of Boyd Tavern Lane and a local artist, spoke in opposition to the request.  She was concerned with the truck traffic going to the west and going by Luck Stone. But previous to passing Luck Stone they would be passing the entrance to 250 where the buses from Stone Robinson school bus  come and go twice a day.  She asked that they consider the mix and number of trucks with the school buses for their safety.  She was a local artist and had done a portrait of one of the residences on Fox Hunt Lane and felt this was an area of unparallel beauty and would hate to see anything happen to destroy that. .

 

Doug Lowe, resident in the Greenwood area, said that if they would like put this use near his property that he did not want it in his backyard.  He was someone interested in environmental issues, recycling and affordable housing. The county needs to out a way to possibly have an operation like this whether this location or something else because they need to tie this in with burning issues as an alternative to clearing lots. There are a lot of different trade offs. Whether they approve this location there may be a need in our community for those interested in recycling.  As a second issue he was asked by the County Assistant Fire Marshall to do an evaluation on burning issues in regard to the clearing of lots and so forth.  He would tie that to the affordable housing issue. It was determined that our current way of clearing lots is that they clear for the house site.  They may be able to get rid of the good wood at a facility that could use it, but the stumps and debris go to the current land fill and have certain costs associated with doing that.  Without going into the detail it turned out to be if there was a facility like this it would probably be about $1,800 less per house on the affordable housing issue.  He would like to see the recycling issue concern addressed.  He did not have the expertise to address the dyes. Whether this is the site or not for recycling there needs to be a consideration to do something like this somewhere in the county.

 

Jay Willard spoke in opposition to the request.   He pointed out that most of what he knew about this proposal is by being in this room tonight.   The second is that he did know Mr. Vess.  He wanted to echo what Mr. Lowe just said that this could be a very valuable solution to their concern about other alternatives.  The comments specific to this site were noise, dust, sounds, etc. They will not be able to find a site in Albemarle County industrially zoned, residentially zoned or whatever zoning possible that would allow a site outside some of the parameters they have heard about.  If they are serious about finding some alternatives this may be an acceptable solution.  There are a number of solutions such as the denial or approval of the project.  This is not the last time this will be considered.  He urged the Commission to keep in mind some of these things as they consider the choices.

 

Matt Montgomery, area resident on Fox Hunt Drive, spoke in opposition to the request because the health issues are very important.  He agreed with what everybody said particularly about the potential spontaneous combustion in the areas of the compost.  Just a few miles down the road at Zion Crossroads there is already a developed facility for this type of thing.  He did not want this intense use in their backyards due to health issues.

 

Laura Aurisy, resident who lived a mile down the road on 250, spoke in opposition to the request.  She said that it was apparent that there will be no policing if the materials contain lead paint or asbestos.  They already know that there are children who live in Keswick already diagnosed with cancer.  She noted that she had problems getting her mail on 250. She had to flatten herself against the mail box to get mail if trucks go by.  She questioned asked how they know where the policing is going to be for the products brought in.  The business is to take the product.  She was concerned with what is going to go into this mulch and into their ground water.

 

Aaron Zatlolf, resident of 4571 Woodsedge Road, echoed the concerns of the community in opposition to the request. He had heard dozens of people talk against the request, but only one in favor except the applicant.  He submitted a petition with 12 additional signatures against the project request.  (Attachment 6 – Petition with 12 additional signature in opposition to the request)

 

There being no further public comment, Mr. Strucko closed the public hearing to bring the matter before the Commission for further discussion and action.   He pointed out that Mr. Keller was available for questions.

 

Ms. Joseph noted that several persons mentioned spontaneous combustion. She asked if staff had gotten any information from the fire official about their concern for that.

 

Ms. McDowell replied that their response was they were aware of that and were also concerned, but they would handle it if it came up.  The Fire Department has its own set of regulations and this operation would have to fall under their regulations. So they felt that they could handle it.   When they visited the Ivy facility they were told that they had a fire about three years ago and she assumed it was handled. 

 

Ms. Joseph asked if the fire official had to come out and inspect periodically.

 

Ms. McDowell replied that they would have to go out and inspect it to make sure it complied with all of their regulations.  But, she did not know what their schedule would be for periodic visits.

 

Mr. Morris asked Mr. Keller to come forward and address the hazardous waste situation. As he recalled when he visited the site that issue was specifically addressed but he could not recall exactly how that is handled.

 

Mr. Keller questioned if as far as hazardous waste they are referring to incoming materials being compromised. He explained the process as follows.

·         The trucks are checked in at the guardhouse by the employee who has a logbook and knows who is coming in, who has an account and who does not.  If they don’t have an account their truck does not go anywhere. They have to park the truck, go up to the guardhouse and establish an account.  There is a preliminary query as to what they are bringing in on the truck and where it came from.  If the answer is good enough and there is an account then that person is directed to continue into the site to the unloading area which is back in the woods.

·         At that point an employee of Central Virginia Recycling Center physically inspects what is on the truck and then it is unloaded.  The truck is unloaded under the supervision of one of those ten employees.  If something comes off the truck that has a stain or paint on it or is questionable in any way, such as having pieces of metal that would highly compromise the equipment when it processes the wood, all of that is stuff is thrown right back on the truck. If there is a great deal of of materials then that person has to reload their truck or it is reloaded for them and he is dismissed.  They are no longer invited back to the facility.  If there are small portions of impurities that are discovered either at that time and they are not hauled off, or if in their subsequent sorting of materials, such as the sorting of stumps that might come in with brush or pallets, they are put in separate piles. It would be unprocessed, but in separate piles.

·         During that sorting process there is a second review of that material. With that second sorting process he assumed that the person who brought it are now gone.  There would be two bins and the business name is put on that.  Next time that business or person comes in they are told they brought something bad and have to pick it up.  If that person never comes back then they put it over to the side and as small amounts are gathered together they are then taken to the proper repository for that. 

·         It is critical for Mr. Vess to have clean product coming in because people are not going to buy his product if he does not do it properly.  He is going to be selling a product that is grinded up stumps to be used for mulch and landscaping for residential and commercial uses.  The mulch that goes around our house would be medium to good grade.   Then he is also going to be selling product that are very fine, color specific and texture specific for specific commercial uses.  He wants to be able to meet the specifications and criteria for a variety of users and not reject 50 percent of the product that comes in.  He wants to impress upon the Commission that the applicant is very sensitive to contamination of his products and wants to have several ways to inspect and dispose of it if it comes to the property.

 

Mr. Loach questioned how many pieces of equipment would be grinding at one time.

 

Mr. Keller replied that there is only two pieces of equipment that does grinding.  The tub grinder does the major grinding. There is a piece of equipment used at the very beginning of the process before the tub grinder that is called the trammel.  At the beginning the material is put on the grizzly, which is a vibrating grate that goes on the trammel.  When stumps specifically brought to the site and they are put on grizzly and shaken and the dirt and gravel comes off of it.  The trammel may do some minor grinding, but its primary job is to gradate the mulch and also to internally colorize.  All of the coloration occurs within the confines of the trammel. After discussion with Mr. Vess, Mr. Keeler noted that with the proper equipment purchased with the proper screens the tub grinder could be the only one.

 

Mr. Strucko asked if there were other questions for Mr. Keeler.

 

Mr. Keller asked to mention one other thing.  Regarding the truck traffic and the limitations they are proposing to limit the traffic on has increased.  He asked to restate that they are proposing to limit the traffic for bulk materials coming in and going out to 50 trucks and 3 semis per day.  With the guard house they have a turn around and can send people away.  They know if they violate any of the performance standards or proffers that this operation would be shut down.  Regarding the issue about spontaneous combustion that is an increasingly large concern where people do not properly manage the product that they grind.  They allow it to sit there and stream which creates internal combustion and many piles would catch fire.  But this whole process is predicated on the fact that they are creating a quality product and for the product to look good it needs to have uniformity.  The only way to get that is to turn it and to prevent all of this anaerobic decomposition so it does not turn into compost.  Nobody wants to purchase something that three months later would be powder around their plants.  They would want it to last a long time.  The 50 truck trips would be coming or leaving would mean that it would be times two. 

 

Ms. Porterfield noted that the proposed project is in her district. She commended Mr. Vess and Terra Concepts because they have done a good job in educating her by sending her out to the facility in Williamsburg that was most like what Mr. Vess is planning. She visited the facility in Williamsburg and then met with Ms. McDowell and Lindsay Dorrier to ask questions and get more educated on the project.  She visited one site on her own and the other three sites with Joan McDowell.  They have looked at a variety of mulching facilities.  She certainly wanted to see them bring more business into Albemarle County.  But frankly she believed from having looked at things that this is not the place.  She would love to be able to have ten more employees in Albemarle County and to have the machinery, property and product sales taxes.  She would like to know that they would be eliminating burning and dumping in the land fields.  She liked the thought that they would be providing a useful product. 

 

From a review of other mulching operations Ms. Porterfield made the following observations and concerns:

 

The one thing that she saw when visiting three of the four facilities is that all of the facilities basically came first. The facility near Zion Crossroads, Agricu-Mulch, is on a piece of property approximately 44 acres that was already had the Light Commercial zoning.  The facility located outside of Williamsburg, Waltrip Recycling, had been owned by the same family since World War II.  They started a land field around 1950 on 200 acres.  They also in the mid-60’s opened a small regional airport. In the early 90’s they made application for their mulching facility.  Anything that came in around them already knew there was a land field there.  It is closed today, but the land field is there.  The noise issues she doubted were very big because they already had an airport.  The owner indicated that probably if he was applying for the permit for the mulching facility today he might not get it. It took him over a year in the early 90’s to get it.  The most recent trip was to the Ivy Land Fill, which has a lot of acres. 

 

Dust and fire issues - The dust issues and fire issues were discussed.  There was a significant fire that burned at Ivy Land Field but they were able to take care of it.  It is a problem.  In fact a number of the piles were smoldering.   They could see the smoke coming out of them.  It is true that the mulch piles have to be managed well.  But there is the possibility of fire.  The people in Williamsburg indicated that even in moist air condition they have dust problems down there.  One member of Agri-Mulch indicated that they try to weed out all of the poison ivy that might be on some of these things because it could be air borne. 

 

Grinder danger, safety issues - She had not thought about grinder danger until they actually came upon a log that had been thrown out of the grinder.  She was told that the log could be thrown 100 to 150 yards.  At that facility they don’t allow anybody outside without a hard hat and usually just the one person running the things. 

 

Dying process – There had been talk about the safety of the colorants. The application suggested that fire fighters should choose self-contained breathing apparatus when fighting the fire with things that have been colored.  Also one facility indicated that there could be discoloration of land or water.  Those are definite concerns in that area.

 

Water Use – She had been heavily involved in the Village of Rivanna planning and she had been made aware that there are significant well water issues in the eastern part of Albemarle County.  The residents on the west side of Running Deer have asked to be in the development area because they have had so many problems with their wells. That needs to be taken into consideration.

 

Noise – There is no question that there have been the noise tests that they could say either failed or did not fail.  But the problem is that they were in the height of summer and they had all the leaves on the trees.  The logic says that the noise is going to get a little worse.  Having a helicopter in your backyard for eight hours is totally different from having one go fly over.  

 

The residents came first - She could not support the request because there is already a large residential population around this land. The residents came first and they should not have to expect something like this to be there.  There are lots of reasons to say there are definite problems with it, but the biggest thing is that unlike the other three facilities the residents here came first.  If it had been the other way around and they chose to build their houses around it that would have been their chose.  They did not anticipate having a heavy industrial application in their backyard.

 

Mr. Strucko opposed extending this industrial operation into the rural areas.  This is a rural area zoned parcel inside the rural area.  In preserving Albemarle County’s rural character they have to stick to that principle.  That is why he is not in favor of the request.  It has been compared to the Ivy landfill, which has been a headache for Albemarle County for quite some time.  One of the major issues was leakage into the ground water.  He could not view this operation as an agricultural, forestall or fishery use.  He could not view it as a saw mill or wood yard.  This does have an industrial component.  There is treatment going on here.  They run the risk of contaminating the ground water in a sensitive ground water area of the county where they have had wells fail and county concern about what is available in this particular section of the county.  He felt that the factors unfavorable weigh very heavily.  Given the incomplete nature of the application relating to ground water, parking and traffic he could not support the request.

 

Mr. Edgerton concurred with what had been said. He felt strongly that the rural area is not the place to put this use even though it was a potential value for the county to someday have a facility of this sort.  This is far too industrial to ever be put into the rural area.

 

Mr. Loach agreed.  He was glad to hear Ms. Porterfield say that the residents came first. The report is really incomplete.  With that said he could not support the request. The DEQ memo did not deal with the aspect of coloration.  The carcinogenics do not belong in Crozet either as one of the speakers pointed out.  There was some concern by the county engineer that the traffic was understated. The report is incomplete and therefore he could not support the request.

 

Mr. Morris agreed very much with his colleagues.  When he went out to the site he was very impressed with the operation. It does provide a tremendous service. However, he was also amazed at looking at its location and connection with the residential areas and so on.   It is a great idea, but the wrong location.

 

Ms. Joseph said when they first went out there and looked at this in June they were just contemplating at that point in time a grinding operation.  The proposed operation has grown.  There is a reason that we allow or at least have it within our ordinance that some of these things are allowed in the rural areas.  They need a big piece of land.  Some of this stuff they do in the rural areas is industrial.  This area is very developed.  It is hard to look at this and say it is rural area when she looks at this tax map and sees all of the subdivisions that have occurred in the area.  She was grateful to the Johnsons for putting their land under easement because that really is saving a beautiful part of the county for all of us. She looks at this as being incredibly intense.  It is not just tub grinding with bringing in stuff and wholesaling it.  This is a retail enterprise, the repairing of trucks and a manufacturing process with the coloration.  She felt that is not the intent of the rural areas.  Maybe grinding something up where it is not so close to a residential area is something that can happen.  It is important that everyone remembers that industrial stuff happens in the rural areas with trucks going back and forth.  They want people to use the rural areas for agricultural and forestry, but this goes well beyond that.  Therefore, she could not support the request.

 

Ms. Porterfield moved for denial of SP-2008-00032 Central Virginia Recycling Center for the reasons listed in the staff report, as follows.

 

1.       The operation would cause noise and traffic that is uncharacteristic to this Rural Area.

2.       The operation could exceed the maximum allowed noise standards in the Zoning Ordinance.

3.       The noise, both volume and duration, could disturb the neighbors.

4.       The mulching operation would be of greater benefit to development occurring in both Albemarle’s Development Areas and in Fluvanna County.

5.       The information requested by staff pertaining to groundwater, parking and traffic generated from this operation has not been fully provided; therefore, the review is incomplete.

 

Mr. Morris seconded the motion.

 

The motion carried by a vote of 6:0.

 

Mr. Strucko noted that SP-2008-00032 Central Recycling Center would go to the Board of Supervisors with a recommendation for denial on March 11, 2009 for further consideration.

 

Mr. Cilimberg said that there was a list of conditions included in the event that there was a Board inclination to approve this.  He asked if the Commission has any comments regarding the conditions that they would want forwarded on or just leave them as they are.

 

Mr. Loach said that they need to get clarification on the DEQ and the coloration because they dealt only with the water aspects versus the water and the contamination.  He would make that a condition that DEQ address the potential groundwater contamination from the colorants.  He was not sure that they have a full handle yet on the traffic.

 

Mr. Edgerton said that several Commissioners commented, which he did not comment on but agreed with it, that staff has judged this application to be incomplete.  As such he did not know how they could narrow down a list of conditions to go with it.  So he would suggest that they not leave the door open as far as their opinion. 

 

The Planning Commission agreed with Mr. Edgerton not to pass on a list of conditions to the Board of Supervisors due to the incomplete application.

 

In summary, the Planning Commission recommended denial of SP-2008-00032 Central Virginia Recycling Center based on the findings stated in the staff report.  These include factors listed as unfavorable, as follows:

 

1.       The operation would cause noise and traffic that is uncharacteristic to this Rural Area.

2.       The operation could exceed the maximum allowed noise standards in the Zoning Ordinance.

3.       The noise, both volume and duration, could disturb the neighbors.

4.       The mulching operation would be of greater benefit to development occurring in both Albemarle’s Development Areas and in Fluvanna County.

5.       The information requested by staff pertaining to groundwater, parking and traffic generated from this operation has not been fully provided; therefore, the review is incomplete.

 

And the following findings stated in the staff report:

 

·         Use will be of substantial detriment to adjacent property.

o        Potential impacts of the volume and length of time of noise from the operation. 

o        Potential impacts of dust and odor based on similar mulching operations.

o        Potential for mulch piles catching on fire.

·         Changes to the character of the district.

o        Visibility of operation from neighboring properties.

o        Impact of operation including traffic from heavy trucks and customer vehicles, and the equipment running the wood mulching operation.

·         Not in harmony with the purpose and intent of the ordinance and uses permitted by right in the district.

o        Use is of an industrial nature otherwise only permitted by right in the Heavy Industrial District and is not consistent with the intent of the Rural Areas District and uses permitted by-right there-in.

·         Not in harmony with the public health, safety and welfare.

o        Although intersection and entrance improvements to meet VDOT standards are proposed, the truck traffic accessing the site is not customary for this area and safety is a concern for trucks using Route 794.

o        Potential for mulch-pile fires.

 

Commissioners also noted the following additional concerns in making their recommendation for denial:

 

·         The proposed operation has grown and become incredibly intense.  It is not just the tub grinding of material being brought in and wholesaling it.  This would be a retail enterprise along with the repairing of trucks and a manufacturing process with the coloration.  This is not the intent of the Rural Areas and the Rural Areas needs to be protected.

·         The potential groundwater contamination from the colorants needs to be addressed.  DEQ has not commented on this contamination issue. 

·         The traffic is understated.  The Commission does not have a full handle on the traffic impacts. 

·         This proposal is a great idea, but in the wrong location.  The existing surrounding rural residential area was here first and must be taken into account.  (Staff and/or a Planning Commissioner made three trips to similar operations in VA.  The land used for the operation in each case had been zoned a minimum of light industrial prior to the decision to operate a mulching facility.)

·         This should not be viewed as a saw-mill or wood yard because of the treatment going on. There is a risk of contaminating the ground water in a sensitive area.

·         Potential for injury as grinder might “throw” large pieces of wood hundreds of feet.

·         Potential for contaminated material to be brought on site.

·         Noise tests were conducted in the summer when trees were leafed out.

·         Question of whether the amount of water needed for this use will deplete the wells of surrounding property owners and other owners as far away as Running Deer Drive, where property owners have long reported well issues.

 

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