By. Brent Wilson, Field Officer
The Greene County Planning Commission heard two related issues on Wednesday, April, 16th. Larry and Barbara Hall of APEX, LLC have found a business opportunity – recycling concrete and blacktop – to locate on their property between Lowes and Luck Stone in Ruckersville.
The property is currently zoned A-1 which does not permit the recycling center. So the request was made to revise A-1 Agricultural and M-1 Industrial to permit the recycling center by special use permit.
Planning Commissioner John McCloskey asked for a clarification on the size of the recycling center and Zoning Administrator/Planning Director Bart Svoboda said that 10 acres or less could be allowed, if over 10 acres then it would have to be located in an industrial zone. A-1 won’t fit in all cases, but where the roadway is large enough to permit truck traffic it would be an option.
Only two speakers from the public addressed the Planning Commission and they both brought up concerns about pollution from the recycling center. Commissioner Vic Schaff questioned why a recycling center would not be included under B-3 zoning instead of A-1? This lead to a discussion whether B-3 could be added to the ordinance revision. Svoboda stated that the request before the Planning Commission could not have an addition but they could delete and place restrictions on the request. If the Planning Commission wanted to act on B-3 zoning it would have to be heard as a separate action and the meeting would have to be advertised.
Chairman Jay Willer addressed Mr. Hall to clarify his desire. Mr. Hall stated he preferred the A-1 zoning but would be willing to work with whatever zoning the Planning Commission decided upon. If the Planning Commission decided to pursue the B-3 zoning Bart Svoboda explained that APEX would need to request a rezoning of their property to B-3 and then request the SUP. At that point, Commissioner Schaff made a motion to approve the ordinance revision, remove A-1 from the zoning and to define recycling by excluding junk yards and hazardous materials. The motion passed 4-1 with Commissioner Eva Young voting against it.
The second item of the evening was the special use permit request of APEX, LLC/Larry and Barbara Hall for 5 acres of the 23 acre tract they own at the location noted above currently zoned A-1. Since the actions of the Planning Commission are recommendations to the BOS the exclusion of A-1 has not technically occurred. So the Planning Commission took a mulligan and went ahead with the SUP in case the Board of Supervisors allows recycling centers in A-1 zones. Of particular interest during Bart Svoboda’s presentation was the state requirement of 25% recycling that this center would help the county in attaining. Svoboda also outlined the requirements of building up a berm and planting six foot evergreens near the north end of Lowes to block the view. Finally, the hours of operation would be restricted the same as Luck Stone, from 7 am to 9 pm.
Mr. Hall outlined the process that they want to start up in Greene. This recycling operation reclaims 100% of the materials taken in. Currently Virginia does not use this material, but VDOT is working on getting such recycled materials approved for use. He also stated that the volume he has of 38,000 tons when recycled would meet the 25% goal by itself. He also stated that they have closed the entrance off US 29 and would be using the entrance near Lowes that has a stop light.
The same two environmental concerns that were raised by the public in the ordinance proposal were repeated in the SUP hearing. Dave Holtzman with the Piedmont Environmental Council felt that the location for the recycling center was appropriate especially next to the Luck Stone quarry. He raised the question if all of the materials coming into the recycling center originated in Greene and therefore would the county get credit for recycling toward the 25% requirement and what volume of truck traffic would be at the light near Lowes.
Commissioner McCloskey asked Mr. Hall how much material would be on site when in operation. Mr. Hall stated 5-6,000 tons which is much less than is stored currently (materials before recycling).
Chairman Willer asked if the business is currently registered with Greene County and Mr. Hall indicated that after the zoning issues were resolved, he would then register the business.
This lead to a rather complicated motion of denying the request in A-1 unless the Board of Supervisors allowed the recycling center in A-1, then the PC would approve the request. This was approved 5-0 and it will be passed on to the BOS as will the request for the ordinance revision.
Brent Wilson is the Greene County Field Officer for the Free Enterprise Forum a privately funded public policy organization.