Special report to the Cape Charles Mirror by Ken Dufty
A Special Use Permit public hearing regarding Julie and Gary Wagner’s expansion of their borrow pit to accept 700,000 cubic yards of dredge spoils at the Eastville site just south of the Fabric Store on the east side of Route 13 north.
Planner Peter Stith presented the facts on this proposal, which was the subject of a special Planning Commission meeting earlier in the day. Stith said the Planning Commission wrestled with conditions that they would recommend to the BOS if the action was approved. The recommendation was finally passed by the Planning Commission 4-3 with the following recommended conditions:
1. Documentation that the sediments would not be hazardous including protocol for testing and validation.
2. Letter from DEQ outlining protocol and assurances, document storm water plan and file that with the county on an official plat.
3. Reduce buffer from 200′ to 100′, turning lane, signage signifying truck traffic, driveway and road upgrades, and a performance bond.
During the hearing, the Wagners presented a slew of private and public consultants, including representatives from the state Division of Mines and Mineral Extraction, all of whom addressed concerns regarding safety, groundwater, signage, and hours of operation.
Supervisor LeMond raised issues regarding hours of operation and truck approach signage. Supervisor Duer raised many issues regarding the buffer, whether or not the groundwater committee had been consulted (they had not), and the height of the closure mound. The height of the seeded mound at the conclusion of this project would be 31′ if the buffer was reduced to 100′, and 70 feet if it stayed at 200′.
Dan Brown, Eyre Baldwin’s business partner as well as Wagner’s business partner presented the board with the overall plan. He informed the Board that the project is needed to facilitate the timely construction of the third tunnel at the CBBT and introduced Troy Savage from Kerr Environmental Services. Mr. Savage testified that only 2 types of dredge spoils would be taken to the Eastville site and the material would consist of a “toothpaste” type of material and be bentonite (clay) and sand. The material would not be transported to the site until it had been staged and tested by DEQ to ensure it was benign. He testified that the material is odorless and would be transported in new sealed trucks to prevent spillage.
Test wells were driven at Appleseed’s to ensure that there is no interconnection between the upper water table aquifer and the lower aquifer where the majority of folks get their drinking water. He said there would be no impact to the aquifer outside the site.
Brian Goodlow from Goodlow PC in Suffolk then gave an estimate on truck traffic, saying that there are currently 1200-1300 trucks/day on 13, and this project would only add about 50 trucks/day at the onset, with a maximum of 100 trucks/day at the height.
Tom Bigg from DMME said all parameters of the project are within the normal range for a site like this and DMME will inspect the site as the project unfolds.
During the public hearing, several people spoke including Roberta Kellam, Bob Meyers, Jeff Walker, and a nearby resident, Dave Moore. Roberta raised concerns about the traffic impacts during the height of the tourist season (the project would commence in July, 2017). She said this is an industrial action in close proximity to residential homes, and that the SUP is cloaked as an expansion of a mine but in reality is a for a dredge spoil site. She said there are other areas in the county that could use the fill for beneficial reclamation.
Robert Meyers asked the Board to table the matter until the many questions that were raised were answered. He said the hydrological study that was referenced (well drilling at Appleseeds) needs to be done by a licensed hydro geologist, and also raised the issue that the applicant had already encroached into the 200′ buffer that was a condition of his current mining permit, and questioned why the zoning administrator knew that and did not enforce that requirement.
Dave Moore, a neighbor, testified that the current storm water pond is a mere 58′ from his home and he is concerned about the close proximity of the expanded site to area homes.
Jeff Walker offered his support of the project as a member of the CBBT Commission and informed the Board that he was there to answer any questions they had about the project as it relates to the CBBT.
Supervisor Hogg then asked how long the material would stay on the site once it was deposited and the mound seeded and stabilized. Wagner responded that that depended on who needs it for another project. Bibb interceded and said the mound when completed would be seeded and vegetated and would have to remain that way for 2 years, at which time the material could be used much as the way the borrow pit is currently used.
Supervisor LeMond, speaking to his experience with leaking trucks in the coal fields of Indiana expressed concern about the conditions that would prevent that, and inquired about the flashing signs that would signify active truck traffic. He recommended 4′ x 4′ signs with yellow flashing lights that would be activated only when a truck approached.
Supervisor Bennett spoke to testing of the sediments and expressed concern about nearby wells. Supervisor Duer lobbied for a fence to keep folks out of the site, especially youngsters who might be drawn to the mound. Hogg and Bennett also lobbied for a fence, with Supervisor Bennett saying he would vote against it if there was not a provision for a fence. This opened a dialogue with Wagner, who said if a fence was required, he would recommend a fence only around the 18 acre site, rather than the full 36 acre site. He also said that he would be willing to fence just around the pond, which he said was the major attractive feature for youngsters in the area.
Chairman Murray then proposed that the Board require the following conditions and vote on the SUP with those conditions:
1. Hours of operation only from 7 am to 5pm
2. Credible and verifiable documentation that NO contaminants exist in
the sediments that will be deposited at the site
3. Stabilization of the mound once completed, seeding and vegetation
4. Additional screening added between neighboring residences and the
5. Deceleration Lane and Signage, to be worked out with VDOT
6. Replace all shallow wells within a 1,000 foot radius and install deep
7. Require DMME inspections to ensure compliance with conditions
8. Repair damage to Simpkins Road and ensure that road is in safe and
9. Document the stormwater pond with county
10. Only materials from the CBBT will be deposited at the site
More deliberation ensued, and the applicant agreed to fence the area
around the pond, not the entire mound, and that was added as the final
A vote was taken on the motion to approve the SUP with the 11 conditions, and passed on a 4-1 vote with Supervisor Hogg dissenting.