by Rose Murphy, Bull Run Observer

6 August 2010, pp 9-10

“After more than two hours of comment from 78 residents, the special use permit (SUP) requested by Finley Asphalt and Sealing, Inc., to build an asphalt plant on Hornbaker Road near Innovation was turned down unanimously by Prince William Board of County Supervisors meeting in McCoart Government Center off Prince William Parkway.

“Both the county’s planning staff and its planning commission had recommended approval of the application.

“In making the motion to deny the application, Wally Covington, (R-Brentsville), commented, ‘It wasn’t an easy decision.’ He explained the county is number 17 in job growth in the nation, and has been number one in the state for the past nine years, and that the proposed plant ‘is inconsistent with long-range planning’ and a more intense use of the site.

“Covington said granting the SUP ‘would prioritize a non-targeted industry and is against economic development.’  He added that some of the uses permitted on the 8.8-acre sire by right could be acceptable.

“During the hearing, Gifford Hampshire, Finley’s attorney, advised permitted by–right uses include an industrial bakery, a truck or bus terminal, brick manufacturing, recycling and truck lots. Hampshire also
asserted there already are two asphalt facilities in the Innovation sector plan, and that there have been no complaints regarding them.

“The SUP site is at 9514 Hornbaker Rd., about 450 feet south of the Industrial Road/Hornbaker Road intersection. The tract is zoned industrial transportation (M/T), is in the airport safety overlay district and is termed industrial employment (EI) on the county’s comprehensive land use plan.

“Steve Griffin, county planning director, noted the plant would be at the edge of the EI area and is a ‘more intense use’ next to Innovation.

“A county report shows the property is surrounded by Broad Run Industrial Park on the north and west. On the east across Hornbaker Road and on the south are vacant portions of Innovation zoned planned business development (PBD). There is a single-family dwelling about 275 feet to the south.

“Griffin told the meeting the plant would mix liquid asphalt cement with aggregates such as gravel to produce paving material. The paving material then would be trucked to job sites.

“The planning director explained the county’s economic development department was concerned with the application because the site is near Innovation. He added he didn’t know owners of property at Innovation were worried about the asphalt plant until after the planning commission heard the case last May.

“Hampshire told supervisors the SUP application had been improved since it first was submitted a year ago. He said the use ‘is consistent with zoning and the comprehensive plan,’ is less intense than uses in the center of the district and that there ‘would be no odor or impact’ from the plant.

“Eric Finley, the applicant, explained he has been looking for three years to expand his plant, which ‘provides affordable paving for small businesses.’  He estimated $2.3 million in revenue over the next 5 years and added he would bring in over 100 new jobs.

“Finley reported he’d ‘paid a premium price’ for the proposed plant location. After the planning commission hearing, he claimed a ‘lot of bad information’ was circulated about his proposal.

” ‘So we deferred. We learned we need to communicate and work with the public. Now we have a better plan for a cleaner, greener facility,’ Finley added.

“A June 2, 2009 public hearing for Finley before supervisors was postponed indefinitely. That same month, GRR Land of Virginia withdrew its zoning application for an asphalt and concrete plant at 9435 Contractor’s Ct. in Broad Run Industrial Park.

“A citizens’ meeting June 3, 2009 drew more than 100 Bristow area residents who spoke against both Finley’s and GRR’s plans. They contended one of the plants would be a half-mile from Victory Elementary School and a quarter mile from Saybrooke subdivison. The second would be a mile from the school and a half-mile from Saybrooke. Residents mentioned concerns with health, the environment and a possible decline in property values.

“Realtor Barry Wright told the July 27 session he would expect no decline in property values in residences near the Finley operation. He said Heritage Hunt is near a similar plant, and there have been no problems.

“Corey Stewart, board chairman, limited to one minute the time each of those who spoke at the public hearing could have. Of the 78 who spoke, 45 were against the SUP and 33 were for it.

“Several owners or representatives from Innovation addressed the hearing, including John Schofield, president of Innovation Owners’ Association. He contended that when the sector plan was drawn up for the area, ‘the intense uses were to be in the interior.’ He said the business park and the asphalt plant ‘are two very incompatible uses.’  He added his association was unaware the site was being proposed for an intense use and was against it.

“Others who spoke from Innovation against the SUP include Kevin Donahue, Mark Christopher, Michael Armm and Jim Coakley.

“Residents speaking against the SUP included Mary Ann and Ashleigh Towne and David Randall, all from Saybrooke; Alexander Kot, leader of Bristow Opposition; Albert Hammond and Laura Arnold, both of Victory Lakes; Tamara and Mike Denegris, both of Victory Lakes; Kimberly Kreswick, a professor at George Mason University, and Jennifer Baucom, Braemar.

“Also voicing objections were Timothy Capps, Bristow; Julian Russell; Kim Tallia, Victory Lakes; Christine Rosenfield, Victory Lakes; Richard Martin, a small buisness owner; Mike Rosenfield. Victory Lakes; Johnatan Towne, a highschool student worried about increased traffic; Jacqueline Davidson, Braemar; Drew Richards. Saybrooke, and Chris Hobbs.

“Addressing the public hearing in favor of the SUP were Pauline Davis, Thomas Jacoby from Westridge; Ron Vannoy of Kettle Run Road; Joe Dragp; Andy Harper, Manassas Park; Dick Leukins, Gainsville; Coleman Childress Manassas; Mark Weaver Bethlehem Road; Betty Duley, Featherbed Lane; Chris Bates, Braemar; Dan Sawyer. Brentsville District, and Mark Presgraves, who has a plumbing buisness in Manassas.

“Others who spoke for granting the SUP included Michael Sawyer, Mountain Road; Michael Wolfrey; New Bristoe Village; Maggie Matthews; Amanda Napolitano; Dan Snow; Sam Snow; Kevin Johnson, Braemar; Chris Goodman; Ed Watkins, Yates Ford Road; James Pollen; Justin Wolfrey; Jim Webber and former Gainesville supervisor Ed Wilbourn.

“Wilbourn pointed out Innovation has no impact on nearby buisnesses, and that other buisnesses do not interfere Innovation. He contended Finley’s proposal has been the victim of a lot of misinformation.

” ‘This is not an asphalt plan. It’s a mixing facility. It meets all the requirements,’ he added.”