Citizens for Balanced Growth

Category: Asphalt Plants at Innovation (2009-2010)

“Some 78 speakers help convince supervisors to vote ‘no’ on paving facility”

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.”

“Community concerns overriding, says Stewart”

by Rose Murphy, Bull Run Observer

5 June 2009, pp 1, 20

“Asphalt plants won’t be coming to land near Innovation, ‘unless and until both plants satisfy the community’s concerns’ about them, Corey Stewart, chairman of Prince William Board of County Supervisors, said May 27.

“A public hearing set for June 2 for a special use permit (SUP) to let Finley Asphalt and Sealing, Inc., build an asphalt plant on Hornbaker Road near Innovation was postponed indefinitely, Stewart explained.  He added he expects another SUP, this one for GRR Land of Virginia and scheduled for public hearing June 23, also will be postponed.

“Prince William County Planning Commission recommended the Finely SUP for approval at a public hearing May 6.  The 8.8 acres site is designated industrial employment (EI) on the county’s comprehensive land use plan.  It is zoned industrial transportation (M/T), and is in the airport safety overlay district.

“The GRR Land of Virginia property is three acres at 9435 Contractor’s Ct. in Broad Run Industrial Park.  The SUP is for an asphalt and concrete batching plant on land zoned for heavy industry (M1) 600 feet south of the intersection of Contractor’s Court and Industrial Drive.  The planning commission recommended approval of both a SUP and proffer changes for the operation at its May 20 meeting.

“In response to concerns that Finely Asphalt contributed $16,000 to him over the last two years, Stewart said he received $1000 on May 1, 2009, which he returned because of the pending SUP.  The company also contributed $10,000 on March 27, 2008, when he was running for lieutenant governor of Virginia, and $5000 on September 30, 2007, when sought the board of supervisors’ office.

” ‘I get support from a broad section of the business community, but that doesn’t mean support for their development.  In fact, I oppose this (SUP), and will continue to oppose both plants until community concerns are satisfied,’ the chairman said in a May 27 interview.

” ‘I will not support this development over the community’s objections,’ he asserted.

“Stewart pointed out, ‘I received more contributions from businesses in the area that strongly oppose (the Finley) propose, including land owners at Innovation.’

“The chairman noted land in the area of the VA 234 bypass ‘is some of the last industrially planned and zoned property left in the county, and industrial development is necessary for the county’s growth.’

“Stewart added, ‘However, the safety of the public is first and foremost.  I won’t support any development if it threatens public safety.’

“He explained he also realizes ‘some people feel blindsided by a lack of notice’ on the two plants.  The county is required to notify property owners within 200 feet of a SUP application, and this was done.

” ‘We should look at revising the county ordinance to require wider notice.  Two hundred feet is not sufficient,’ he remarked.

” ‘The Bull Run Observer’ also received e-mails opposing Finley SUP from Victory Lake residents Sam Shinaishin, John Schmitt and Charlotte and Joe Herres.

“Shinaishin mentioned the Finley contributions to Stewart’s coffers, and pointed out the Finely property at 9514 Hornbaker Road ‘is less than one mile east of Victory Lake Elementary School and a half mile (from) the Saybrooke subdivision.’  He noted Finley already purchased the property, which he called ‘a high degree of confidence for a project needing significant waivers and departures from established county development and zoning patterns.’

“Schmitt also noted the Finley money given Stewart.  He said he’d ‘decided to vote for [Stewart] in the last election,’ but that a vote for Finley Asphalt will cause Stewart to ‘lose my vote and never get it back.  I suspect my wife’s vote as well.’

“In his reply to Schmitt, Stewart pointed out there are very strict guidelines from the Environmental Protection Agency for pollution and emissions from asphalt plants.  These standards are enforced by the Department of Environmental Quality.  He said he appreciated Schmitt’s support and shared his concerns over the plant.  Stewart added Erick Finley, plant owner, intends to ‘meet with the community to answer its concerns, and has deferred the public hearing….’

“The Herres couple wrote ‘The Bull Run Observer’ that “this neighborhood is furious and willing to do anything to stop this (plant) from happening.  After reading about the horrific health risks that come along with breathing the dangerous toxins daily, I don’t think most people will stay.’  The e-mail added that there are ‘many other reasons this doesn’t make sense.’

“In an e-mail sent to businesses and residents in Western Prince William County May 25, Stewart said, ‘There seems to be misinformation spreading in the community that this is a done deal.  I want to put an end to it right now.  I am in opposition to these plants as long as the community is in opposition to these plants.

” ‘There have also been accusations that I am unable to be objective in this situation because Erick Finley has been a strong supporter of my campaigns.  I want to make it clear that this is not the case.  I have probably received more contributions from businesses and individuals who currently stand in opposition to his proposal.  I am not for sale, and I do not make my decisions with anything else than the best interests of Prince William County in mind.’

“Tim Bako, a spokesman for Finley Asphalt, said May 27 the company had gone beyond the 200-foot notice requirement in telling the public about the plant.  He explained letters had gone to businesses and residents in the area, Manassas Airport and a homeowners’ association.  He said he did not recall the name of the homeowners’ group.

“Bako said only two people contacted the company, one inquiring whether the operation would run 24/7.  He said the company would operate round the clock ‘during paving season, if VDOT needs us for nighttime work.’

“Bako likened the 600 vehicle trips per day planned by the plant to traffic generated by 30 residential homes.  He said some fast food restaurants generate more than 1200 vehicle trips each day.  He said emissions from the plant ‘would be less than sitting in traffic.’

” ‘The plant will be based on green technology.  It will be an environmentally friendly operation,’ Bako pointed out.”

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