County allows mini-dumps: Rejects vehicle displays on Rivanna

The Board of Supervisors has opened the door– or the ground, actually– to allow contractors, or anyone else, to dump construction debris without a permit.

As long as the hole is smaller than 10,000 square feet, the zoning text amendment passed July 3 allows for the dumping of materials such as brick, concrete, and asphalt.

That troubles some County residents, who fear that the inclusion of asphalt could lead to groundwater contamination and that unregulated, quarter-acre dumpsites could spring up all over the county.

Contractors, however, say the County had allowed burial of those materials up until it reinterpreted the ordinance a couple of years ago. They contend it's costly to legally dispose of those materials in Albemarle County.

Because the Ivy Landfill does not accept construction debris, it must be trucked to Browning-Ferris Industries at Zion Crossroads. Ultimately it ends up buried in another county.

"I think it's rotten," says dump opponent Kathryn Russell, who attended the Supes' July 3 meeting but says she was not allowed to voice her opposition because she'd already addressed the Board at its June 5 meeting.

The Board voted 4-0 in favor of the staff-recommended amendment; board members Sally Thomas and Charles Martin were absent.

Another unanimous vote last week did not go in a developer's favor. On July 2, the Albemarle County Planning Commission, an advisory body, rebuffed a requested vehicle rental and maintenance facility along the Rivanna River just off U.S. 250 near Free Bridge. Pavilion at Riverbend Associates LLC had filed the request.

County staff had recommended a special use permit, which would have allowed a business such as a U-Haul rental. But the Planning Commission decreed that the Rivanna River was the wrong place for businesses like the vehicle storage facility, and it turned down Carmichael Motors request for a facility on the other side of Route 250 as well.

Kay Slaughter, who lives near the river in Charlottesville's Woolen Mills neighborhood and whom Gov. Mark Warner appointed to the State Water Control Board last week, wants to see more river-friendly businesses.

"I think the Planning Commission definitely did the right thing," she says. "We were very pleased with comments from the commissioners and felt they're really looking at the need for river-oriented development."

Jim Morris, the contact for Pavilion, did not return phone calls from The Hook.

Unless the applicants withdraw their requests, the special use permits will go before the Board of Supervisors August 14.

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