Concrete Plant Renewed

Published 4:34 pm Thursday, November 18, 2010

CUMBERLAND – The County's Board of Supervisors approved a renewal of Central Virginia Concrete's conditional use permit this month after receiving additional information from County staff related to the progress that has been made towards the ready-mix facility becoming a reality.

Cumberland's Planning Commission previously requested additional information from the applicant, Michael Barton, related to the work that has been conducted towards the project after receiving the renewal application for consideration.

At that point, the Commission addressed its concern that work had not started and that the permit should be void.

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“The Commission recommended that you renew this permit for one more year as written in condition of that use,” requested Andrew Sorrell, planning and zoning administrator, during the Board's meeting.

It has been one year since approving the applicant's original conditional use permit.

Barton concurrently submitted a code amendment request and a conditional use permit application in 2009 proposing to locate a concrete ready-mix facility on property near Route 60 on Wilson Russell Drive

“I think the staff needs to go back and confirm that there hasn't been any activity with the conditional use permit,” said County Attorney Howard Estes during that earlier Planning Commission meeting.

“If nothing has been done then we don't even have to take any action on it because it becomes void,” also noted Vice Chairman Dr. Bill Burger referring to the County's ordinance during that same meeting.

At that point, due to the Commission not being able to make a complete recommendation (because of not knowing the complete picture surrounding the lack of activity on the concrete facility property), the Commission requested that County staff research and find out additional information concerning the decision to grant the renewal request.

The Commission did recommend the conditional use permit application for renewal to the Supervisors on November 8 after receiving information detailing the work underway.

According to the information provided by Barton, work done since 2009 on the project includes asking for quotes on the final site plan to be submitted to the County by three engineering firms; receiving a quote for installation; receiving information on insurance on liability, health, and construction; submitting credit applications to multiple banks; a computer system quote; working with Small Business department at Longwood University; made trips and had conversations with Virginia Department of Environmental Quality; worked through USDA Rural Development to get financing and is still continuing to work to secure funds to move forward.

“The biggest reason the banks have stalled is due to the fact that they have not seen any construction spending requests,” noted Barton in correspondence to the Planning and Zoning Administrator about the project's delay. “We have offered the lending institution a 90 percent guarantee from the Federal government and they still don't feel comfortable with the economy.”

Additional work includes several meetings related to installation quotes and additional site development.

During the Board's meeting, Supervisor Van Petty, District Three, asked a question related to the work that was provided for information.

“…Is there a checks and balance? I know someone can say they did something but how do you know if they did it or not? Is there some way, as a zoning administrator, that you can actually document that these things have actually taken place?”

According to Sorrell, his office is taking the applicant's “word” as it relates to progress on the ready-mix concrete project at this point.

“In this instance, I think the applicant has documented and it's clear about the multiple methods in which they have gone about to try to secure financing for the facility and to work out the engineering aspects of it…and things of that nature,” described Sorrell. “I have no reason to doubt it but right now there is no fool-proof way for the staff to go after and check.”

According to Supervisor Petty, he was just asking to see if the County addresses or has a policy concerning statements that are made on permit requests.

“That is something that the County needs to address in our conditional use permit requirements,” noted Sorrell about the process. “…I think we need to be clear and perhaps the Planning Commission or Board of Supervisors needs to know when to say that it's void rather than it just becoming void…without any action. I think the Board needs to have that say.”

According to Sorrell, the Commission is “aware” that work needs to be conducted so that a plan is in place concerning what and if a conditional use permit becomes void.

When time came for a vote, Supervisor Bill Osl, District One, said, “I opposed the CUP originally and I'll oppose the renewal.”

Afterwards, the motion to renew the conditional use permit was approved by the Board with a three to two vote.

Supervisor Petty also voted in opposition to the decision to renew the permit allowing for a concrete ready-mix facility to operate on the rezoned industrial property.