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Supervisors stop asphalt, concrete plants from building

A 4-4 vote from the Prince Edward County Board of Supervisors following a Tuesday, June 9, public hearing meant Luck Stone did not receive its requested special use permit to place an asphalt plant and a concrete plant on property already housing the Luck Stone quarry.

As stated in a memo from County Administrator Wade Bartlett to the board, the property in question is adjacent to U.S. Route 460 West at 11779 Prince Edward Highway in Farmville and is near the intersection of Highway 460 and Highway 15.

Following another public hearing just prior to the one already mentioned, the board voted 6-2 to approve Luck Stone’s request to rezone the property in question from A1, Agricultural Conservation to A2, Agricultural Residential.

Bartlett’s memo highlighted the purpose of this rezoning was to allow Luck Stone to recruit new businesses to the site, including both an asphalt plant and a concrete plant.

The six supervisors voting for the rezoning included Farmville 101 District Supervisor Beverly M. Booth, Buffalo District Supervisor Llew Gilliam Jr., Lockett District Supervisor Robert M. “Bobby” Jones, Hampden District Supervisor Dr. Odessa Pride, Leigh District Supervisor and Board Chairman Jerry R. Townsend and Farmville 701 District Supervisor Jim Wilck.

Those opposed included Farmville 801 District Supervisor Pattie Cooper-Jones and Prospect District Supervisor and Board Vice Chairman J. David Emert.

Joining Cooper-Jones and Emert later in voting against the special use permit were Booth and Pride.

“I’m in favor of growth, new business and, of course, additional revenue for our county, and it was for those reasons why I voted ‘yes’ to the rezoning,” Booth said in a Friday, June 12, interview.

But she noted that citizen input during the public hearings influenced her later vote on the special use permit.

“Issues were brought up that caused concern, and that it is why I voted ‘no’ to the special use permit,” she said. “It was the health issues, the rock dust on the lakes, the pictures falling off the walls due to the blasting and the noise were the issues that concerned me.”

She said she recalled a couple of the citizens questioning why the county needed another concrete plant.

Dr. Pride declined to comment on her reasoning for voting for the rezoning but against the special use permit.

Across both public hearings, six members of the public spoke, all of them sharing concerns about the potential negative impact of a new asphalt plant and concrete plant being allowed near to where they live.

Halimah Chambers, who said she just moved to the area, acknowledged some of the safeguards Luck Stone Land Use Manager Doug Quarles spoke about at the beginning of the first public hearing, including tree buffers.

“I have a neurological disorder, and I’m very sensitive to asphalt, so I don’t see how a few pine trees are going to stop the breeze from blowing it into my neighborhood and the smell,” she said.

She noted there’s not an anticipation of odor, but she said she has smelled asphalt, she knows there is an odor, and it is a huge concern to her.

“When I have to smell it just on roadwork, I can be incapacitated for several days, but if I’m living next to a plant where it’s 24/7, that causes concern for me, as well as my sister has asthma,” she said. “So if this is going on next door, then she’s not going to come to my house. So that is all very concerning to me.”

Vicki Rundstrom, another nearby resident, highlighted dust issues and noise.

“As far as the blasting goes, the blasting is still an issue,” she said. “While it may meet certain guidelines, it does not measure how the blast affects the home up into the home. So with those issues still not being resolved and while I appreciate the county getting revenue and I appreciate the other businesses locally getting additional business, I have been sacrificed for that, and I don’t appreciate that.”

She said the whole purpose to her decision to raise her family on Moomba Lake Road in Farmville was because it was in an agricultural district where she could raise her children and enjoy her retirement in a peaceful place. She said as far as she was concerned, Luck Stone has not followed what it said it was going to do to begin with.

She also highlighted issues with an already existing asphalt plant nearby.

“The noise from the existing asphalt plant, Adams Asphalt, is one and a quarter miles from me, and I sent the board a clip of what my back deck sounds like when the asphalt plant is in operation — one and a quarter miles away,” she said. “And now they want to put one less than 2,000 feet from me, and I don’t think it’s fair.”

Dustin Rundstrom said he was 100% against the rezoning of the Luck Stone property, and he pointed to issues like noise and dust and the loss of a peaceful atmosphere. He also spoke to the impact the new plants would have on the county.

“We have two other plants,” he said. “We have an asphalt plant, Adams, and we have W.C. Newman across the street, which are great companies. They are completely capable of handling the business that the Prince Edward area has to offer.”