Borrow pit tabled again

Published 11:23 pm Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Planners on Tuesday tabled a conditional use permit request that would allow a borrow pit in the 2100 block of Copeland Road.

The Planning Commission had already tabled the request for 60 days. Several commissioners said that if no improvements have been made to traffic concerns by the May meeting, they will vote against the proposal.

During a public hearing, some local contractors said that construction projects in the area need the material that would come out of the pit. However, local residents are concerned about traffic and the effect on their private wells.

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City staff recommends denial of the request based on the potential impact to the nearby wells.

Joshua Pretlow, an attorney who is representing Sandy Bottom Materials, said truck traffic will be coming through the city from other borrow pits if this one is not approved.

“We’re going to get all the traffic and no benefits,” he said, adding that the pit will be bonded against potential effects on private wells.

Some planners were more concerned with the traffic. Commissioner Ronnie Rountree wanted a stoplight at a nearby intersection to handle the truck traffic.

“Why should the whole city of Suffolk slow down for a borrow pit,” Commissioner Arthur Singleton said.

Sandy Bottom Materials has said that no more than 25 trucks will visit and leave the facility each day. They would take a defined route into and out of the facility — west on Copeland Road, Lummis Road and Holland Road — to avoid Route 13.

Norman Slagle of Vico Construction Corporation said the borrow material is needed for projects within the city, particularly work at the Suffolk Airport his company is performing.

“As part of that project, we have to provide some select borrow material,” said Slagle, noting that samples from other locations have been turned down for lack of quality. “It’s essential, we feel, to find some borrow material in and around the city of Suffolk. We would be in favor of this.”

The commission voted 7-0 to table the matter until the May 17 meeting. Chairman Howard Benton abstained because he is a contiguous property owner.