Free Lance-Star reporter Robyn Sidersky covers Caroline County government and schools. You can reach her at 540/374-5413 or firstname.lastname@example.org. You can follow coverage on Facebook or Twitter as well.
No action by planning commission on Black Marsh, new business
The Caroline County Planning Commission took no action last night on two controversial special-exception requests.
The first to come up at Wednesday night’s meeting was a new request to allow a special-events facility on a 10-acre waterfront site along Macedonia Road in Woodford owned by Timothy Thompson.
Michelle Gillespie said the rural property is the perfect place to open her start-up event-planning business, where she would host outdoor weddings and family reunions. She said she doesn’t plan to have more than two events per month and would eventually like to build a pavilion.
“I have no desire to be a bad neighbor,” she said.
Five nearby residents spoke out against issuing the permit.
“This type of facility would be much better suited for one of the county’s designated-growth areas where public water and sewer and an adequate road network exist,” said Robert Snider, who owns more than 100 acres near the proposed events site.
“Neither my family, which includes two young children, nor my tenant in the rental house welcome the idea of parties lasting until midnight where loud music would undoubtedly be heard inside and outside our homes.”
The commission voted to defer a decision until June 1. It sent the request back to county staff to address the issues raised by the residents.
The commission also continued to discuss a proposed mining project along the Rappahannock River, but made no decision.
Vulcan Materials Co. is seeking a special-exception permit to mine sand and some gravel on 372 acres of Albert Wachtmeister’s 541-acre Black Marsh Farm. The farm is in the Skinker’s Neck area near the Four Winds golf course.
The materials would be transported by barge down the Rappahannock River, which borders the property on three sides, then up the Potomac River to a Vulcan processing plant in Woodbridge. The processed materials would be used for roads and other construction projects.
At a work session after the regular meeting, the commission discussed various concerns about how the project would affect the environment, the county and the quality of life for nearby residents.
Nearly 40 people turned out to oppose the project during a public hearing in March. Residents of Caroline and King George counties said they are worried that a mine could lower property values and have a detrimental effect on the health of the river and those living nearby.
Charlie Payne, an attorney with Hirschler Fleischer in Fredericksburg who is working with Vulcan on the application, said then that the project would not harm the river. He said at the end of the mining, the plant would be dismantled and about half of the area used would be returned for agricultural use and the rest would become a 145-acre lake.
The Planning Commission is expected to make a recommendation next month to the Board of Supervisors, which will decide whether to approve Vulcan’s request.