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Stafford changes permitting for landfill use

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If a company wants to build a power-generating facility at the regional landfill in Stafford County, it will have to apply for a conditional-use permit.

The Stafford Board of Supervisors changed the zoning ordinance Tuesday back to its former state, to what it required before an amendment was made last March.

For a little less than a year, building a power-generating plant, or some type of waste-to-energy project, was considered a by-right use, meaning no public hearings or notification were required.

The zoning change was a result of negotiations between Energy Extraction Partners of Colorado and the Rappahannock Regional Waste Management Board—known as the R–Board. The company had proposed building a $73 million plant that could extend the landfill’s lifetime by “baking” trash through a process known as pyrolysis, and then producing electricity and other byproducts.

But Stafford residents were outraged when they later learned the company planned to truck in tires to the landfill, and they had other concerns of potential noise and environmental impacts.

Before the Fredericksburg City Council approved a lease, Stafford’s board reneged on its initial approval.

The R–Board will ask for professional assistance in deciding what kinds of projects may be suitable for the landfill, and will soon issue a new request-for-proposals. Both Stafford and Fredericksburg officials are members of the R–Board, which will hold its next meeting at 1:30 p.m. March 5.

So now, if months down the road a company wants to use waste to generate power, it will have to ask for a conditional-use permit.

When the Board of Supervisors made the zoning change last year, members had added a caveat to revisit the issue a year later.

After a public hearing, the board approved the revision unanimously.

Katie Thisdell: 540/735-1975


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