After a massive show of public opposition against a proposed solid waste convenience center site on Riverview Road in Madison Heights, Amherst County is putting a hold on plans to move forward.
The county is the applicant for the special exception request for a 29-acre parcel at 506 Riverview Road, a property that formerly operated as a landfill and has been closed for decades. The Amherst County Planning Commission in December unanimously recommended against approving a permit for a staffed solid waste center, which county officials intended to bring more options for trash disposal in the southern end of the county.
While the site — envisioned as a fenced area with two compactor units, four recycling centers, two bulk containers, a building with an attendant and landscaping — is a different operation from a landfill, 13 residents who spoke during a Dec. 17 public hearing made clear to the commission they don’t want it near where they live or on Riverview Road at all.
Concerns raised included odors, attraction to rodents and other vermin, a traffic increase on a narrow road, trash on the roadway and a desire not to live near what they referred to as “a dump.” Several residents who recall the former landfill said it badly disrupted the living experience in the area and they felt a residential neighborhood is not the place for such an operation. No one spoke in favor of the site that night.
The county is investigating other potential sites, County Administrator Dean Rodgers told the Amherst County Board of Supervisors during its Jan. 5 meeting.
A public hearing initially planned for the board’s Jan. 19 meeting on the matter will not be held. Jeremy Bryant, director of community development, said Jan. 8 the permit application is not withdrawn at this point but appears in a holding pattern.
“We’re under no deadline to resolve this and until the board provides direction we can sit on this indefinitely,” Rodgers said.
If the county proceeds with the zoning request, a notice of a public hearing would be advertised. Rodgers said the county for now has stopped contractor work from going forward on the Riverview Road site.
Supervisor David Pugh, who partakes in the Amherst County Planning Commission’s meetings on the board’s behalf, said he doesn’t get a lot of phone calls from county residents telling him another solid waste center in Madison Heights is needed.
“I don’t see how we can move forward with such public opposition,” Pugh said to the board on the Riverview Road site. “It was overwhelming against.”