LOUISA COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — A Louisa County family gets an unexpected neighbor and they’re not happy about it.
The area around the Coffey’s family home was zoned agricultural for half a century, now it’s industrial. The Coffey’s say they had no idea what was moving in.
“This was all trees,” said Theresa Coffey pointing to what is now an asphalt plant. She says it’s loud and there’s an awful odor. “It’s constant noise and smelling like you’re in a tar pit,” said Coffey. She also says there’s a persistent hum and it’s dusty. “We can’t even have cookouts or family outings,” she explained.
Coffey also told 8News the trucks come barreling through morning to night. Coffey said, “It’s that beeping, backing up the trucks, the trucks come by and bang their back gates. I am working from home and there’s times I can’t concentrate on what I am doing.”
Coffey’s 82 year-old mother has lived at the location for 58 years and claims the family had no idea Boxley was building an asphalt plant next to her home. “They right on top of us,” said Coffey. It sits just 50 feet away. “The way we found out, they posted a notice on tree up there,” explained Coffey.
Virginia law requires zoning changes be advertised in the newspaper or in some “general circulation in the locality.” The law also requires written notice to property owners and a hearing where citizens can weigh in. County officials say all of that was done but admit certified mail to the Coffey’s came back undelivered.
“I think because of my parents being elderly, they just thought maybe they could do this and they could push them out and they just move,” said Boxley.
Boxley’s director Ken Arthur declined an on-camera interview with 8News but says the asphalt company is trying to be “the best neighbor possible.” They added a wooden fence for privacy and tress for a buffer. However, that will take a few years to fill in.
They also installed signs restricting truck speeds and barring air brakes and tailgate slamming. Read their full statement here.
Still Coffey and her mother worry about the emissions, hours of operation and smell. She said, “There has to be something they can do about that odor.” Coffey says this has been a lesson for others that you really have to stay on top of what your local planning commission is voting on.
Meantime Boxley issued this statement regarding hours of operation:
Seasonal Operation and Hours
Asphalt plants are seasonal operations and weather-dependent. Since asphalt can only be applied in warm weather, our plants are shut down in the winter—typically December-March. We are open for business at Zion Crossroads from 7:00am-5:00pm. Our personnel arrive earlier to open the plant so we are ready for our customers when the plant opens. Likewise, they perform cleanup and prepare for the next day once we close at 5.
It is important to note that because our work is so weather dependent, there will be days that we finish at noon because of rain, and days that we finish at 8:00 pm because a customer had a piece of paving machinery break down during the day and they need a load to finish their job. Again, this would be an exception, not the rule.
It is not likely that this plant will be producing asphalt at night. The type of work we are bidding and customers we serve are working during daylight hours in most instances. However, in some cases, VDOT or municipalities dictate that some paving take place at night on highly traveled roadways to enhance the safety of the traveling public and the crews performing the work. Also, to follow up on your question about construction timing. There were some evenings that the contractor constructing the plant worked past 5 pm in order to get the plant finished on time for the spring season.Boxley