Environmental group asks board to refuse proposal | Every day

Another truck stop at the Interstate 81 interchange in Mauzy would negatively impact the environment, surrounding traffic and the county’s rural character, according to a local environmental advocacy group.

On August 16, the Alliance for the Shenandoah Valley wrote to the Rockingham County Board of Supervisors asking it to deny the rezoning and special use permit required for a proposed truck stop at exit 257.

Gas City LLC, based in Leesburg, plans to build and operate a travel center on 31 acres of land just north of the Interstate 81 and US 11 interchange. A rezoning application has been submitted to permit uses of commercial exchanges, along with a special use permit for truck parking, a truck wash and repair station.

The board of supervisors will consider both requests at its meeting on Wednesday. The public hearing begins at 7 p.m.

The Rockingham County Planning Commission narrowly recommended approval of the rezoning application.

“Environmentally sensitive area”

The letter, written by Kim Sandum, Alliance Coordinator for Rockingham County in the Shenandoah Valley, notes that the proposed site is located half a mile directly upstream from Smith Creek, in an “ecologically sensitive area.” .

The watershed is a major source of drinking water for surrounding communities, Sandum wrote, and there is no public sewer in the area. A conditioning plant would be needed to treat wastewater generated at the site, and Sandum wrote that a poor plant could have indirect effects on Smith Creek and the surrounding area.

“Over time, the proposed truck stop could dump nutrient pollution and heavy metals into a sensitive resource that is already weathered, offsetting the extensive efforts of county farmers, monetary investments by state and federal agencies, and gains in agricultural practices toward the restoration of Smith Creek,” she wrote.

The amount of sewage generated by a truck stop is significant, Sandum wrote. The travel center at exit 291 off I-81 in Toms Brook generates approximately 25,000 gallons of wastewater per day, roughly equivalent to the use of 300 additional residents at the site.

“In our experience, Rockingham officials would not favor adding 300 new residents to an environmentally sensitive area without access to public water and sewer and therefore should not do so for a truck stop,” said she writes.

Sandum wrote that tourism and agriculture are the main economic sectors in Rockingham County and the proposal would not benefit either.

“Tourists don’t visit the Shenandoah Valley to see truck stops,” she wrote. “No one looking for scenery and rural experiences would call a roadhouse beautiful.”

Sandum also called for further study of the proposal’s impact on traffic. A traffic impact analysis indicates that additional traffic signals or other traffic calming measures at entrances to the proposed development are not required.

The proposal is also inconsistent with the county’s overall plan, Sandum wrote.

“A large-scale truck stop with extensive roadway, lighting, traffic and their associated impacts, is in contradiction to [Rockingham County’s] vision,” she wrote. “The traveling public is well served by truck stops and travel amenities at several locations along Interstate 81 and the degradation of the environment and rural character in Mauzy is not warranted.”

The Shenandoah Valley Advocacy Alliance has a letter from Nancy Sorrells, a contractor for the group and former member of the Augusta County Board of Supervisors, asking the board to deny the request. In her appeal, she referenced a similar situation she was involved in in Augusta County.

In 1999, Sorrells and some of his neighbors failed to stop a Pilot truck stop in Greenville. Sorrells served on the Augusta County Board of Supervisors from 2004 to 2012 and “spent the eight years of my time on the board dealing with a myriad of issues resulting from this ill-planned traffic stop,” she said.

She cited water and air quality issues, traffic congestion, infrastructure issues, consistency with the county’s overall plan, and emergency and emergency calls and effects. local business law enforcement.

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