In a dramatic reversal from February, a proposal for a new asphalt plant in the Glenvar community sailed through a Roanoke County Planning Commission public hearing Monday with only a whiff of opposition. On a 3-0 vote, the commission endorsed a plan by Adams Construction Co. to build a new 300-ton-per-hour plant on a relatively isolated tract already zoned for heavy industry.
The site is near the Spring Hollow water treatment plant and the Western Virginia Regional Jail in West Roanoke County. The proposal will go to the Roanoke County Board of Supervisors on Nov. 17 for a final decision on the special-use permit needed for the Peaceful Drive facility.
Two of the five commissioners recused themselves from the proceedings before the public hearing began Monday night. Steve Azar of the Vinton District works for Appalachian Power Co., the owner of the property that Adams wants to buy; and David Radford of Windsor Hills is employed by English Construction Co., a Lynchburg firm that is owned by the family that owns Adams. Both read statements saying they wanted to avoid any appearance of a conflict of interest and left before the hearing began.
Adams originally wanted to build the plant on a parcel on West Main Street that was the former home of the Salem water treatment plant. That tract's proximity to a residential neighborhood, churches and the Glenvar schools complex drew a whirlwind of community opposition.
More than 300 people attended the February public hearing, and almost all of the 45 who spoke decried the project. Adams withdrew that proposal before it was considered by the supervisors, two of whom announced before their public hearing that they would oppose that plan.
On Monday, only about a dozen people showed up, seven of whom addressed the commissioners. Four of those endorsed the project, two raised safety and environmental questions and one flatly opposed the location.
In the end, Martha Hooker, who represents the Catawba District where the plant would be located, made the motion to recommend approval of the special-use permit to the supervisors. She had been the only commissioner to vote against the previous proposal. She was joined Monday by Gary Jarrell and Rodney McNeil in voting for the permit.