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New Recycling Center Coming To County

Residents living in the northernmost section of Halifax County soon can dispose of their trash and recyclable materials at a recycling collection site located on Drive In Road, just off Route 40 (Stage Coach Road). Halifax County Supervisors voted Monday night to pay $15,000 to A & J Davis, LLC for a 1 ½ acre site at the former drive in location where the county will construct its 13th recycling and convenience center.

On a motion by J. T. Davis and seconded by Tom West, supervisors approved the purchase of the Four Forks drive-in property for development as the county’s latest recycling collection site.

Earlier supervisors had entered into a purchase agreement with Wayne Guthrie for a different recycling and collection site located on Route 501, approximately one-half mile south of the intersection of Route 40.

On Monday night, supervisors voted to terminate that purchase agreement after emerging from closed session discussions.

Before voting to purchase the drive-in property, ED#1 Supervisor J. T. Davis presented a PowerPoint about the recycling collection site explaining an old drive in theatre was formerly located at the proposed site, which is now strewn with old fencing and a dilapidated drive-in ticket booth.

“All of this, if we decide to go with this particular site, will be cleaned up,” he said.

At the south entrance to the site, Davis pointed out a natural border of trees serves as a minimum 120-foot buffer to the nearest residence.

“We also plan to go in and make it as aesthetically pleasing as possible,” he added.

The ED#1 supervisor said the drive in site offers a gravel bed foundation which “will be a savings to the county” because it will require very little site preparation.
“There has been a lot of deliberations about this particular site to make sure we pick the correct site,” Davis said. “Of the written comments I have received, four concerned site distance at that particular intersection of 632 and 501.”

He noted no site distance problem exists at the Route 40 intersection, but he said the site distance issue can be “enhanced” when entering Route 501 from Route 632.

“But regardless of whether we put the collection center at the drive in on further down 501, those particular residents along 632 would have to come through that intersection anyway. We’re not saying it’s a dangerous intersection, we’re saying that improvements can be made,” Davis said.

According to Davis, County Administrator George Nester has met with Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) officials asking for certain improvements to be made at the Route 632 intersection.

“I feel very comfortable that we are moving in the right direction in being proactive, and some of the improvements agreed upon will improve the site distance at this particular intersection,” Davis said referring to moving signs that would give better site distance on the north side.

VDOT also has plans to install alert signs notifying motorists on Route 632 of a stop sign ahead, Davis said, as well as studying the possibility of putting a flashing light to alert of the intersection site.

In addition, the ED#1 supervisor indicated VDOT is considering moving the guardrail just below Crescent Restaurant back 150 feet and building up the shoulder on the road to enhance site distance at the intersection.

Nester explained in January the board considered both of the proposed sites.

However, he said because the access to the 501 site was straighter, and vehicles tend to travel faster in that area, the board was concerned about the traveling speed of vehicles trying to get into that site.

The other site on Drive In Road is accessible off Route 40 and will allow for lower speeds getting in and out of that site, Nester explained.

“From a safety perspective, it appears that the drive in site offers promise of a lower speed for people trying to get into and out of that site,” he added.

Both sites would meet the needs of this particular area of the county, the administrator said.

He pointed out “one good thing” about the drive-in site is that commercial activity is around the site in the form of Four Forks Market, “so you’re locating it in a commercial node, and that would also lend itself to being a good decision of the board.

“I think it just boils down to a matter of preference, and I think in past history, the board has yielded to the preference of the board member where the site is located,” Nester said.

After further discussion, acting on Davis’ motion, supervisors unanimously authorized the purchase and development of a recycling collection center at the drive in property.

ED#4 Supervisor Doug Bowman was absent from Monday night’s meeting.

In other action Monday night, board members held a public hearing and unanimously approved a conditional use permit by Charlie H. Hightower to rezone a tobacco farm to establish a water bottling and distribution business on a 6.5 acre parcel on Dixon Trail in ED#3.

Halifax Planning Commission members last week recommended approval of the conditional use permit for the “green energy” facility to be located approximately .20 of a mile beyond the end of state maintenance of Dixon Trail (Route 882).

“The water has been certified by the federal government. This water has a high manganese quality,” Hightower told supervisors adding, 160,000 gallons per day can be harvested at the site.

No one spoke against the proposed conditional use permit during the hearing. However, Planning/Zoning Administrator Robbie Love said he had received a call earlier in the day from Hightower’s neighbor and relative David Dixon who opposed the permit because of a restricted easement to the property.

Also Monday night, supervisors heard a status report from VDOT Highway Resident Administrator J. D. Barkley II who informed the board the final truss of the old Highway 360 bridge had been removed this week, and the contractor is expected to complete the project ahead of the December timeline.

Work is continuing on River Road, discontinuance of Route 862 in ED#7 has been referred to a staff engineer, and the plant mix schedule is slated to start the third week in July, Barkley said in his project update to the board.

County Administrator Nester also updated supervisors on repairs needed to the septic tank drain field at the Halifax County Fairgrounds.

According to Nester, the drain field is “not functioning properly,” so the county is suggesting installing two gravity fed septic tanks that allow the sewage to flow  along lines to the nearby transfer station.

No action was taken on the drain fields, but supervisors are expected to consider it further during the board’s July 19 meeting.

In other matters, Nester updated supervisors on the BTI broadband initiative, high-speed wireless Internet service by Mecklenburg-based BIT (a.k.a. Buggs Island Telephone, the rural telephone cooperative).

Thanks to an $18.9 million stimulus grant, BTI is working with Mid Atlantic Broadband, Nester said, to provide broadband service to Halifax County residents by the end of this year.

Also Monday, supervisors were notified by Virgilina Town Council members the county soon will be “inheriting” 7.9 acres on which the former Virgilina Elementary School and baseball field is located.

Council members requested the town be permitted to continue using a 100 ft. by 100 ft. neighborhood playground located on the southern end of the property.

Also Monday night supervisors referred to the planning commission for July 27 public hearings four conditional use permit applications from Clear Signal Towers, LLC, three located in ED#1 and one in ED#4. Supervisors are scheduled to hold hearings on the four sites on Aug. 2.

Clear Signal Towers is seeking to locate four 300’ telecommunications tower sites, one on the north side of Childrey Church Road on State Route 636 approximately .50 of a mile east of its intersection with L. P. Bailey Memorial Highway (Hwy. 501) and one on the south side of Volens Road (State Route 603) approximately .20 of a mile east of its intersection with L. P. Bailey Memorial Highway (Route 501).

The other two are proposed for a location east of Millstone Church Road (Route 843), approximately .40 of a mile north of its intersection with L. P. Bailey Memorial Highway (501), and the other on the south side of Bessie Marion Trail (Route 842), approximately .20 of a mile west of its intersection with Murphy Grove Road (Route 610).

At the conclusion of Monday night’s meeting, supervisors went behind closed doors in an executive session to discuss specific personnel matters, the acquisition or disposition of property; a prospective business or industry or expansion of an existing business; investment of public funds; consult with legal council; and discuss award of a public contract involving public funds.

When they emerged, supervisors voted to increase the fee charged to the Halifax County Service Authority for the county serving as fiscal agent from $5,000 per month to $8,500 per month beginning in July. 

The agreement will continue on a month-to-month basis, according to the county administrator.