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South Boston Town Council To Change Flood Policy

South Boston Town Council voted unanimously Monday night to change its current flood policy regarding an Army Corps of Engineers study originally done in 1996, which calls for relocation of Riverdale businesses located in the Route 501 corridor.
South Boston did not have the matching funds available for relocation to take place at that point, and in 2007 council passed a resolution requesting the Corps revisit that same study if funds become available.

Riverdale merchants had clearly stated through the current Comprehensive Plan update process that they opposed relocation of their businesses and have been present at both council and planning commission meetings to address what they felt were the key issues affecting them.

Relocation of merchants within the floodway would be a very expensive proposition requiring earmark funding that is not available for the foreseeable future, according to Town Manager Ted Daniel, who told council Monday that Riverdale merchants have expressed their desire to stay in their current locations.

“Town staff recommends a change in policy, and it won’t preclude the town working with other funding agencies to purchase properties if they become available,” Daniel noted.

Council agreed to send a letter to the Army Corps of Engineers on behalf of Mayor Carroll Thackston advising that funding is not available for relocation, which in turn precludes the possibility of a mandatory buyout.

Current Issue Committee members and other council members present indicated their support of the option to amend current council policy on the Corps of Engineers flood control study and the 100 percent mitigation of structures within the affected floodway at an August work session.

Under the new policy, the Riverdale 2030 vision by Hill Studio would be amended to show the existing buildings remaining in the floodway.

Language will be added to the Comprehensive Plan regarding current and future land use in the floodway to encourage long-term redevelopment of floodway parcels or environmental restoration of parcels that are allowed to continue operations without substantial rehabilitation or redevelopment, according to the option prepared by town staff.

Council Moves Forward With Landfill Gas Project
Council voted unanimously to move forward with a gas options project at the site of the former landfill in South Boston.

Butch Joyce and Joyce Engineering had earlier given council a financial pro forma detailing capital costs, annual operating costs and potential revenue from a proposed landfill gas conversion project, which in its initial phase would produce carbon credits.

“The first step is to pipe gas from the landfill and build a blower and flare system that destroys methane and its carbon dioxide equivalent,” explained Joyce.

“That project is a lot less sensitive to the flow rate of gas and quality of the gas from the landfill, compared to the second step of the project which would be to take that gas and run an engine, a turbine that would produce electricity to sell to the grid here or elsewhere, Joyce told council at the August work session.

Joyce recommended step one would be to purchase equipment for and operate a project that converts landfill gas into carbon credits and to monitor the process for three to six months to determine the financial feasibility of adding a turbine to generate electricity.

“We’d monitor it as far as flow rate and quality, including the percentage of methane from three to six months and during that time evaluate the cost of the gas to energy project, which has a higher capital cost,” said Joyce.

“If it’s cost effective, a gas to energy project would follow,” added Joyce, who estimated capital costs of approximately $500,000 to get the gas to carbon credit project up and running for the first year.

“The clock is ticking, and we need to take action now,” Daniel reminded council Monday night, adding town staff needed permission from them to begin initial planning with Joyce Engineering.
“Stimulus funding may not yet be available, but we’re in a position to move forward using landfill closure funds for initial planning and consultation,” Daniel said.

Council authorized town staff to allocate $500,000 in landfill closure funds for use in planning and execution of the first stage of the project if stimulus funds were not available, but to continue pursuit of stimulus funding.

Special Use Permit Approved
Town council approved a Special Use Permit (SUP) to allow a manufactured home in a R-2 Medium Density Residential District at 1300 Porter Lane following a public hearing Monday night.

Planners voted to recommend council approval of the SUP application by Dwaine and Valerie Brand following a public hearing last month during which the Brands spoke in favor of the application. 
No one spoke in opposition, and town staff noted no opposition from adjacent neighbors.

Valerie Brand spoke in favor of the permit Monday night.

Skeet Ranges Approved For R-1, B-2 Districts
Town Council approved a recommendation from the planning commission to amend town code allowing skeet ranges in R-1 and B-2 Districts at Monday’s meeting.

Berry Hill Resort is the site of the proposed skeet range, and its owners had asked the town for the process involved in obtaining permission to construct and maintain a skeet shooting range on its property.

The amendments call for the South Boston Police Department to closely monitor the skeet range.

The ordinance, comprehensive in nature, is modeled on a similar ordinance in Danville.

No one spoke in favor or in opposition to the amendment during the public hearing.