Silver Cos. excavated without required permit

Posted on Tuesday, January 8, 2013 at 3:13 pm

Silver Cos., which plans to seek approval from Caroline County to develop a retreat center and conduct sand and gravel mining on its property adjacent to historic Moss Neck Manor, excavated sand and gravel on the site without first obtaining a required permit.

Sand and gravel was excavated and transported to a construction site in Spotsylvania County, acknowledged Jud Honaker, president of the company’s commercial development division. Material also was used to repair roads on the property, he said.

“Ninety percent of what’s been done at the hole has been used at Moss Neck,” he said, referring to the 1,209 acre tract the company owns along U.S. 17 near Burma Road.

Honaker downplayed the incident, which occurred in October. The excavation work was “overblown” and “overstated,” he said.

“I think the unknown of what we’re doing put panic and fear into people,” said Honaker.

The company is in the process of preparing a permit to obtain permission from county officials to excavate sand and gravel in order to repair roads on the property, he said.

The excavation work was brought to the attention of county officials, who bought it to a halt.

“We went out and investigated,” said Mike Finchum, director of the county’s department of planning and community development.

Officials determined that material had been excavated and directed the workers to cease. “Which they did,” said Finchum.

Excavation work requires a permit, acknowledged Finchum, who described it as  a “one time incident.”

“If it had continued, I think we could have cited them for a zoning violation,” he said. However, compliance was achieved with a verbal order to cease and desist.

Asked if Silver Cos. would be penalized, Finchum noted that the department frequently receives various complaints of people engaged in improper activities. Planning personnel typically inform the people involved of what regulations apply, what permit may be required, and advise or warn them to stop the activities.

“We take care of a lot of situations without having to go through a formal written notice of violation,” said Finchum.

He did not know how many truckloads of material were hauled away from the site. “The issue was they were hauling material out. We said stop, and they did.”

Environmental planner David Nunnally inspected the area and determined there was no need to remediate the site, said Finchum, because there was no danger of erosion and sediment leaving the property.

Silver Cos. is seeking an amendment to the county zoning ordinance that would allow them to develop a corporate retreat center on the property. They also making plans with a Maryland business to mine sand and gravel on the property.



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