Shoosmith seeks waiver to proffers, could be worth $1 million a year to county

Shoosmith Bros. Inc. submitted an application last week to lift three conditions placed on its operations as part of its expansion application in 1997. The Shoosmith company operates a 500-acre landfill facility just off Iron Bridge and Lewis roads.

The landfill, which, along with Virginia Waste Services (VWS), was purchased in July 2008, is requesting that it be allowed to accept out-of-state waste at the site, use a previously restricted 16-acre plateau section of the old landfill to be filled to the height of the finished or capped off mound, and use a portion of the quarry being operated by Vulcan Materials Company for landfill purposes.

According to Fletcher Kelly, Shoosmith’s vice president of operations and one of six hands-on investors, it’s imperative in this economy that Shoosmith have the flexibility to adjust to the market. He said the landfill already received about 40 trucks a day that came from places outside of Virginia, and that waste was deposited in a small part of the landfill approved in 1974. They are only now working on a cell in the area with proffers or conditions attached.

Mike Cole, sales manager for the landfill and VWS, said they have been routing their out-of-state trucks by way of Rt. 288 and Iron Bridge Road. “We’ve been doing our best to keep them from traveling through Chester village and in front of the schools.”

In addition to working to assure residents of waste truck routing, Cole said the county would benefit greatly from allowing an expansion of the landfill’s capabilities. Shoosmith will be offering Chesterfield between 80 cents and $1.00 per ton of waste accepted by the landfill. The landfill is currently handling about 2,600 tons of waste per day, but is permitted through the Department of Environmental Quality for up to 5,300 tons per day.

“That could amount to as much as $1 million for the county,” said Cole. “There’s no better time to do this when you’re in the waste business. Those in the waste business are used to paying the community back for the privilege of doing this type of business.”

In recent years, it is typical for private landfill facilities to pay a per-ton fee to the area government. Because Shoosmith was permitted in the mid 1970s when this practice wasn’t normal, Shoosmith doesn’t pay much other than regular taxes on its operation.   

Shoosmith invested more than $3 million in the landfill in 2009 and intends to invest an additional $6 million in its facility over the next two years. The landfill and VMS have added 14 workers over the last year, bringing their total employment to 132.

“We’ve have been working very closely with Chesterfield County to draft the application that has been submitted,” said Kelly. “We have enjoyed a long, open and environmentally safe partnership with the county and our neighbors to the landfill. This amendment will not change that valued tradition.”

The Chesterfield County Planning Commission will consider the requested amendments during its March 16 meeting.

Planning Director Kirk Turner said his staff will offer only the facts on the request.

“By and large, the staff will remain neutral on the Shoosmith case,” Turner said. “The proffers on this case were driven by the community and so it’s their decision.”

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