Strasburg Town Council approves asphalt plant

The Strasburg Town Council voted Tuesday to allow an asphalt company, Strasburg-based Kickin’ Asphalt, to build a  plant in the town’s business industrial park.

The vote on the plant was tight, with four council members expressing a wide variety of concerns about the plant and four members saying that the plant would financially help the Town of Strasburg. Mayor Rich Orndorff broke the tie and sided in favor of allowing the plant to be built in Strasburg.

Council member Jocelyn Vena said that the move would bring a company with a good reputation to the town’s business park.

“Where else can we get, for the first go-around, someone with the reputation they have?” Vena asked.

For the most part, the discussion supporting the move went along the same lines as Vena’s assessment: the move would help the town financially and would make Strasburg appear to be business-friendly.

“[Kickin’ Asphalt] will probably have five new employees, and that’s not including the economy that they stimulate,” council member John Hall said.

The dissenting votes disagreed on a wider variety of issues.

Council member Don LeVine said he was unsure about what benefit the move would bring to the town and that he had concerns about the environmental impact on residents. He also said that 80-foot silos Kickin’ Asphalt would be building might push other potential businesses away from the town.

“I’m not motivated to risk putting the plant in for the health of the people when the return to the town might be zero,” LeVine said.

Council member Kim Bishop, meanwhile, said she didn’t think the move complied with certain parts of Strasburg’s unified development ordinance. Specifically, there are provisions in the development ordinance that limit the odors and noise that can be allowed by applicants for special use permits.

For that reason alone, Bishop voted against the plant. She, however, noted that she otherwise supported it. Her biggest criticism was toward the development ordinance itself.

“I don’t think it’s fair to businesses, I don’t think it’s fair to citizens, and I don’t think it’s fair to the council,” Bishop said.

Orndorff broke the tie and spoke for the first time about his opinion regarding the vote.

“This is very difficult for me, as I have relatives that live in Founders Landing,” Orndorff said. “One is a 16-year-old blonde, and she is a very difficult person, just like her father, if she needs to be.”

That girl, Orndorff said, was concerned about the effect the plans would have on the scenic beauty of the area. The new plant would have one or two 80-feet silos.

But her concerns, in the end, didn’t sway Orndorff. Instead, Orndorff voted in favor of what he saw as the business interests of the town.

“Strasburg’s got to grow and prosper,” Orndorff said. “We need business and industry. And I vote yes.”

As part of the approved deal, Kickin’ Asphalt agreed to pay for an independent investigator to review the plant once it is built. That independent investigator will then submit a review to the town.