Automotive ‘salvage service’ approved for Isle of Wight Industrial Park

Published 4:38 pm Friday, October 21, 2022

Isle of Wight County supervisors voted unanimously on Oct. 20 to approve a nationwide automotive auction business siting its seventh Virginia branch in the Isle of Wight Industrial Park.

Advanced Construction Development LLC had applied for a zoning amendment to create a “scrap and salvage service” on two parcels totaling 75 acres. The application was on behalf of Insurance Auto Auctions, an internet-based auctioneer of vehicles involved in collisions, floods or repossessions. IAA is proposing to store roughly 3,500 vehicles on consignment from insurers at the proposed site, which would be accessible from Benn’s Church Boulevard via IWIP Road.

The site would consist of a single-story metal building, concrete parking lot for employees and customers picking up their purchases, and outdoor vehicle storage paved with asphalt millings. According to William Dytrych, manager of real estate development for IAA, the auctions would be exclusively online, with many bidders originating form outside the United States.

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Prior to the vote, the supervisors held a public hearing on the matter, which drew two speakers.

Albert Burckard of Carrollton, sharing concerns on behalf of fellow Carrollton resident Tom Finderson, reiterated concerns the county’s Planning Commission had discussed in September regarding the chance of a vehicular fire breaking out on the lot and spreading to other cars.

The commissioners had taken particular issue with the challenges of extinguishing electric-vehicle fires. According to reporting by The Hill, firefighters used 40 times the amount of water normally needed to contain gasoline-powered vehicle fires when a Tesla Model X electric car powered by lithium battery cells crashed and bursed into flames in Austin, Texas, in 2021. According to IAA, electric vehicles stored on site will be located apart from gasoline-powered cars and nearer to the site’s stormwater pond. The company has also proposed adding a third “dry hydrant” to two already serving other parcels in the industrial park.

Dry hydrants, according to Virginia’s Department of Forestry, use non-pressurized pipe systems to draft blow from an adjacent body of water.

The other speaker, Anthony Clark, said he was not for or against the proposal but was concerned about toxins leeching into the ground from batteries or fluids removed from vehicles. According to Dytrych, however, all vehicles are sold “as-is.” IAA, Dytrych said, does not remove batteries or drain fluids from the vehicles it stores.