Bay Sand pit expansion near Benn’s Church approved

Published 8:02 pm Thursday, February 23, 2023

Isle of Wight County supervisors granted final approval on Feb. 23 for Bay Sand Co. to further expand its “borrow pit” on Muddy Cross Road.

Borrow pits are mining operations that extract sand from the ground. Sand and gravel form natural aggregate, a component of concrete and asphalt. According to the Virginia Department of Energy, most of the sand and gravel produced in Virginia is extracted from surface pits in the state’s coastal areas.

The Bay Sand pit, located less than 2 miles from Benn’s Church, was initially approved in 2009 for 56.5 acres. Its size nearly tripled in 2017 when Bay Sand requested and received the supervisors’ approval to add another 141 acres. Then, in 2018, Bay Sand received approval to add another 20 acres.

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The latest approved expansion will pull 129.8 acres out of the Longview Agricultural/Forestal District, though the expansion will only impact 48.9 acres, Bay Sand’s application states.

Bill Riddick, an attorney representing Bay Sand owner Henry Layden, stated his client had opened and reclaimed 11 pits in the area since 1991. This particular site, Riddick said, presently employs 12 people and an additional 12 independent haulers.

In 2006, Layden began paying a voluntary extraction tax that has brought Isle of Wight County $1.2 million to date, with the latest expansion projected to bring another $250,000 to $500,000, Riddick said.

The supervisors’ vote to approve Layden’s requested conditional use permit passed unanimously. Per the supervisors’ terms of approval, Bay Sand will be required to maintain a landscaping buffer and 3-foot-tall berm within a 25-foot setback from Muddy Cross Drive and Benns Church Boulevard.