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Pittsylvania planners take up uranium site zoning bid / August 06, 2018

Land in Pittsylvania County where uranium mining could take place will be the focus of a public hearing Tuesday night before the Pittsylvania County Planning Commission.

Pittsylvania planners have received an application to rezone 24.13 acres of land owned by Walter Coles and Alice Clement Coles near Chatham. The request asks the county to rezone the property from residential R-1 to agriculture A-1, potentially allowing the land to be used for mining purposes. Mining is an allowed use in agriculture zones, with a special exception permit.

The request has alarmed opponents of uranium mining and comes on the heels of the U.S. Supreme Court’s pending review of a lawsuit by Virginia Uranium to overturn Virginia’s longstanding ban on mining. Walter Coles is founder and president of Virginia Uranium, Inc.

According to Richard Motley, chair of the Pittsylvania County Planning Commission, the request came before planners earlier this summer but only now is a public hearing being held, because of an error in initial advertisements of the request.

He said the property being sought for rezoning is not the entire farm owned by Walter and Alice Coles, and Motley added that he has not be advised by Coles of the reasons for seeking the rezoning. “I have not had any communications with them. You’ll have to contact Mr. Coles about that.”

The land in question is located on State Route 683 near Chatham. The public hearing is Tuesday starting at 7 p.m. at the Edwin R. Shields Courthouse addition, General District court, in the Town of Chatham.

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