Rural Landfill

A piece of property outside Hamilton has become what neighbors are calling a landfill. The project was originally approved for a personal recreation field.

Loudoun County officials say they will be more closely monitoring how they handle future land use projects after a landowner just east of Hamilton violated county regulations at Gable Farm “personal recreation field.”

In 2015, county administration approved a rural economy plan for a “personal recreational field” near the site off Gable Farm Lane. The proposal did not require Board of Supervisors approval.

Project managers for the 18-acre Gable Farm site said it would be used as a polo field, according to county officials.

Instead, the property has become a stockpile for top dirt and asphalt millings—considered for commercial use and a violation of the approved plan.

“The regulations with respect to this kind of activity are deeply flawed. They need to be changed,” said Henry Harris, managing partner at Cattail LC, a law firm representing nearby Digges Valley Farm.

Hamilton dump guy

A man from a Loudoun Rural Landfills video stands in front of a dumping site just east of Hamilton. The site was approved as a "personal recreation field."

In a January letter directed to county supervisors and staff, Harris said, “We are extremely concerned about the negative effects that this particular landfill has had, and will continue to have, on our adjacent land. We are also concerned that more such ‘personal fields’ could be built throughout rural Loudoun County: the potential revenues are enormous and regulatory controls are apparently minimal.”

Residents in the area have questioned the height, volume and contents dumped on the “personal recreational field.” They have also voiced concerns about the surface and ground water quality at the farm.

In a brief email to the Times-Mirror, James Gable, who owns Gable Farm, said the property is not being used as a landfill and does not have debris. He said the farm has been "completely inspected weekly by the county.”

County officials sent the Gable Farm property at least two violation notices in 2017 and 2018 and told the operators to discontinue all activities until corrections were addressed.

Catoctin District Supervisor Geary Higgins (R), who represents the area, said in an email that he is concerned about the issue. He said the site is currently under a stop work order and that the owner will have to remove much of the dirt.

"I am also working with staff to try and restrict this abuse in the future," Higgins said. "In this case, it seems that the regulations may have been ignored … The site is under investigation and the staff is looking at appropriate remedies."

A detailed video and rundown of the project posted by activists at LoudounRuralLandfills.com had received more than 3,400 views as of Thursday morning. The video describes the dumping site as "intrusive, potentially harmful and potentially very lucrative." The creators also question whether there could be similar issues at other sites if the county doesn't adopt stronger regulations.

"Obviously, this is not what we need in Loudoun County," Supervisor Tony Buffington (R-Blue Ridge) said on his Facebook page.

Supervisor Ron Meyer (R-Broad Run) noted the county’s correspondence with the owner of the Gable Farm property, saying, “Since the height of the dirt was not in compliance with his approved site plan, he received a notice of violation, and there was a stop work order issued. He has been told to repair the site, and the stop work order has been lifted. However, it may be a few months before he can start repairing due to wetness.”

Meyer added that the Board of Supervisors can learn from the situation by reviewing the new comprehensive plan with regards to grading, which is to level the contours of a property.

Loudoun County Chairwoman Phyllis Randall (D-At Large) did not respond to requests for comment for this story.

Grading permit Hamilton

The grading permit at the "personal recreation field" near Hamilton.

(10) comments

More Cowbell

just more corrupt local politicians allowed this to happen. If someone pays enough money, politicians will pass anything, write a bill to help the donor.

WesternSky

This may not be the first occurrence of dumping on the property. Understand from neighbors nearby that over the years that Gable’s have been dumping truckloads of waste from the Blue Plains Sewer Treatment plant. They mentioned it was used as fertilizer for crops on the farm – but via Google, Nelson County had a permit requirement for similar use. We may want to look into this and if it was properly permitted. It would make the area stink to high heaven. So dumping clearly isn't the new thing and this article shows a pattern.

Paul Lawrence

Inspected weekly? The inspector needs to be fired. And heads need to roll also at the top of the department that authorized this dump masquerading as a polo field. Has Dr. Gable looked at the video? His continued insistence that this is a mere polo field is laughable.

mopar19

With all that asphalt being dumped there, where do you think all the oil and other road fluids that are soaked in are going to end up. Right in the ground and into the Potomac. This is what happens when you have overdevelopment for 30 years with the developers reaping the spoils. This is what Loudoun gets. Lets get rid of the transition area and add more developments. What a complete joke!

shs

This is an outrage--and if the owner made money from the dump, whatever he wants to call it, that money could be used to remove the amount that goes beyond the allowed fill and plant that unsightly mountain with trees and shrubs![sad]

ace10

NOBODY knows what's in this dump. There is ZERO oversight. No documentation. NOTHING.
Business Rte 7 has been significantly damaged by the incessant trucks entering and exiting this DUMP. There are rocks, garbage and debris all over the road and roadside.
The Commuter parking lot is buffeted by debris and dust from this DUMP all day, every day.
I cannot imagine living in close proximity to this potential health hazard.

disappointed

This reminds me of the illegal landfill in Sterling from years ago and it took how long for that to get than into the EPA Superfund Clean up efforts? Sad day for Loudoun County residents to have this happen under the approval of the County ! I do feel that the Offices of Building and Development, Zoning and County Administration should be held responsible. All those eyes out on the roads in County cars everyday and no one said anything to anyone to raise a flag ? Interesting !

Loudounest

Wow this has only been going on for 4 years and today it's a story! Comments from the BOS who probably need a GPS to find Hamilton add little to the story. Question might be who in the Zoning Board was fired today? No one I doubt they just get salary raises paid for by the taxpayers for a job well done. Keep up the good work!

Levrier

Everyone should watch the video. This thing is massive in its scale. Clearly the laws need to be changed immediately.

LoudounClear

There are so many zoning violations occurring in Western Loudoun and so little is being done about it. This is a particularly egregious example but all the flutter banners, illegal signs for "farm markets" that are really just commercial operations in residential areas...it goes on and on. It is past time for the county to begin to enforce the zoning ordinances west of Leesburg. When one of these violators shows up in your neighborhood, it lowers the resale value of your property...and you can't unring that bell.

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