CHO: Blasting to Continue, Despite Neighbors’ Complaints

Posted: Updated: May 15, 2013 05:19 PM

An ongoing battle over blasting made for an intense meeting at the Charlottesville Albemarle Airport.

For the first time since concerns came to light, the airport authority publicly took up the issue Wednesday, but people who live near the project were less than satisfied with the outcome.

Residents of Walnut Hill were expecting the board to take action, specifically to put the brakes on the blasting. But the airport authority was not ready to take that step, partially because all of the members were not present.

The other reason is because the authority says that its current phase has to be finished. Although the runway construction has been completed, the airport is currently in the middle of work for the safety overrun area which, in the case of an incident, allows response vehicles to come through.

The airport says it is willing to pay for home inspections, but neighbors say the recent action is too little too late.

"They are creating a baseline now after all the damage has already occurred so how helpful is that? Not very," said Jonathan Boersma, who lives in Walnut Hill.

Rit Venerus, who also lives in Walnut Hill, said "To have in writing that they're going to make our neighbors whole for their damages and that they're not going to be blasting after this phase is done that's really what we're looking for."

There is a special meeting planned for June 12. That is when the airport authority will receive a more precise estimate for the number of blasts to come.

The airport has also hired a geo-technical team to measure the size of the blasts in Walnut Hill.

Neighbors have filed claims with the company doing the work - Maine Drilling and Blasting.

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