Home Staunton: Blasting in Shenandoah Heights, Vista Heights for housing construction

Staunton: Blasting in Shenandoah Heights, Vista Heights for housing construction

Rebecca Barnabi
(© SevenMaps – Shutterstock)

Blasting will begin soon in the Shenandoah Heights and Vista Heights areas in the city of Staunton.

The blasting is necessary to prepare for the construction of the workforce housing/apartment complex planned at 805 Moore Street. The Staunton Fire Marshal’s Office (SFMO) will monitor the blasting, but in the absence of an egregious or eminently harmful violation, the SFMO does not have authority to stop or suspend a blasting operation.

The Fire Marshal has requested that the blaster notify all residents within the Florida Avenue, Gordon Street, Moore Street, Mineola Street and Hilltop Drive areas. Residents in the areas will be notified a week before blasting is scheduled to begin.

Residents are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the SFMO procedures for complaints, which can be found online. Residents can also reach out to Deputy Fire Marshal Perry Weller at 540-332-3720 with concerns.

Each complainant should provide the following information when calling the SFMO:

  • Name, full address, phone number;
  • Location of the blasting operation causing the complaint;
  • Person or name of the company causing the complaint, including address, phone number, license numbers, etc. or any other identifying information. Please provide as much information as possible.
  • Description of complaint, dates and times of incidents as best as you may be able to determine.

At no time during an investigation are records, including the name of the complainant, open to the public. At the conclusion of the investigation, the complainant is notified in writing as to the outcome of the investigation.

The Statewide Fire Prevention code (SFPC) sets limits on the ground vibrations and air blasts a building may be subjected to during blasting activity. Limits are based on long-standing national standards and are not offered as a guarantee against damage from ground vibrations or air blasting.

Construction companies which use explosives must have duly issued permits, be insured and bonded, and blasters must be certified by the Commonwealth of Virginia and registered with the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation. While violations of the SFPC can be treated as a criminal matter, the financial recovery for damage sustained from a blasting incident is treated as a civil matter. A property owner’s insurance company or private attorney may be able to recoup financial loss from a contractor.

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca J. Barnabi is the national editor of Augusta Free Press. A graduate of the University of Mary Washington, she began her journalism career at The Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star. In 2013, she was awarded first place for feature writing in the Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia Awards Program, and was honored by the Virginia School Boards Association’s 2019 Media Honor Roll Program for her coverage of Waynesboro Schools. Her background in newspapers includes writing about features, local government, education and the arts.