Restaurant owner says putrid smell keeping customers away

Posted at 12:45 AM, Mar 29, 2013
and last updated 2013-03-29 07:13:38-04

GOOCHLAND, Va. (WTVR)--At Goochland County’s Bungalow Grill, just a few miles from Short Pump Town Center, a putrid smell is keeping dozens of loyal customers away.

“I don’t blame them,” exclaims restaurant owner Trey Alley.  “I don’t want to eat in there either, it’s horrible in there.”

Alley says the scent permeating the restaurant is coming from a field beside his restaurant and nearby home on West Broad Street.

On Tuesday morning Alley says the field, which consists of several acres, was layered with manure.  He says the fertilization was halted before completion because trucks were spreading the manure onto Broad Street.

While Goochland County is known for its rural farm setting, the stretch of land in question is situated in a more urban setting, between two restaurants and just feet from the Hickory Haven subdivision.

“This is the more business end of the county,” Alley says.  “There’s absolutely no type of buffer to prevent any run-off coming my direction or to the Hickory Haven neighborhood behind us.”

Well-known dairy farmer and land owner, George Alvis, is renting the land beside Alley’s restaurant.

Several Goochland resident say Alvis is a respected member of the community and has never ruffled feathers before when it comes to fertilizing his farmland.

“It’s very bizarre,” says longtime resident Shawn Walsh.  “I know it’s great fertilizer but it’s not good for businesses around here.”

Aside from the potent odor, residents say they’re concerned about potential run-off that could lead to health problems.

The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality says it’s investigating whether the correct permits were issued to fertilize the property and if any health code regulations were violated.

While a spokesperson for the DEQ says a 200-foot buffer zone is normally required, there are exceptions in some cases.

Trey Alley says that regardless of whether a violation has occurred, plain common courtesy for nearby residents and business owners should have been a factor.

“People can’t take the smell,” Alley says, “it’s horrible!”