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Planning Commission 4.22.09

PLANNING COMMISSION
Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Present: Ms. Philippa Proulx, Ms. Emily Hunt, Mr. Mike Harman, Ms. Linda
Russell and Mr. Tommy Bruguiere (Board Liaison)

Absent: Mr. Mike Tapager

SPECIAL EXCEPTION/CLASS III COMMUNICATION TOWER-HIGH TOP MOUNTAIN –
DEPARTMENT OF STATE POLICE – Mr. Boger reported that the State Police have
submitted an application for a 160-foot, self-supporting communication
tower, including a 50’x50′ compound with an 8′ chain link fence, a concrete
shelter and an 1,000-gallon above-ground propane tank with concrete
enclosure on property located on Fortune’s Cove Lane in Lovingston. The
tower would also include at least two co-locators – Nelson County and
Central Virginia Electric Cooperative. Mr. Boger explained that the
property is owned by The Nature Conservancy and under easement by The
Virginia Outdoors Foundation and that the tower would replace the existing
CVEC tower and building allowed by a 1947 right-of-way easement.

The exceptions requested are:

– Section 20-7-5k(1) requiring landscaping around the perimeter of the
facility – the new tower facility will have minimal, if any impact on
adjacent properties;
– Section 20-8-3 disallowing a Class III tower within 2 miles of another
Class III or Class II tower – may be reduced if the Supervisors determine
that allowing the tower will not be a substantial detriment to adjacent
properties or change the character of the district; and
– The maximum height for a Class III communication tower is 130 feet. The
Supervisors may grant a Special Exception to allow a taller tower. The tower
would serve law enforcement and emergency services and would require the
installation of two towers if at a shorter height.

Ms. Russell asked if the Commission were being asked to approve the 160-foot
tower for the State Police only. Mr. Boger said that the tower will be used
by the VA State Police, the County and CVEC. Ms. Russell noted that the
Commission has, with previous applications, approved a tower based on all
users and the number of antennae planned for the tower.

Mr. Ronnie Rice with the VA State Police, said that the High Top site was
chosen for several reasons – the existing road, connected power at the site,
the minimal environmental impact, the central location of the site and the
ability to share the site with Nelson County and CVEC. He noted that the
State will provide the funding to construct the site and that the State
Police, the County and CVEC can accomplish what they need with a 160-foot
tower rather than the initially planned 199-foot tower. He said that all
three users will share one building and one generator to compress the site
as much as possible. Ms. Russell asked how many other towers would be
needed to complete the project. Mr. Rice said that the State Police would
need just the one. Ms. Susan Rorrer, county staff, said that one other
tower is planned for the courthouse property. She said the network would
consist of High Top, Devils Knob, Sugar Loaf and possible Rocky Mountain in
Amherst County. Mr. Joseph Keith, CVEC, said that the Cooperative needs the
network for data and telecommunications to connect their offices and to
provide emergency field communications. He said that there will also have
to upgrade the Wintergreen site and construct a tower at the CVEC Colleen
office but that the height for that tower is unknown at this time as they
are still in the planning stages.

With no Public Comment, Ms. Russell said that she is pleased that the height
has been reduced from 199-feet to 160-feet and that her only concern is the
number of antennae being approved as she would like the approval to be very
specific. Commissioners voted 5-0 to recommend approval of the tower as
presented with the exceptions noted above and with the number of antennae
limited to: State Police as detailed in the submitted drawing; CVEC maximum
of 5 microwave dishes; and County of Nelson maximum of 5 microwave dishes
and 5 whip antennae.

PROPOSED ORDINANCE AMENDMENTS –

Subdivision Ordinance Section 4-4 Water and Sewer – D. Individual Septic
Systems
3) Exceptions to the above provisions: “b. A lot with an existing on-site
septic system approved by the Virginia Department of Health.” Mr. Boger
reported that the requirement that the existing system be “approved by the
Virginia Department of Health” has become a major problem, with the Health
Department having no record of many existing systems. He said that the
Supervisors have requested that the Commission consider removing the
“approved by the Virginia Department of Health” language. Ms. Russell
suggested that the county consider requiring a sketch noting the approximate
location of an existing system, which would not require a survey. After
discussion, Commissioners directed staff to advertise the proposed
amendment.

Zoning Ordinance Article 2 Definitions – “2-15a Cabin: A single, permanent
detached unit, which may or may not contain cooking facilities, and/or
bathroom facilities, dedicated to temporary occupancy for purposes of
recreation, education or vacation. Rental properties meeting the above
description shall be considered cabins.”
Article 3. Conservation District C-1 Section 3-1-a Uses-Permitted by
Conditional Use Permit Only: 3-1-12a Cabins
Article 4. Agricultural District A-1 Section 4-1-a Uses-Permitted by
Conditional Use Permit Only: 4-1-24a Cabins

After discussion, Commissioners directed staff to add language requiring a
Conditional Use Permit with a restrictive covenant of temporary occupancy of
not more than 180 days/year. They will consider the revisions at the next
Commission meeting.

Commissioners agreed to set a future work session to consider Small Wind
Energy Ordinance and Ticking Clock revisions.

Meeting adjourned.

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