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Planning Commission: 6.23.10 : Minutes

[ 0 ] June 25, 2010 |

PLANNING COMMISSION

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Present: Ms. Philippa Proulx, Mr. Mike Harman, Ms. Linda Russell, Mr. Mike Tapager and Mr. Allen Hale

Absent: Ms. Emily Hunt

CLASS III PUBLIC SAFETY COMMUNICATION TOWER/SPECIAL EXCEPTION: Nelson County has applied for a Class III 120-foot monopole tower with a 5-foot lightening rod to be located on a portion of the Nelson County Courthouse property zoned Residential, R-2. The County has also requested a special exception pursuant to Article 20, Section 20-8-3 for the reduction of the 2-mile distance between the proposed tower and other Class II and III towers and to Section 20-7-2a for the reduction of the required 156.25 foot fall area of the tower. The Brown property is 117 feet from the tower but all structures on that property are outside the required 156.25 feet. Mr. Boger noted that the approximately 3,723-sq ft site will be enclosed by an 8-foot chain link fence and buffered by landscaping. The County has requested that the landscaping requirement be waived on the retaining wall side as that side is not visible from adjoining properties and because of space constraints.

Ms. Susan Rorrer with the County said that the tower will be used for public safety communications. Mr. Steve Carter said that the County is working with a landscape engineer on the Courthouse project and requests that they be allowed to complete the tower site landscaping in conjunction with the landscaping of the overall project.

Ms. Russell said that, while she supports improved communication for emergency services in the county, she is concerned that the applicant has said that a 100-foot tower would work for their purposes but have applied for a 120-foot tower to allow for future expansion. She said that the Commission has not, in the past, approved applications for speculative co-locations. She said that the tower is very tall at 100 feet and she has trouble supporting the additional 20 feet. Ms. Proulx agreed, saying that the Commission should be consistent. Mr. Tapager said that the tower is tall at 100 feet and he is not sure the extra 20 feet will make a lot of difference on visibility. Mr. Hale said that the tower is being built with taxpayer dollars to serve the people of Nelson, that it is not a commercial enterprise. He said that the proposed height will provide the greatest range of uses in the future.

With no public comment, Mr. Hale moved to recommend approval of the 120-foot monopole tower with a 5-foot lightning rod with recommended approval of the special exception and reduction of the required fall zone. Ms. Russell asked that the motion be amended to include that the monopole be painted the same color as all the others in the County; and that there be a waiver of the submission of landscaping plans until the Courthouse project is completed at which time landscaping plans would be submitted with emphasis on the Brown property side. Mr. Hale amended his motion to include the landscaping waiver but not the paint requirement. Commissioners voted 4-1 (Ms. Russell voting no) to adopt the motion.

SPECIAL USE PERMIT/ADAM H. & KATHRYN E. KNOTT: The applicants have applied for a permit to establish a summer camp on three parcels totaling 25 acres located on Rocky Bottom Lane/Glass Hollow Lane in Afton. The camp would be operated by Living Earth School and include adult programs, summer camps (both day and overnight) and other occasional youth/family programs. The largest program would have 36 kids and staff at any one time. They offer 9 weeks of summer camps from June to August that include 4 weeks of day camp and 4 weeks of overnight camps. They also offer a home school program 1 day a week for 8-10 weeks in both fall and spring. Adult and family weekend workshops are offered and typically have 8-10 participants. The applicants have been conducting camps and workshops at a camp in Albemarle County but that space is no longer going to be available to them. They are applying to operate their camp on property they already own off Glass Hollow Road.

Mr. Boger noted that the Health Department has not received any information on this proposal although the applicants have briefly discussed it with them. VDOT will require a commercial entrance with some vegetation having to be removed on both sides of the driveway to comply with sight distance requirements. A final site plan would have to be submitted, detailing the proposed use of the property.

The applicants explained their proposed camp, noting the addition of a pavilion and a small commercial kitchen, hopefully enclosed in a small “farm-type” building. They said that they have already done several workshops on the property with no complaints about traffic or noise. Ms. Knott said that she always recommends and facilitates carpooling for events and would continue to do so. She said that they love Glass Hollow and it is the perfect place to teach children to love nature. She said that the small groups (12 in each group) spend their time in the woods learning skills.

During the Public Hearing, MR. BO TRIMBLE, Glass Hollow Road and an adjacent landowner, said that he has lived there for 20 years and loves the quiet, rural nature of the area. He said that the proposed camp would be visible from his home and that he is concerned about lowered property values, lights, noise and traffic. He said that sounds from past sessions have been clearly audible from his house and that traffic issues are a major concern with 30 kids coming in and going out. Mr. Trimble said that the camp would change the character of the area and should be denied.

MR. ROY WHITE, Glass Hollow Road, said that he commends the Knotts for their work with children but said that he is concerned about traffic on a road that is only 13 feet wide at points. He said that he is against the camp as it is going to grow and ruin the residents’ homes and retirement.

MR. MIKE GARTH, adjoining landowner, said that the traffic and noise are concerns as this camp will be in his front yard. He said that the Knotts cannot do what they say without changing the hollow.

MS. DIANE GARTH, adjoining landowner, said that she is worried about the fire pit and campfires as there has already been one fire on that property about 10 years ago.

MR. RAYMOND GLASS, Glass Hollow Road, said that he is downstream of the property and that many generations of his family have lived there. He said that the proposal is incompatible with what is already there.

MS. VALERIE MITCHELL, Glass Hollow Road, said that the applicants claim that noise levels should not change but that they already have. She said that there is already more traffic and that if a business is approved on Glass Hollow Road, people and pets will get hurt.

MS. JANE TAYLOR, Glass Hollow Road, said that she understands the Knotts wanting to work with children but that they should visit Nature Camp in Vesuvius to see the extensive facilities required for even small groups of children.

MS. TERESA SHOEMATE, Glass Hollow Road, said that she is an instructor at Living Earth Schools, which has wonderful staff training and is very professionally run. She said that she understands the traffic and noise concerns but that the Knotts are very focused on the needs of the community and the camp. She said that she hopes everyone will be able to work through the concerns.

MS. DEBORAH DOVE said that her daughter lives on Glass Hollow Road and is opposed.

MR. GREG SMITH said that he attended one of the adult camps and his daughter attends one of the camps. He said that children need to be educated about nature and he expressed support for the proposal.

MS. JEANNIE MCCONKEY said that she has lived in the area for 25 years and owns a small business in the community. She said that her daughter has attended the camp for at least 4 years and that they have always carpooled to get there. She said that she would vouch for the Knotts as very conscientious. Ms. McConkey said that this is low-impact type of business is what the County needs.

MS. MISTY REDINBURG said that she is the parent of a child who has attended the program and that their experience has been one of respect. She said that she is hearing a lot of fear from the community, fear of change, but hopes that a compromise can be reached for the sake of the children. Her daughter, Emma, said that she had a wonderful time at the camp and would be sad if the camp were stopped.

MR. ALLEN CASH, Glass Hollow Road, said that he is concerned about fire safety and that the camp will continue to add on and grow. He said that he does not want to see the camp ruin the area.

MR. PETER DEL PRIORI, Rattlesnake Trail, expressed opposition.

MS. SUSAN VON HEMRICK, said that she has sent her children to the camp with the boys riding their bicycles over from Sugar Hollow. She said that she loves what they are learning about nature there.

MS. CHERYL TOMKINS CASH, said that this is not about respect but about a way of life. She expressed opposition.

Following the public hearing, Ms. Knott said that the previous fire on the property happened before they owned the property but that there are firebreaks on each corner of the property. Mr. Knott said that he is talking with the Health Department about a composting toilet for the property which is safer that the standard septic system.

Ms. Proulx suggested that the Commission take additional time to consider all the comments heard and the written communication just received. Commissioners agreed and voted unanimously to table any further consideration until their regular July 28th meeting.

PROPOSED ZONING AMENDMENT/ARTICLE 10. GENERAL FLOODPLAIN DISTRICT: With no public comment, Commissioners voted 5-0 to recommend approval of the proposed definition amendment to the ordinance to comply with the FEMA requirements.

PROPOSED ZONING AMENDMENT/ARTICLE 2. DEFINITIONS/ARTICLE 12. GENERAL PROVISIONS/ARTICLE 13. SITE DEVELOPMENT PLAN/ARTICLE 16. AMENDMENT AND REZONING: With no public comment, Commissioners voted 5-0 to recommend approval of the proposed amendments as discussed in previous work sessions.

PROPOSED ZONING AMENDMENTS/MISCELLANEOUS: With no public comment, Commissioners voted 5-0 to recommend approval of the proposed “housekeeping” amendments to clarify language and State Code sections.

PROPOSED AMENDMENT/COMMUNICATION TOWER ORDINANCE: Discussion of draft revision tabled until the next meeting.

PROPOSED REZONING OF SPECIFIC PARCELS ALONG THOMAS NELSON HIGHWAY, LOVINGSTON: Mr. Boger handed out a draft letter to be sent to each landowner. Ms. Proulx and Mr. Hale will review the draft and report back to the full Commission.

ROCKFISH HEIGHTS SUBDIVISION STREET COMPLETION: Mr. Boger reported that the county has received a complaint has been received from a property owner in Section II of the subdivision that he cannot access his property as the road has not been completed. Mr. Boger noted that the owner of the subdivision did post a bond for the road completion but did not submit a completion date as required by Section 4-2, item C. After discussion, Commissioners voted 5-0 to adopt a motion requiring completion of the bonded road to Section 2 by June 30, 2013.

RESOLUTION OF INTENT TO AMEND THE SUBDIVISION ORDINANCE/SECTION 4-2 ITEM C: Commissioners voted unanimously to adopt a resolution of intent to amend the phrase, “approved by the Governing Body” for clarification of who has the authority to approve bonded improvements to subdivisions.

Meeting adjourned.

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