Planning Commission : Minutes : 8.25.10


Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Present: Ms. Philippa Proulx, Mr. Mike Harman, Ms. Linda Russell, Mr. Mike Tapager, Mr. Allen Hale (Board Liaison)

Absent: Ms. Emily Hunt

REZONING/MS. MARY WOLF: The applicant has a requested a rezoning for 6.94 acres of a 13.02-acre tract of land located at 4300 Rockfish Valley Highway as follows:

4.79 acres from R-2 Conditional to B-1 Conditional; and

2.15 acres (outparcel) from B-1/R-2 Conditional to A-1

The purpose of the rezoning is to permit the use of the property for a brewpub (restaurant and brewery) and the outparcel for residential use. The applicant submitted proffers for the B-1 portion of the property to limit the allowed uses. Mr. Boger noted that VDOT’s recently adopted access management regulations have significantly increased the required spacing between entrances on rural primary roads. The increased spacing means that the existing driveway cannot be used and the new driveway will have to be moved much further north on the property, and much closer to the existing adjoining residential properties.

Ms. Wolf and Mr. David Collins (working with the applicant) submitted a design drawing showing the new entrance and the business uses. Ms. Wolf noted that she plans to put the business uses on the south end of the property to keep it away from the adjoining residential uses and closer to the existing business use. She said that the outparcel would eventually be used for a residence for her son, the brewer, and would add to the separation of the business from the existing residential uses in the area. Ms. Wolf said that the building design is for a “barn” type building with outdoor seating but no outdoor festivals. She said that she would continue to be aware of any music piped outside and would plant screening to mitigate as much light and noise from traffic and visitors as possible. Mr. Collins said that VDOT has not given final approval for the new entrance yet – for sight distance or access management regulations – but said that he had done the measurements and felt reasonable confident that the new entrance would meet the requirements.

During Public Comment, Ms. Marilyn Shifflett said that the new entrance will be about 25 feet from her bedroom window. She said that anything planted there would not mature in her lifetime. She also said that that section of Rt. 151 is already a dangerous section with a dangerous intersection at Rt. 613. Ms. Shifflett said that many people do not obey the speed limit on the road. She said that she has suffered through many weekends with weddings at the Mark Addy or the B&B behind her property and that this business will just add more intoxicated drivers to the road. Ms. Shifflett said that there is not sufficient infrastructure to support this project on that parcel.

Ms. Proulx said that she would like to get an official approval of the new entrance from VDOT before making a recommendation on a rezoning for a business that will require a commercial entrance. The applicant pointed out that from of the property is already zoned for commercial use and she could locate her business there without a rezoning. After further discussion, Commissioners voted 5-0 to recommend approval of the rezoning.

FINAL SITE PLAN/MS. HELEN PARK: Mr. David Park submitted a final site plan for a garage for the long-term storage of vehicles on 5.283 acres located at the corner of Thomas Nelson Highway and Morse Lane in Arrington. Mr. Boger reported that the plan had been modified from that presented as part of the Conditional Use Permit in May in order to avoid disturbing a spring adjacent to the proposed building. With no public comment, Commissioners voted 5-0 to approve the final site plan.

ZONING ORDINANCE AMENDMENTS/ARTICLES 2,3,4,5,6,8,8A,8B,9,12,18,22: With no public comment, Commissioners voted unanimously to recommend approval of the proposed amendment to delete reference to “Conditional Use Permit” and consistently use the term “Special Use Permit”.

COMMUNICATION TOWER ORDINANCE: Mr. Stephen Waller, representing Verizon Wireless, addressed the Commission regarding new technologies and asking that the Commission consider adding flexibility to Section 20-5-17(c)(8) to allow antennas to be mounted further from the pole, often resulting in lower tower heights. He presented several options for mounting multiple antennas on one pole but noted that each antenna must be separated from the other antennas. The current draft limits the distance from the pole to 12 inches. After discussion, Commissioners directed staff to add language that the distance from the pole may be modified by the Planning Director; Planning Commission or Board of Supervisors (depending on the class of tower) with a demonstrable benefit to approving a waiver, i.e. a lower tower height, etc.

Commissioners also directed staff to revise the viewshed setback language to delete the term “property line” and instead include “boundary line of the federal scenic highway or Virginia Scenic Byway closest to the tower.”

Commissioners directed staff to add several items from the existing ordinance into the draft ordinance:

1. Section 20-14 Include newspaper advertisement in addition to adjoining landowner notification of a tower permit request;

2. Section 20-17 Authority of Planning Director;

3. Section 20-11 Amendment to an approved Communication Tower Permit; and

4. Section 20-7-2f providing reasonable access to tower sites to ensure compliance.

REZONING OF SPECIFIC PARCELS ALONG RT. 29: Discussion of draft letter tabled until the September meeting.

Meeting adjourned.

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  1. On Sept. 14th, the Nelson County Supervisors will hear a request for rezoning on property just north of Tuckahoe Antique Mall. New VDOT regulations will require the entrance for the proposed brewery to fall just south of the dangerous Rodes Farm, 151 intersection. At the planning commission meeting on Aug. 25th, the dangers of such an entrance were discussed and one commission member asked if “the county could be liable for these safety issues”. Once answered, the commission voted unanimously to approve this request. The Board of Supervisors’ mission statement reads in part “to maintain Nelson County as a beautiful, safe, healthy, and prosperous rural county”. The proposed brewery owner’s website logo includes the word “community”. VDOT tells me that the safety issue of this access entrance rests with our county government. I’ve been told that if the property zoning does not change the entrance can remain where it is.

    Liability aside, what about responsibility and accountability? Should our supervisors approve rezoning when the planning commission acknowledges the dangers of such an entrance? Should a business owner be mindful of highway danger, noise issues, and property values of the nearby “community”? Will our Sheriff’s department be able to monitor a third brewery served by 151? Should more “roadside memorials” on this ten-mile stretch of highway be risked? Lack of liability for the county, the business owner, and the State will be little comfort to our “community” if a tragedy occurs as a result of approving this rezoning.


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