Planning Commission : Minutes : 9.22.10


Present: Ms. Philippa Proulx, Ms. Emily Hunt, Mr. Mike Harman, Ms. Linda Russell,

Mr. Mike Tapager

Absent: Mr. Allen Hale

SPECIAL USE PERMIT/MR. AND MRS. ADAM H. KNOTT: The applicants have applied for a permit to establish the Living Earth School on Glass Hollow Road in Afton. The original application in June was to establish a summer camp with cabins, bath houses, etc. The applicants requested that the application be deferred in July and August. The revised application removes the summer camp use as well as the construction of cabins, bath houses and the commercial kitchen. The applicants noted that there may be some overnight tent camping at the school but all activities would be moved further up on the property and out of sight of the road. They said that the sanitary facilities would be portajohns and that the only building constructed would be a pavilion that would look like a farm building and would have walls on three sides. Mr. Knott said that the bulk of the activities would continue to be done in Albemarle County with the Glass Hollow site used only about 16 days per year. Ms. Knott said that their business has eliminated 95% of the usage of the Glass Hollow property for business and had listened to the neighbors’ concerns. Commissioners voted 5-0 to direct staff to advertise the revised application for public hearing to allow the public to speak to the new plans.

FINAL SUBDIVISION/MR. AND MRS. JACK A. MILLER: The applicants submitted a final plat to divide 16.11 acres into two lots of 5.188 acres and 10.917 acres. The property is located at 1280 Walkers Mountain Road in Arrington and is a part of the Walkers Mountain Subdivision. Mr. Boger noted that the plat shows two 50-foot pipe stems being created out of the 100-foot wide pipe stem of the original lot. He noted that that the lot is already non-conforming (because of the pipe stem portion) and would be made more non-conforming without the minimum required road frontage of 125 feet. Mr. Boger reported that the pipe stem could remain at 100 feet wide with a 30-foot easement for the new lot as a family division. He noted, however, that the Walkers Mountain Subdivision does have covenants prohibiting further division of lots. Mr. Boger said that the covenants are between the property owners, however, and does not include the county as a participant. He said that if the division meets the county’s ordinances, it must be approved.

Ms. Miller said that she and her husband want to give the lot to their son for his home and so that he can be close by to take care of them. She said that those opposed have said that she should just put a second house on the same lot but she said that that does not make sense.

During Public Comment, MR. TOM ALLEN, Walkers Mountain Road, said that he and his family moved to the subdivision three years ago and knew that the lot they purchased came with restrictions and covenants. He said that he purchased the adjoining lot so that they could take care of his mother. Mr. Allen said that approving this division would set a precedent and said that it the covenants mean nothing, the property owners have been misled.

MR. ED WITIKA, Walkers Mountain Road, said that it the covenants are not going to be enforced, the county should just do away with the road maintenance agreement and the subdivision. He said that he too purchased an adjoining lot for his mother.

MR. MARK RATCLIFF, Walker Mountain Subdivision, said that he too bought a second lot and noted that there are lots for sale in the subdivision. He said that the county should enforce the covenants without the residents having to go the legal route. He said that he has not spoken to anyone in the subdivision who is in favor of the division.

MR. LOWELL HEWITT, Walkers Mountain Subdivision, said that his neighbor owns three lots and that if he started dividing those, Mr. Hewitt could have a lot of neighbors.

Ms. Russell said that the home owners’ association should go to court to defend the covenants. She noted that the county is not party to the covenants and cannot, therefore, turn down the division based on those covenants. Ms. Proulx said that the plat submitted needs to be revised to show the 30-foot easement before any action can be taken. Ms. Russell said that the applicant should not be asked to revise the plat if the Commission is not going to consider the division. Mr. Tapager pointed out that the division must be approved if it meets the county’s requirements. Commissioners voted 5-0 to defer a decision for a revised final plat.

EXCEPTION #9/MR. AND MRS. PHILLIP KERL: Withdrawn by applicant.

CLASS II COMMUNICATION TOWER WITH EXCEPTIONS/VERIZON WIRELESS: Mr. Boger reported that the applicant has submitted an application for a 92-foot tower on property located on Pine Trail (Rt. 624). He noted that there will be three antennas attached to the pole at 86 feet and three at a height of 76 feet, all mounted at a distance of 24 inches from the pole. The applicant requested a waiver for the 125% setback requirement of 115 feet to 52.8 feet from the boundary line as the tower is designed to collapse within a radius of 50 feet. In addition, the applicant requested a waiver for the landscaping requirement as the tower site is in a heavily wooded area with a stockade fence around the equipment compound.

During Public Comment, Mr. Gary Wood, Simpsons Lane, spoke in favor of the tower. Commissioners voted 5-0 to approve the permit for the 92-foot tower, granting the landscaping waiver. In addition, Commissioners recommended approval of the setback waiver from 115 feet to 52.8 feet.

MAJOR SITE PLAN/MOUNTAIN VIEW BREWERY: Mr. Boger reported that the applicant, Mr. Steve Crandall representing Devils Backbone Brewing Company, LLC, has submitted a final site plan for a new brewery to be constructed in the Colleen Industrial Park. The site will be approximately 15 acres in size with a 13,990-square foot building. The property is zoning Industrial, M-1 and is owned by Central Virginia Electric Cooperative. Mr. Boger reported that the E&S plan is under review and that VDOT has approved the proposed entrance. He noted, however, that the biggest remaining issue is with the Service Authority. He said that the applicant is working with the Service Authority to determine how to deal with the liquid waste generated on site by the brewing process.

Mr. Massie Saunders, representing the applicant, said that they are looking at several options including pre-treating the waste on site. He said that the applicant is working with the Authority to determine what method will allow the Authority to meet their DEQ requirements. Mr. George Miller, Executive Director, Nelson County Service Authority, said that the Authority supports the project and is assisting the applicant while looking at multiple options.

During Public Comment, Mr. Gary Wood said that CVEC owns the property and supports the project, noting that Mr. Crandall has been running a successful business in the county for years.

Ms. Russell noted her concern that in 2006, the Commission had established a policy that an applicant must show proof that information for the review process had been submitted to the appropriate agency prior to the Commission’s approval. She said that no such submission has been made in this case for the handling of the waste generated on site. She said that she knows Mr. Crandall, knows his projects and feel he will do a good job with this project. But she asked what the Commission will do if someone with a less reliable reputation comes before the Commission in the future. Mr. Tapager noted that the intent of the policy is to ensure a good faith effort. He said that the Commission’s discussion shows that they are not being arbitrary and capricious in this case. Commissioners voted 5-0 to approve the site plan.

TRANSPORTATION SECTION/COMPREHENSIVE PLAN: Mr. Will Cockrell, Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission, reported that TJPDC is working on developing an updated section for the county’s Comp Plan to incorporate VDOT changes to the local transportation plan. He asked whether there are issues the Commissioners would like to see addressed. Commissioners discussed inclusion of bike lanes and designated carpool and ride share lots.

COMMUNICATION TOWER ORDINANCE: Commissioners deferred discussion until October for review of proposed changes to the draft ordinance.

Meeting adjourned.

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