Planning Commission : Minutes : 6.22.11


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Present: Ms. Philippa Proulx, Ms. Emily Hunt, Mr. Mike Harman, Ms. Linda Russell, Mr. Mike Tapager and Ms. Connie Brennan (Board Liaison)

CLASS III COMMUNICATIONS TOWER, WITH EXCEPTION/AT&T: At their May 25th meeting, the Commission considered and held a public hearing on an application for a Class III permit for Central States Tower for a 159 foot tower. After that date, the applicant changed the request to the construction and maintenance of a 120 ft. communication tower (with a 5 ft. lightening rod for a total height of 125 ft.) to provide cellular, data and emergency services. In addition, an exception to Section 20-7-2a, Distance to property line, of the Zoning Ordinance is being requested to reduce the required 156.25 ft. fall area to the nearest property line to 64 ft. to the nearest property line. Property is located at 8786 Richmond Highway, Gladstone, and owned by the Gladstone Rescue Squad, Tax Map # 97-A-81A. Property is zoned Agricultural, A-1.

Mr. Boger noted receipt of a letter from the applicant’s attorney proffering the planting of non-deciduous trees that over time would mature and provide additional screening for the tower.

Ms. Russell said that she could not support the application. She said that while she appreciates the applicant’s effort to locate the tower in an area that might benefit a non-profit, the application is not complete. Ms. Hunt said that she is disappointed that the issues were not addressed, affecting the applicant and the time spent by the Commission.

Commissioners voted unanimously (Ms. Brennan abstains and does not vote as Board Liaison) to recommend denial of the permit for the following reasons:

1. It appears that no effort was made to locate this 125’ tower where visual obtrusiveness would not be an issue.
2. The parcel on which the tower is to be located is extremely small so as to require an exemption from the fall zone requirement.
3. There is little to no tree coverage or foliage to reduce the visual impact.
4. The proposed location is in proximity to a private airport. (No opinion received from the FAA to date.)
5. The applicant has failed to show that other sites were considered and that this is the only site that would meet the company’s requirements.
6. The application is incomplete in many areas, specifically but not limited to lighting, type and height of fencing (conflicting statements), number and design of antennas, etc.
7. Completion of Item #6 would not outweigh the negatives in Items 1-5 above.

SITE PLAN/MR. TAYLOR SMACK – BLUE MOUNTAIN BARREL HOUSE & ORGANIC BREWERY: The applicant has submitted a final site plan to develop a brewery on a 15- acre tract of land located on the south side of Cooperative Way, Colleen Industrial Park, Virginia, Tax Map #66-A-36. The property is zoned Limited Industrial, M-1 and is being contract purchased from Central Virginia Electric Cooperative. Mr. Smack said that everything is on track to break ground in late July.

Ms. Russell commented that the applicant and his engineers obviously understood and respected the county’s regulations, resulting in a streamlined approval process.

With no public comment, Commissioners voted unanimously to approve the final site plan and authorize staff to sign the final upon receipt of approval by all approving authorities.

SPECIAL USE PERMIT/STANLEY & KIM CASH – Consideration of a Special Use Permit pursuant to Article 4, Section 4-1-30a, of the Nelson County Zoning Ordinance to establish a private-party firing range with no structures. Property is located at the end of state Rt. 685, Mill Creek School Road, Montebello, Virginia, Tax Map #16-A-7, and zoned Agricultural, A-1. Withdrawn.

REZONING PARCELS/THOMAS NELSON HWY: Consideration of rezoning the following parcels from Agricultural, A-1 to Business, B-1: Tax Map# 67-A-10, 8101 Thomas Nelson Hwy., Tax Map # 67-A-10A, 8047 Thomas Nelson Hwy., Tax Map #67-A-9D, 8151 Thomas Nelson Hwy., and Tax Map # 67-A-15, 8207 Thomas Nelson Hwy. The Planning Commission directed staff to contact the property owners (NC Rescue Squad, AEP, Lovingston Veterinary Hospital; and Ms. Sharon Ponton – barber shop and restaurant) following the rezoning of the Vito’s Restaurant parcel to determine if their thoughts on rezoning their properties to reflect the actual business uses. Mr. Boger reported that he had received positive comment from each property owner.

During Public Comment, Mr. Tommy Bruguiere said that, while he agrees that the properties probably need to be rezoned, the property owners should each request a rezoning instead of the county arbitrarily rezoning properties.

Ms. Russell (Ms. Hunt provided the second) moved to recommend approval of the rezoning of parcels 67-A-10A; 10, 9D and 15 following review of the rezoning from A-1 to B-1 by the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors for Vito’s Restaurant and review of the uses of the adjoining properties and with no objection from the property owners.

Mr. Tapager said that the Commission is trying to undo years of arbitrary spot zoning where a business owner comes in and asks for a rezoning for his specific concern. Ms. Proulx noted that the rezoning would bring the area more in line with the Comprehensive Plan.

PROPOSED AMENDMENT/DEFINITION/WILDLIFE REHABILITATION CENTER: After discussion of possible changes needed after public comment, Commissioners voted unanimously to direct staff to advertise the draft definition for public hearing as follows:

“Wildlife Rehabilitation Center: exists for the purpose of care, rehabilitation, and release of orphaned and injured Virginia native wildlife. Wildlife rehabilitation centers are regulated by the Federal Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, and the National Wildlife Rehabilitation Association. A wildlife rehabilitation center must be supervised by a wildlife rehabilitator with valid permits from the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries and the Federal Department of Fish and Wildlife. Wildlife rehabilitation centers are inspected by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries as a condition of obtaining a permit. Finally, a separate Federal permit is required for the care of migratory birds and birds used for educational purposes.”

If the ordinance is amended to include the definition, the use is proposed by Special Use Permit in Conservation Districts, C-1 and Agricultural Districts, A-1.

PROPOSED AMENDMENT/SUBDIVISION ORDINANCE: Commissioners deferred consideration of the May, 2011 draft until the next meeting to give them time for review.

PROPOSED AMENDEMENT/ARTICLE 20. COMMUNICATION TOWER ORDINANCE: Ms. Brennan reviewed staff and Verizon comments on the proposed draft in order to present Commission comments on each at the July 12th Board of Supervisors’ meeting on the amendments.

Meeting adjourned.

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