BOARD OF SUPERVISORS
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
Present: Mr. Joe Dan Johnson, Mr. Tommy Bruguiere, Mr. Allen Hale, Ms. Connie Brennan and Mr. Tommy Harvey
PUBLIC COMMENT: Dr. Roger Collins, Superintendent, Nelson County Schools, reported that the school system expects to be fully accredited for the seventh year in a row. He noted the many student achievements in the 2010-11 school year and that just under 10% of the students are in some sort of learning activity this year. Dr. Collins noted that the construction projects at both Tye River and Rockfish River Elementary Schools are ongoing and should be completed by the first day of school, August 24th. Finally, Dr. Collins thanked the Board for their ongoing support for the students and staff.
ARTICLE 20/TOWER ORDINANCE: Supervisors discussed the recommendations of the Planning Commission and decided to have a committee of county staff and Supervisors review the recommendations. Ms. Brennan and Mr. Johnson agreed to serve.
ARTICLES 3,4,5,6,8,8A,8B,9 & 18/SMALL WIND ORDINANCE: Supervisors reviewed the proposed amendments to allow small wind turbines greater than 100’ but less than 199’ on parcels of 20 acres or more in size in Conservation C-1, Agricultural A-1 and Industrial M-2 Districts. After discussion, Supervisors voted unanimously to adopt the proposed amendments.
LOCAL BOARD OF BUILDING CODE APPEALS (LBBCA)/ORDINANCE: Mr. Carter presented a draft ordinance to authorize a public hearing for Tuesday, August 9th at 7:00pm to take public input on the establishment of an LBBCA within the local building inspections department. Supervisors voted unanimously to authorize staff to advertise the public hearing.
COUNTY ADMINISTRATOR’S REPORT: Mr. Carter reported on the following –
– Courthouse Project: Occupancy now projected by late September or October.
– Gladstone Rescue Squad: Nelson County Circuit Court has granted the county an injunction in the Board’s decision to dissolve GRSI including the appointment of T. Berry, Esq. to administer the matter. Final decisions on the divestment of the former agency’s assets will be decided by the Court.
– Broadband Project: Project proceeding to construction and likely to begin within 45-60 days and startup projected for late in the first quarter of 2012. Selection of a network operator is still pending.
– Region 2000 Water Supply Plan: Public hearing for consideration of the plan and a local drought ordinance is scheduled for the August 25th meeting.
GLADSTONE RESCUE SQUAD/COMMUNICATION TOWER: Mr. Phil Payne, County Attorney, stated that any lease is an asset and is now in the hands of the court. He also stated that the land in question will revert to the county. Mr. Payne said that these issues made the subject of a tower on that property a cloudy issue. He noted that the county has a hearing on Friday for the Court to hear the injunction and recommended that the Supervisors not vote on the proposed tower during the evening session.
CLASS III COMMUNICATION TOWER, WITH EXCEPTIONS/GLADSTONE RESCUE SQUAD: Mr. Boger reported that Central States Tower has applied to construct a 125-foot communication tower and requested an exception to Section 20-7-2a, Distance to property line, to reduce the required 156.25 ft. fall area to the nearest property line to 63.5 ft. to the nearest property line. The property is located at 8486 Richmond Highway in Gladstone.
On June 22nd, the Planning Commission voted unanimously to recommend denial of the permit for the following reasons:
1. It appears 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 (Sec.20-7-2a)
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 has been 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. Complete of item #6 would not outweigh the negatives in items 1-5 above.
During Public Comment, MR. DAVE LARSEN, with White Pine Land on behalf of Central States Tower said that towers have to be visible to be effective and the ordinance requires that applicants consider public lands first. He said that the landowner was willing and that the visibility was limited to one landowner. Mr. Larsen said that the parcel is small but that the ability to obtain an exception to the fall zone is possible. He said that there is no significant impact on anyone but the Goss’ and they have trees on their property. Mr. Larsen said that the FAA information has submitted with no impact on area air traffic. He said that the company typically installs a chain link fence but has agreed to use a board fence for this site. He said that he still believes this is the best site for the tower.
MR. CLAY STEWART said that the tower is needed to expand service in the Gladstone area.
MR. STEVE EUBANK, Attorney representing Dennis and Millie Goss, adjoining landowners said that both of the Goss’ are former Gladstone Rescue Squad volunteers. He said that the requested exception is extreme and the appraiser’s opinion that the property will lose $30,000 in value with the installation of the tower. Mr. Eubank said that the applicant has not produced an assessment showing anything else. There is no undue hardship to the applicant if you deny this application. Mr. Eubank also pointed out that the Gladstone Rescue Squad is not on public land as it is titled to Gladstone Rescue Squad, Inc. He said that denying the application does not prohibit the use of the site if there is no tower there. Mr. Eubanks said that there is, however, substantial detriment to the Goss’ property. He asked that the Board reject the application.
MR. LOWELL MILTON, a real estate appraiser, said that he evaluated the impact of the proposed tower on the Goss’ property at a $30,000 decrease to the value of the property and said that it is the most blatant impact of a tower on a viewshed.
MR. SAM EGGLESTON, attorney representing White Pine Land Company said that there is no possibility of putting the tower on the other side of the Gladstone RS building given the topography, the wells and the septic field. Mr. Eggleston said that the property is now county-owned property and therefore public property. He objected to Mr. Milton’s assessment, noting that there were no comps provided and the summary was based on assumptions that were not true.
MR. DENNIS GOSS, adjoining landowner, said there will be a significant de-valuation of his property. He also said that he is concerned that the tower company has left room to raise the tower height in the future. Mr. Goss also said that he objects to some who should be reserving their decision until they hear the facts advocating for the proposed tower.
Following the public hearing, Ms. Brennan said that the Board is supposed to decide on the application as presented and that she sees no undue hardship to the applicant. She said that the proposed tower is not on public land and could be located elsewhere. Ms. Brennan said that there will clearly be a hardship on the Goss’. She said that we will always be looking at the tops of towers but there must be land further away for this tower so that it will not be in the Goss’ face each day.
Mr. Harvey said that he had no comment at this time. Mr. Hale said that the Planning Commission raised a number of valid points in their recommendation to deny the permit. He said that the critical point that was not answered in the public hearing was that there is public land adjacent to the rescue squad property that was not evaluated as a tower site. Mr. Hale said that the application should go back for re-evaluation by the applicant. He noted action on the part of the Board would be unwise since negotiations were with a landowner who no longer owns the land.
Mr. Bruguiere said that regardless of who owns the rescue squad property, the board had only heard from one neighbor. He said that not all towers can be hidden in the woods and that the benefits to many far outweigh any detriment to the Goss’. Mr. Johnson said that he had tried to do his homework on this issue and said that he would be concerned if high-speed internet and cell service were not available to the Fire and Rescue Squad and the Senior Center.
Supervisors voted unanimously to defer a decision until their July 28th meeting.
REZONING PARCELS ON RT. 29 (THOMAS NELSON HWY): Mr. Boger reported that the Planning Commission had contacted the following property owners along Rt. 29 re rezoning their properties from Agricultural A-1 to Business B-1 to reflect the actual use and to conform with the Comprehensive Plan:
– 8101 Thomas Nelson Highway (#67-A-10) AEP
– 8047 Thomas Nelson Highway (#67-A-10A) Nelson Rescue Squad
– 8151 Thomas Nelson Highway (#67-A-9D) Lovingston Veterinary Hospital
– 8207 Thomas Nelson Highway (#67-A-15) Ms. Sharon Ponton
Mr. Boger noted that there are no negative consequences for the property owners and that each had verbally agreed to the rezoning.
During Public Comment, Mr. Bo Delk said that he owns Parcel 67-A-13 which is zoned B-1. He said that he has no objection but that the Planning Commission had not followed the rules and notified adjoining property owners in writing. He said the Planning Commission of all boards should follow procedure.
Supervisors tabled any further action.
OTHER BUSINESS: Mr. Hale asked that the Supervisors direct the Planning Commission to review Section 4-4 Water and Sewer. D. Individual Septic Systems. 3) Exceptions to the above provisions: a) The residue (the remaining portion) of the original lot is twenty (20) acres or larger.
Mr. Boger noted that there have been several cases where hundreds of acres are being divided into multiple large lots and questions had been raised about whether each parcel large parcel will have to have soils work.
Supervisors voted unanimously to send direct the Planning Commission to review the question.
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