The Greene County Board of Supervisors Adopts Business Zoning Ordinance Amendment and Discusses the Future of Dogs in Greene County

By. Kara Pennella, Greene County Field Officer

 Action Summary:

Adoption of the Proposed County Budget for FY2009-2010 – Approved

Adoption of the 2010 Six Year Plan for improving roads in the secondary road system – Approved

Revision of the B-1, B-2 and B-3 business zoning districts in the Greene County Zoning Ordinance – Approved

Revision of the Greene County Code, Chapter 11 – Businesses by deleting Section 22-213 – telephone, internet and catalog sales – Approved

Resolution to authorize a Second Amendment to Assumption Agreement for water with respect to the Rapidan Service Authority’s Revenue Bonds –Approved

Resolution to Authorize the refinancing of the Water and Sewer System Revenue Bonds, Series 1998 – Approved

Request by Social Services for authorization to fill a vacant position –Approved

Motion to award a contract for a well to Valley Drilling of Virginia – Approved

            The Greene County  Board of Supervisors tackled a full agenda on Tuesday, May 12, 2009. The Board held public hearings on the Six Year Plan, amendments to the business zoning district ordinance and amendments to the Greene County Code. The Board also took measures to refinance Water and Sewer Bonds. A request to fill a vacant position in the Department of Social Services was heard by the Board as well. Finally, the Board held a lengthy discussion regarding the criminalization of owners of barking dogs and dogs running at large in residential areas.

 VDOT: Six Year Plan

             VDOT provided a brief overview of the six year plan. Six roads were placed on the list including: Bacon Hollow Road which is currently under construction, Mutton Hollow Road, the bridge on Beazley Road, Simms Road and a portion of Rosebrook Road. VDOT also reported to the Board on the feasibility of dividing Simms Road into two projects. It was determined that for the early planning stages the road should remain one project, but might later be able to be divided into two projects.

             The Board opened the floor to the public. Five citizens thanked VDOT for their efforts to qualify Simms Road for the rural rustic road program. Following the public’s comments B. Peyton moved to approve the revised six year plan. The motion passed by a unanimous vote.

 Business Zoning Districts

             The Board considered the revisions to the County’s business zoning ordinance. The revisions have been revised extensively be the Planning Commission who met numerous times to discuss the ordinance. Staff noted that these revisions were meant to reduce the number of uses that developers must proffer out during the rezoning process. Staff also indicated that these revisions hopefully will bring more businesses into the community.

             C. Schmitt recommended several additional changes to the proposed ordinance. First, he suggested that hours of operation and noise be limited in B-1 districts.  He also suggested that restaurants with drive-through windows be differentiated from those without drive-through windows. C. Schmitt also suggested that the hotels with internal hallway access to rooms be separate from motels with external access to rooms since motels would be less desirable. Motels should be more restricted.  He also raised some concerns about the definitions of farmer markets and retail businesses.

 Other members of the Board were hesitant to adopt the more restrictive aspects of C. Schmitt’s recommended changes but did agree on some cosmetic change to definitions and corrections of typos. During the discussion both J. Allen and B. Peyton expressed concern about over regulating businesses. S. Catalano noted that the Board should be cautious not to “micromanage every aspect of a business.”

             C. Schmitt moved to accept the revisions as approved by the Planning Commission with correction of a few minor typos, the deletion of a definition of florist and a revision to the definition of farmers market. The motion was approved by all the Board members.

 Telephone, Internet and Catalog Sales

             This is a proposal by the County Administrator to eliminate Section 22-213 –telephone, internet and catalog sales from the Greene County Code. The section reduces the tax on these types of businesses from $.15/$100 to $.025/$100. Staff was concerned that the definition of telephone and internet sales is very broad and could include a variety of businesses. Additionally, staff felt that all businesses should be treated the same.

 There was no comment from the public and little discussion among Board members regarding the proposed changes. C. Schmitt moved to delete the section from the County Code. The motion passed unanimously.

 FY 2009-2010 Budget

             The Board disposed of the next issue on its agenda rather quickly. The Budget had been discussed at the last Board of Supervisors Meeting which had served as the public hearing for this budget cycle. Members of the Board noted that more cuts from the State are likely and that wherever possible those cuts will be passed directly to the department where the State cuts occurred. The County does not intend to make up any shortfalls in state funding.

             J. Allen moved to approve the proposed Budget for Fiscal Year 2009-2010. The budget was approved by a unanimous vote.

 County Dog Ordinances

             The Board held workshop discussions on two ordinance changes regarding dogs. The first proposal is that Greene adopts a barking dog ordinance similar Albemarle’s barking dog ordinance. The second proposal was to expand the ordinance regarding dogs running at large to cover all residential zoning districts.

             The push for a barking dog ordinance in Greene County has been led by J. Allen. The Board has been looking at possible solutions for several weeks. In previous discussions a general nuisance ordinance was discussed and rejected. On several occasions it has been noted that Greene County already has a general noise ordinance although it is rarely enforced.

 The ordinance currently being considered is an adapted a version of Albemarle’s barking dog ordinance. The County Attorney noted that it had worked quite well in Albemarle. This ordinance permits citizens to go to a magistrate to seek a remedy for animal noise. Albemarle’s ordinance prohibits barking for a period of 30 minutes with less than a 5 minute cessation in barking. The proposed ordinance would exempt dogs in A-1 Agriculture on lots of five acres or more.  Those whose dogs violate this ordinance would become criminals guilty of a Class III Misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $500. After three convictions in a year the dog would be removed from the property.

 After some discussion the Board decided to pursue a more restrictive ordinance for Greene County that would prohibit barking for 20 minutes with less than a 5 minute cessation in barking. The arbitrary nature of these numbers was noted in the discussion although it did not seem to bother the Board. The ordinance will be advertised for a public hearing.

 A second ordinance regarding dogs was discussed. This was a proposal to expand the prohibition on dogs running at large to areas zoned as residential. This is intended as a compromise between those who would prefer a county-wide ordinance and the current ordinance. Under the current ordinance subdivisions can petition to be included under the ordinance. Board members were more hesitant about pursuing this ordinance change but did not rule it out.

  Other Matters

             The Board also addressed several other housekeeping matters during its meeting. The Department of Social Services was given permission to hire an eligibility worker to fill a position that will be vacated in June. Social Services also provided some insight into the increased number of requests for assistance in the county.

             Additionally the Board took steps necessary to refinance the Water and Sewer Revenue Bonds, Series 1998. These efforts will provide significant savings to the County. The new rate on the bonds will be about 3% below the previous rate.

             The next meeting of the Board of Supervisors will be Tuesday May 26, 2009 at 7:30pm.


One response

  1. Glad the BOS has the time to concern itself with dogs. Water supply, future spending, planning, etc should take the backseat to determining how long dogs are permitted to bark.

    Next they can regulate the volume of car radios if the windows are rolled down.

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