Greene County PC Approves ZTA and Holds Comp Plan Workshop

By. Kara Reese Pennella, Greene County Field Officer

 Action Summary:

SUP#09-001 – Request for a Special Use Permit for an Electronic Message Center on a 1.04 acre tract zoned B-2 and located on Route 29 – Approval Recommended

OR#09-001 – Revision to Article 19 – Site Development Plan regarding letters of revision – Approval Recommended

Yearly update to the Capital Improvements Plan – Approval Recommended

             The Greene County Planning Commission met on Wednesday May 20, 2009 with a full agenda. The Commission discussed a special use permit, an ordinance revision and the Capital Improvements Plan.  The Planning Commission also held a workshop session on the Comprehensive Plan.

             The first public hearing on the agenda was a special use permit for an electronic message center. Applicants were Bruce Shifflett and George and Suzanne Haney of Lydia Mountain Lodge and Log Cabins. Kim Brown spoke on behalf of the applicants. Applicants have acquired office space on the Southeast corner of the Route 29/33 intersection. They intend to use the space as a central office for several aspects of their business including cabin rentals, a dinner show and a new furniture sales department. Applicants hope that having a main office at this intersection will help direct tourists to their businesses. They are seeking special use permit for an electronic message board to help them advertise vacancies and other specials. Applicant noted that it would be a benefit to the county as a whole if they can attract more customers.

             A. Wilkinson provided the only public comment on the application noting that tourism is important in Greene County. She would like to see all tourist destinations listed on one sign so each business does not have multiple signs.

             The Planning Commission had several questions for the applicants primarily to clarify what type of sign the applicants were contemplating and what conditions should be placed on the sign. Commissioners were particularly focused on hours of operation and how often the sign changes images.  The Planning Commission previously approved an electronic message board for Arby’s and were interested in maintaining some level of continuity in the conditions placed on both electronic message centers given their relatively close proximity to each other along Route 29. 

 B. Martin moved to approve the special use permit with the conditions that 1) The electronic message center shall be considered part of the aggregate signage 2)The electronic message center shall not have neon colored lights and shall not flash, rotate or visually move so as to preserve the aesthetic character of the community and promote traffic safety, except as provided in number six 3) The message center shall not be animated in any manner 4) The electronic message shall not scroll across the electronic center 5) The permitted hours of operation for the electronic message center shall be consistent with the hours of operation of the building located on 60-(A)-20E. The electronic message center shall not be operated after 11pm. 6) Electronic message center may be changed at periodical intervals of every two hours, within the hours of operation.  The motion passed by unanimous vote.

             The second public hearing regarded revisions to the Greene County Zoning Ordinance Article 19 – Site Development Plan. This is an application put forth by staff to allow staff to issue letters of revision for minor changes to approved site plans. A plan could receive up to three letters of revision before a new site plan would be required. The purpose of this proposed change is to free up staff time and reduce costs to applicants. The Commission briefly discussed the revision and voted to approve it. There was no public comment on the revision.

             The final public hearing regarded the adoption of the Capital Improvements Plan. Staff provided some updates to estimates from the school and from Parks and Recreation. The Planning Commission discussed their hesitance regarding the information provided by departments. N. Slezak was concerned about the accuracy of the estimates. B. Martin was worried that departments do not take the process as seriously as they should. J. Frydl echoed these concerns noting that the planning commission “can’t prioritize without true justifications from each department.”  D. Lamb moved to approve the Capital Improvements Plan. The motion passed by a unanimous vote.

             The remainder of the meeting was spent in a workshop session regarding the comprehensive plan. Bill Wanner of Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission gave a brief overview of the next steps in the process of revising the plan. Several goals have been extracted from prior meetings and will be turned into individual chapters.

      For the workshop portion of the meeting Bill Wanner, requested members of the public to prioritize these goals either on large posters provided around the room or on individual handouts. The Planning Commission then took a break to allow the public to participate in the exercise. The results of the exercise demonstrated just how diverse public opinion is regarding the direction that Greene County should take in the future.

Many goals would be highlighted as important by one citizen but crossed out as unimportant or inappropriate for a comprehensive plan by another citizen.

To conclude the meeting, Bill Wanner briefly provided a summary of the exercise.

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