Greene County BOS Approves ZTA and Hears Water Concerns from Citizens

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 – Approved

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

The Greene County Board of Supervisors met on Tuesday June 23, 2009. J. Allen was not present at the meeting. The Board considered an application for a special use permit for an electronic message center. The Board also heard an ordinance revision request from staff that would allow for letters of revisions in some circumstances. Finally, citizens addressed they Board regarding issues with their water hookup.

The first public hearing on the agenda was a special use permit for an electronic message center. Applicants, Bruce Shifflett and George and Suzanne Haney of Lydia Mountain Lodge and Log Cabins sought a special use permit to place an electronic sign at their new office space located 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 businesses including cabin rentals, a dinner show and a new furniture sales department.

On May 20, 2009 the Planning Commission recommended approval of the special use permit with the following conditions: 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) The electronic message center may be changed at periodical intervals of every two hours within the hours of operation. 

The applicants spoke briefly and stated that the only condition that caused them concern was the limit on how often the sign could be changed. Applicants will be advertising four separate businesses and felt the two hour interval would limit their ability to advertise all of the businesses. Applicant requested that they be allowed to change the sign every two minutes.

The Board of Supervisors focused their discussion on the time interval that the sign would be permitted to change. The Board was sympathetic with the applicant’s situation. However, there was concern over whether the more frequent changing of the sign would cause a safety issue.  B. Peyton noted that this application for an electronic message center was distinguishable from the recent application for an electronic message center for the proposed Arby’s which was approved with a four hour interval. In the case of Lydia Mountain’s office building the property was further from the highway than the Arby’s sign. He also noted that the sign would be facing the road at a different angle. 

B. Peyton moved to approve the application with the same conditions recommended by the Planning Commission except for condition six which was amended to 6) The electronic message center may be changed at periodical intervals of every two hours within the hours of operation. The motion passed unanimously.

The second public hearing regarded revisions to the Greene County Zoning Ordinance Article 19 – Site Development Plan. This ordinance revision would 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 Board expressed a few concerns during their discussion. B. Peyton inquired whether the $100 fee was sufficient to recoup staff costs. C. Schmitt was concerned that the ordinance didn’t contain more specific guidelines and list items that would not qualify for letters of revision such as proffers.

B. Peyton moved to approve the ordinance revision as written by staff. The motion was approved by a unanimous vote.

Finally, in matters from the public two residents who live near Lydia addressed the Board regarding water concerns. Their community of approximately 16-17 households had been notified that they will be taken for the Rapidan Service Authority’s (RSA) water supply. RSA has offered them some financial assistance to drill their own wells; however, residents are concerned that they will not have sufficient lots for the both a well and a septic system. The Board addressed their concerns noting that they could inquire about the situation on their behalf, but the Board has no authority over the RSA to force them to keep the residents on the system.

The Board quickly disposed of the consent agenda and reports from Board Members. The meeting was adjourned until July 14, 2009.

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