By Pauline Hovey, Greene County Field Officer
This November Greene County Greene County voters will face an unusual situation: eight candidates running for three positions on the Board of Supervisors.
As of yesterday’s (8/23) deadline for potential candidates to submit signatures to have their name on the ballot, Registrar Sandra Shifflett reported that a total of four candidates would be vying for the newly redistricted Ruckersville district. Shifflett said this is the largest number of candidates running for one district seat that she’s seen during her tenure, and interest seems to be building in serving on the board in general.
In addition to the four Ruckersville candidates, two incumbents whose terms are expiring, Carl Schmitt (at-large) and Mike Skeens (Monroe district), will face challengers. The current Greene County Board Chairman Steve Catalano (at-large), is not seeking reelection.
The recent redistricting eliminated one of the two at-large seats and created a fourth district. At the time the Board of Supervisors addressed this subject, there was some concern that eliminating an at-large seat and adding another district would make it difficult to find enough people in a particular district interested in serving. That concern has not materialized in this upcoming election.
Most of August’s Board of Supervisors’ meeting dealt with reviewing proposed revisions to county subdivision and zoning ordinances. Planning Director Bart Svoboda specifically addressed revisions regarding home businesses, home occupations, non-conforming uses, site development plans, height regulations and like features, and notice of violation and civil enforcement.
Under the current ordinance, a home occupation is not allowed in a senior residential district, and the planning staff recommended revising the ordinance to allow for such businesses in order to support the recently adopted Comprehensive Plan goals and increase the county tax base. “The ‘cottage industries’ that home occupations allow in the suburban and rural residential areas are a growing trend,” Svoboda said in his statement recommending the revision.
A second revision dealt with home businesses in an R-1 district, by special use permit, which would allow the county to place conditions on the use and property to address potential impacts.
Supervisors voted to adopt the proposed ordinance amendments minus the ordinances on interconnectivity of adjacent lots and the expansion or enlargement of a non-conforming use or structure, both of which they agreed require further study by the board.
The issue of interconnectivity of adjacent lots and “access management” garnered much discussion about the desire to not force traffic out of a neighborhood-type model and onto busy Route 29, but rather interconnect roads to residential areas and stores for easier shopping. Currently the county does not have an ordinance in place for the interconnectivity of adjacent lots.
Interconnectivity advocates promise businesses and residents would benefit from better mobility and access to their destinations if a system of parallel roads existed to access their development.
Opponents of mandated interconnection cite their increased cost with benefit being reaped by the adjoining parcels. In addition, they contend such a mandate is unworkable with larger lots where the development may be a great distance from one or more of the lot lines.
Interconnectivity is mandated by the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) for residential subdivisions if such roads are to be accepted into the VDOT system.
Pauline Hovey is the Greene County Field Officer for the Free Enterprise Forum a privately funded public policy organization. If you find this report helpful, please consider supporting the Free Enterprise Forum. To learn more visit www.freeenterpriseforum.org
Photo Credit : Greene County