Greene County PC OKs New Tennis Facility

By Brent Wilson, Field Officer

The Greene County Planning Commission recommended approval of special use permit for a new tennis facility in the Ruckersville District.

tennis2Contrary to the current Comprehensive Plan discussion in Albemarle County (which is seeking to ban golf, swim and tennis clubs from the rural areas), Greene Planning staff cited economic development positives related to this special use permit in the designated rural areas as part of their reasons for recommending approval.

clip_image002

Mourad Fahim

Mourad Fahim is a former NCAA Division 1 tennis player for Radford University. He also played on the Moroccan junior national team, coaches on the high school level at Woodberry Forest School and gives lessons [edited for clarity 3/9/14 NW]. He and his wife, Sherrie, live in northern Albemarle County with their two small children and he is teaching them to play tennis. In order to find affordable court time he is currently traveling north  to Culpeper to play.

As the Culpeper facility is now up for sale with an uncertain future,  the Fahims came to the Greene County Planning Commission requesting for a special use permit to build an indoor & outdoor tennis facility on Carpenters Mill Road (east of Route 29 at the Sheetz/Food Lion intersection south of Ruckersville – parcel 67-A-2A) .

The 28+ acre parcel is zoned A-1 and that is why a special use permit is required to allow the county to review extraordinary uses and place conditions on the permit to mitigate negative impacts.

As Planning Director Bart Svoboda mentioned to the Planning Commission, while a race track with large volumes of traffic/parking would not qualify for a SUclip_image004P, a tennis facility with low volumes of traffic/parking and no large crowds is very appealing to this property. The Health Dept. indicated that a well permit would need to be applied for and the septic system will be reviewed as part of the permitting process.

Svoboda stated that the Comprehensive Plan supports this project as it is low impact and enhances the image as a business friendly community.

Staff recommended approval of the SUP with the following conditions:

1. A 30 foot screening yard.

2. Lighting shall not be illuminated between 10 pm and 7 am.

3. Outdoor facility to be used for court sports such as tennis, basketball, volleyball, paddle tennis and other racquet sports are allowed.

4. Indoor facility to be used only for the same sports as #3.

5. A site plan will need to be submitted and approved prior to construction.

There were no comments from the public.  Mourad Fahim spoke about the request. He said the project, if approved, would be started in early summer of 2015 and be completed in time for the winter tennis season. The cost for the indoor facility would be approximately $1.5 million. He would start with four indoor courts with the space to add two more later and it will also have four outdoor red clay  courts with the possibility of adding four more later. Greene County currently has no tennis courts available to the public.

He further outlined the offering of programs for all ages and playing abilities. He hopes to create a solid junior development program and also offer leagues and lessons with a monthly membership or renting court time by the hour. He further discussed the possibility of offering the courts to William Monroe High School (Greene County Schools Superintendent Andrea Whitmarsh was in attendance for another issue) to be able to field a school tennis team.

As the Planning Commission opened their discussion, Chairman Jay Willer  appreciated the clay courts as they are not as hard on knees as other courts. Commissioner John McCloskey believed it is a nice project and an improvement to the Ruckersville area. Willer asked about the clubhouse identified in the drawing. Svoboda said that a snack bar for players using the facility would be included in the SUP. However, a restaurant for non-players would not be included in the SUP. McCloskey suggested that pickle ball – a smaller court – might be attractive with our 55 and over community.

With no further discussion, the SUP with the five conditions presented by staff was unanimously approved 4-0. (Vic Schaff was absent from the meeting) The request will proceed on to the Board of Supervisors for a final decision on the SUP.

When asked about the demand for tennis in Greene County, northern Albemarle, Madison and Orange counties Sherrie Fahim explained that they believe there is enough demand to support the facility. She hopes after getting approval from the Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors to then begin marketing the facility later this year.

**Background and experience edited for clarity – 3/9/2015 NW

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The Free Enterprise Forum’s coverage of Greene County is provided by a grant from the Charlottesville Area Association of REALTORS® and by the support of readers like you.

Brent Wilson is the Greene County Field Officer for the Free Enterprise Forum a privately funded public policy organization.

Photo Credits: Greene County,  Woodberry Forest

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One response

  1. Marvin McMauley | Reply

    County of Greene Board of Supervisors
    County Administrator John C. Barkley
    Greene County Planning Commission

    My name is Marvin McCauley, I am the property owner and full time resident of 1361 Carpenters Mill Road. (Tax Map 67-6-16) I was not aware of the zoning meeting on Feb. 18th of 2015 at 7:30pm, to voice my opinion and rights as a tax payer. I did not receive the Adjacent Property letter until Feb. 20th of 2015, nor did I see it in the newspaper, regarding the special use permit at 1205 Carpenters Mill Road. (Tax Map 67-(A)-2a)
    Upon receiving the letter, I immediately rushed to the Greene County Administration Building, to gather the available information on what exactly is being proposed in our neighborhood. I was amazed to see that Greene County has even considered approving this permit after viewing the Greene County Zoning Ordinance. (Article 16-2)
    The surrounding properties are mostly rural residential single family homes, which will clearly be affected by the proposed Indoor & Outdoor Recreational Facility. The following bullet points are meant to be argued based on the Greene County Zoning Ordinance. (Article 16-2)
    • Based upon Greene County’s Multimodal Corridor Study for U.S. 29 & U.S. 33 in 2003, and the Preferred Scenario Development and Evaluation in 2009. The area in question is suggested to maintain its rural residential low and medium suburban status.
     (Article 16-2) Part A – The use shall not tend to change the character and established pattern of development of the area or community in which is wishes to locate.
    • Proposed Motions 2-2 recommend that “Lighting shall not be illuminated between the hours of 10:00pm to 7:00am.” Nowhere in the given site plan or corresponding letters have I found a description of the lights or their locations. I would assume that they will be commercial type lighting, at a maximum of 2000 watts each and mounting anywhere from 18-45 feet tall providing light to the parking areas and outdoor tennis courts. I would like to point out, that the outdoor courts are to be located directly behind the properties of 1337 and 1275 Carpenters Mill Road.
     (Article 16-2) Part B – The use shall be in harmony with the uses permitted by right under a Zoning Permit in the zoning district and shall not affect adversely the use of neighboring property.
     ( Article 16-2) Part C – The requested or related conditions shall be such that the use will not hinder or discourage the appropriate development and use of adjacent land and buildings or impair the value thereof.
    I would also like to point out the issue of traffic congestion. Carpenters Mill Road is already burdened by poor road conditions, with the creek that commonly overtakes the road in most weather occurrences, the overwhelming traffic due to its location, and connecting routes between U.S. 29 & U.S. 33. It also receives a great amount of heavy local traffic, due to the location of SHEETZ and a large amount of commercial trucks, due to the location of Quarles Fuel. With the addition of the proposed Recreational Facility including a club house and the 38 proposed parking spaces (Cars & Buses), I fear these problems would only be multiplied.
    I have spoken with some of the residents and they feel as I do. Some have offered to sign a petition or to communicate directly with you. I invite you to visit the neighborhood as a friend to see first-hand the impact this would have on the residents of Carpenters Mill Rd.
    Ask yourself “Would I want this in my backyard?” and then vote on how you truly feel.
    Sincerely, Marvin McCauley Email: Junglehop@aol.com Phone: 434-985-6632

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