By. Brent Wilson, Field Officer
Last week (4/15) the Greene County Planning Commission heard a request to amend an existing Special Use Permit (SUP# 14-006) from APEX, LLC / Larry and Barbara Hall . While the end result was what the applicant requested, the discussion at the public hearing left some citizens with questions regarding Greene County’s application and zoning enforcement processes.
Hall has a recycling center north of Lowes and he asked that the two year Special Use Permit (SUP) be extended by eight months since he feels that the county delayed the process of issuing an approved site plan by that length of time.
As background, the recycling center initially started operations under the belief that it was a by right use, only later to learn that the use required a special use permit.
The recycling center is a unique center in that it takes concrete and grinds it down to saleable product. The original SUP was to start on 5/27/14 but it took until 2/25/15 to resolve issues so that the site plan could be approved. In addition, Brent Hall, speaking for his father Larry, asked that the landscaping requirement be waived since in two years (or less) replacing the existing trees with a berm and smaller trees will not block as much as is now blocked.
In addition, the condition of having a dirt pile that has been removed from Rivanna Service Authority’s (RSA) right of way no longer is an issue since it has already been removed. These are the three changes to the SUP that staff and the Halls are seeking. Commissioner John McCloskey asked Svoboda if there have been any violations at the site to which Svoboda replied no.
Brent Hall next addressed the Planning Commission and he bluntly stated he disagreed with some of the information Greene Planning Director Bart Svoboda included in his staff report and presentation. Hall said that he has grown very frustrated in dealing with Greene County staff, specifically Svoboda, and believes he has received contradictory directions. Hall also said that he feels he has been lied to. Hall simply wants the SUP to be extended to 2/25/17, two years from the date when all the issues were resolved on 2/25/15.
Hall went further to state that the family would take their development to Albemarle County and are leaving Greene County. Further he stated that when Albemarle County gives a direction it is consistent and it can be relied upon as opposed to what he has experience in Greene County.
Hall explained his frustration with Greene County in that he would get a verbal ok to start work only to be told he was in violation of county regulations and had to stop and address a new issue.
There was no one signed up from the public to speak on the issue, so the discussion moved to the Commissioners. Commissioner John McCloskey was in favor of extending the Special Use Permit to 2/25/17.
Commissioner Eva Young asked Hall if he had received answers to his questions. Hall replied that at one time he sent 8-10 emails with no reply and he felt that the process was intentionally being delayed. Commissioner Frank Morris was extremely concerned about the process being held up and he would prefer that businesses be supported in their efforts.
When Hall was questioned about future development in Greene from the commissioners he again stated that he has no plans to further develop in Greene County and he is going to Albemarle County since he doesn’t want to deal with the difficulties he has encountered in Greene.
The details of the Special Use Permit were all modified to the Halls’ request plus the elimination of the requirement of disposing of the dirt pile per RSA’s right of way. The easy part of the hearing was approving the SUP – the much harder part may prove to be researching and resolving the process issues raised by the applicant and finding a new user for the highly visible US 29 location.
Photo Credits: Free Enterprise Forum taken 23 April 2015
Brent Wilson is the Greene County Field Officer for the Free Enterprise Forum a privately funded public policy organization.
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