By. Brent Wilson, Field Officer
The Mount Vernon United Methodist Church requested a Special Use Permit (SUP 15-005) at the October 27th Greene County Board of Supervisor’s meeting. The SUP is to bring the non-conforming church into conformance and allow for future expansions since it is slightly below the two acre minimum.
What is a non-conforming use? Any building or land that is lawfully in use, and in which the zoning district changes or the zoning text is amended, and the building or land no longer adheres to the regulations of that new district. Often this situation is referred to as “grandfathered,” however the correct terminology is non-conforming. As Mount Vernon UMC has been in existence longer than the zoning ordinance and it conflicts, it is deemed a non-conforming use.
Such use is fine until the property owner wished to make changes to the property, then the property must be brought “into conformance” with current zoning.
Country Zoning Administrator/Planning Director Bart Svoboda explained that the church is located on Route 810 (76 Garth Road) in the western part of Greene County. Specifically, the church wants to install three “No Parking” signs on Route 810 to make the stretch of Route 810 safer.
Kendall Tata spoke on behalf of the applicant and explained that Mount Vernon Church wants to conform with the county code. The hearing then switched to comments from the public. Ginger Morris, an adjoining land owner, spoke out about her driveway being blocked by people wanting to visit the church’s peace garden. Another comment was also about their drive being blocked by churchgoers and those attending a wedding at the church.
Tata followed up the public comment by addressing concerns about closing Garth Road for 30 minutes and the church had a County issued permit to do so for a 5K race. She again stated that the church only wants to get into compliance and she thanked Bart Svoboda for coming to the church and explaining the impact of the SUP.
The meeting then shifted to the Board of Supervisors. Supervisor Bill Martin, Stanardsville District, expressed concern about the Morris’s ability to get in and out of their driveway. Supervisor Eddie Deane. Large, commented to Svoboda that the old right of way is not shown on the current plot.
Supervisor Jim Frydl, Midway District, stated that the peace garden is not part of the SUP, it is only to have the church come into compliance with county code. And if a gazebo is desired, then it will have to come under a separate SUP later. Supervisor Davis Lamb, Ruckersville District, stated that it is 260 feet from the church parking to the peace garden and he is concerned that there is no walkway and that people will walk in the road. Frydl didn’t feel that the county could require that the church add a sidewalk as a part of the SUP.
Martin stated that he hoped the church would add a sidewalk in the future. Frydl made a motion to approve the SUP and it was approved on a vote of 4-1 with Supervisor Deane voting against the request.
Brent Wilson is the Greene County Field Officer for the Free Enterprise Forum a privately funded public policy organization. The Free Enterprise Forum Field Officer program is funded by a generous grant from the Charlottesville Area Association of REALTORS® (CAAR) and by readers like you. To support this important work please donate online at www.freeenterpriseforum.org
Photo Credits: Facebook, Greene County