By. Brent Wilson, Field Officer
In their November meeting, the Greene County Planning Commission approved a Special Use Permit (SUP) for a home based landscaping service to expand operations in their current location.
Barber’s Lawn Care, LLC requested a Special Use Permit (SUP #15-008) for their home business which is in a R-1, Residential area. Planning Administrator Bart Svoboda reviewed the request stating the home is in a suburban residential area but feels that the home business will still allow the area to maintain its character. Currently the business has a zoning certificate for a home occupation (ZC#15-017) and wants to expand to a home business.
The applicant, Stephen Barber, addressed the Commission requesting permission for 4 trucks and 4 trailers and limited storage. He also offered screening trees around the storage area. Svoboda mentioned that county agencies had no red flags for this request on a private road and that it was not located in a subdivision so there were no covenants to consider.
Barber stated that he would have up to four people reporting for work at his residence, they would go out to work and then return to get their vehicle and go home. No work would be done at his residence at 10 Terry Lane in Ruckersville. He also stated that his business has been in operation for 10 years and after hearing of the other lawn care business applying for a SUP he then made his application.
The agenda then went to a public comment – but no one signed up to speak. So the meeting then shifted back to the Commission. Commissioner John McCloskey questioned the screening of the vehicles and Mr. Barber explained that there is a 4 rail fence and some forsythia plants to block the view. Commission Chairman Jay Willer reviewed that Terry Lane only served 3 properties. One of the neighbors spoke up (although he didn’t sign up for the public hearing) explaining where his property was and that he had no problem with the SUP.
Commissioner Frank Morris asked Svoboda if there had been any complaints related to the business for the 10 years of the operation and Svoboda said there were none. Willer said that the garage looks like a residential garage and he didn’t feel the SUP would change the character of the neighborhood.
Greene County Zoning Ordinance (Article 16-2) ….a. The use shall not tend to change the character and established pattern of development of the area or community in which it wishes to locate.
McCloskey again brought up the screening question and Svoboda stated that the applicant would supplement the screening with fencing and/or shrubs if it was deemed necessary per the county code. Willer’s final question was – “is the business registered in Greene?” Mr. Barber said that it was.
At this point, Morris made a motion to recommend approval of the SUP as requested, absent any conditions, only he and Commissioner Eva Young voted in favor – striking this motion down.
McCloskey then made a motion to recommend approval of the SUP with the following conditions:
1. Landscaping to be done per Article 22
2. A maximum of 3 trucks and 4 trailers to be allowed
3. Outdoor storage to be done per Exhibit A
4. A detailed sketch to be provided to the Zoning Administrator
5. Screening per 19-6-2 for a home business to be followed
This motion was approved 4-1 with Young voting no. The Planning Commission’s decision seemed to hinge on the SUP’s impact on the character of the neighborhood. The Planning Commission determined, as it did in a similar request earlier this fall, there was not an negative impact to the surrounding community.
The SUP request will now be submitted to the Greene County Board of Supervisors for their action.
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