By. Brent Wilson, Field Officer
Normally Special Use Permits (SUPs) are urgently presented to the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors in order to keep on schedule for some project that the entity wants to accomplish quickly. It was quite refreshing at last night’s Greene County Board of Supervisors meeting when Greene Hills Golf & Swim Club came to the board to request a SUP with no specific project pending.
Planning Director Bart Svoboda presented request #16-006 for The Greene Hills Club that was founded in 1968. The club is located on Dundee Road and sits on tax parcels 28-A-63 & 63A and is in an A-1, Agricultural District. Svoboda indicated that Greene Hills Club is a rural parcel and fits well with the Comprehensive Plan to preserve the natural resources of the county.
Further, he explained that the club draws players from outside the county to play golf which is also a goal of the comprehensive plan. All of the adjoining landowners were notified and none objected – the only feedback was questioning what the club was planning on doing differently which, in this case, was nothing. The Planning Commission approved the request on a 5-0 vote with the only exception being to exclude a gun club from the uses authorized in the permit.
Matthew Woodson, representing GHC, explained the rationale for the requested SUP. Woodson stated that 2018 will be the 50th anniversary of the club.Interestingly, it was 1975 when Greene passed an ordinance requiring a special use permit to operate a golf and swim club. This ordinance made GHC an “Non-conforming use”.
Cornell University Law School defines non conforming use:
Also known as a prior nonconforming use (PNU), this exists when a zoning code is changed, but a parcel of land that is already being used for something disallowed by the new zoning code is “grandfathered in” (is allowed to continue). For example, if a neighborhood zoning is changed to residential, a corner grocery store may be allowed to continue to operate. The PNU will generally end when the use of the land is changed (so if the grocery store closes, the new zoning code will bar a new store from moving in).
Woodson explained that back in 2013 the club has demolished an older deck and constructed a new, larger structure. In going over that project with the county, it was noted that GHC was approaching the 50% expansion threshold which would require a SUP for any further development (kitchen expansion, pro shop expansion, etc.)
The GHC Board of Directors felt it made sense to go ahead and request the SUP and have that accomplished so that if they wanted to expand, the SUP would be in place. Woodson invited everyone to join Greene Hills and that might expedite the need for expansion!!
Although this was a public hearing, no one signed up to comment on the request. The request was then open for discussion among the Supervisors. Supervisor Jim Frydl (Midway) summarized for the board that he appreciated GHC being proactive. The club has been in synch with the Comprehensive Plan for tourism and recreation. In fact, neighborhoods have grown up near the golf course and it has been a perfect in a rural setting. The other supervisors were in agreement and the request passed on a 5-0 vote.
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