By. Brent Wilson, Field Officer
Wednesday night (15 January), Blue Ridge Trailers (owned by Martin Investment LLC) requested Greene County rezone a portion of their property from A1 to B3.
Blue Ridge Trailers is located on Route 29 north of Ruckersville and currently operates on 7.5 acres. The 3 lots that Blue Ridge Trailer owns to make up their 7.5 acres are all zoned B3.
There is another 2 acre parcel that “cuts” into the rectangle of Blue Ridge Trailers is owned by a private owner in addition to the adjoining parcel where his house is located.
Planning Administrator Jim Frydl presented the request to the Planning Commission explaining that the rezoning is being requested before the 2 acre lot is purchased. The plan of Blue Ridge Trailers is to have a full 9 acres in a rectangular shape to eventually be developed for a future venture.
Frydl explained Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) has no issue as there is already a deceleration lane for the business, there is public water available east of the property off Moore Road and the sewer hook up is across Route 29 near Lowes. However, staff recommends not approving the rezone as it is not in the growth area of the Comprehensive Plan.
Donna Martin, owner of Blue Ridge Trailers, addressed the Planning Commission and explained that when they purchased their current property 20 years ago it was in the growth area but about 10 years ago the growth area was reduced and redirected to go south of their business towards Ruckersville.
Martin further explained that their business needs the additional 2 acres as their business has continued to grow. From time to time they have leased the property on a temporary basis. While she realizes this parcel is outside the growth area it is actually adding to three B3 parcels that they already own. They are offering to extend the minimum 20 foot setback to 50 feet to protect the current owners home from the view of the property.
She further explained that their long-term plan is to offer the total property to a developer for a hotel or other development. The addition of the 2 acre parcel will increase the value of the property toward future development by making it a uniform shape.
Blue Ridge Trailer’s attorney, Steve Blaine, also addressed the commission and explained that while the Comprehensive Plan is a guide; it not a strict rule that has to be followed and that this application is an anomaly since it is adding to an existing business. Further, it makes the property more valuable to Greene County in terms of future development on the Route 29 corridor.
Currently, proffers cannot be negotiated by the county, but in this case Mr. Blaine offered to extend the buffer to 50 feet and would be willing to have the deed restricted to state that no roadway would cut through the lot adjoining the current owners property – including Cherub Lane.
There was no public comment so the meeting moved back to the commissioners for further discussion of the proposal. Commissioner John McCloskey asked for clarification on how the 50 foot buffer could be required. Frydl stated that since Blue Ridge Trailer offered the proffer, it could be accepted by the county. Blaine also confirmed that his client would proffer that no access would be permitted on Cherub Lane and he would be willing to document this agreement before the Board of Supervisors acts on the request.
All of the commissioners agreed that the rezone, while technically outside the Comprehensive Plan, makes good economic sense for Greene County. The owner of the property asked for clarification of the proffer and was assured that no through traffic would be allowed on Cherub Lane and the buffer would be extended from 20 feet to 50 feet.
Frydl did explain that the proffers could be removed in the future. This explanation was satisfactory to the owner of the property and the rezone was unanimously recommended for approval. The request will now be passed on to the 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