Fluvanna BOS Approves Conservation Easement – Removes 331 Residential Units; Approves Two New Zion X-Roads Industrial Operations
By. Bryan Rothamel, Field Officer
During a February 15 meeting, the Fluvanna Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to approve a conservation easement for the property. Poplar Ridge was approved in August 2014 for 156 single family attached units and 175 single family detached units situated on the 232 acres. The property is just north of Palmyra, next to Camp Friendship. The conservation easement will severely restrict the usage of the property and that’s the goal of the owner. The owner receives tax benefits for conserving the land.
“The effect on this is to restrict land in perpetuity,” said the county’s attorney, Fred Payne.
Payne explained to the supervisors to change this conservation easement is very difficult because it requires action by the federal, state and local governments. “In effect what you are doing is locking this property in the state it is now,” said Payne. The easement restricts the lands usage so much, Payne estimated there wouldn’t be many usages available because the zoning restrictions are also in effect.
For example, the land is zoned R-3 which is for development of more village-like housing. The easement now restricts building or subdividing but allows hunting. The zoning doesn’t allow hunting.
Jack Hanssen, lawyer for the applicant, said, “[The applicant] reserved the right to donate this [land] for a public park.”
Supervisors also approved two rezoning requests in the Zion Crossroads area.
The first was for Wilson Ready-Mix Concrete plant, to be built just east of the Fluvanna Women’s Correctional Facility. The concrete plant would have a retail area but would mainly be for creating and transporting concrete out. Frank Gallo was the only person to speak during the public hearing. He spoke out against rezoning area in Zion Crossroads to industrial because the area should be a commercial area, especially because of the investment in water the county will be making in the coming years.
Gallo said, “If you build it, they will come. But the flip side of it is if you screw it up, they won’t.”
Tony O’Brien (Rivanna District) agreed with Gallo the county needs to keep in mind the investment in water would return higher dollar in commercial. “He raises an excellent point,” said O’Brien.
O’Brien did counter, “With the jail next door and certain industrial (land) nearby, this may fit in.”
Patricia Eager (Palmyra District) applauded an industrial company coming into the county. “I came from an industrial area,” said Eager. “We need good industries. We need concrete.”
The rezoning passed unanimously.
The supervisors also unanimously approved Foster Fuels’ rezoning request to industrial. The property is located in the Zion Crossroad Industrial Park and across from Red Rocker Candy. Foster Fuels application included a provision to have two 30,000 gallon propane fuel tanks on the property. Currently Foster Fuels services propane to the area by filling delivery trucks at an Afton location. This new location will greatly help Foster Fuel service the area better.
Other action by the supervisors was appointing everyone who desired to be on the Broadband Access Taskforce. The supervisors couldn’t narrow down the applicants for the committee. The group will meet until October in an effort to improve Fluvanna’s broadband access in rural areas.
The Board of Supervisors also finalized plans to make the county more energy efficient. The money spent on the project is guaranteed to be offset by energy savings.
The next supervisors will next meet for a work session on February 22. The bulk of the time will be spent on agency updates. The meeting starts at 7 p.m. in the Morris Room.
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Photo Credit: Fluvanna County, Foster Fuels