Fric­tion con­tin­ues at BOS, now over county regs amend­ments

Rappahannock News - - FRONT PAGE - By Patty hardee luke Christo­pher and Spe­cial to the Rap­pa­han­nock News

“What just hap­pened?” asked long time county res­i­dent Ron Makela dur­ing the pub­lic com­ment pe­riod of the Rap­pa­han­nock County Board of Su­per­vi­sors evening meet­ing ses­sion on Sept. 6.

Makela’s ques­tion, which drew laugh­ter from other mem­bers of the pub­lic, seemed to res­onate through­out the meet­ing as con­fu­sion piled on con­fu­sion and tem­pers ran high.

His com­ment came af­ter a con­fus­ing dis­cus­sion of a spe-

cial ex­cep­tion (SE) ap­pli­ca­tion that has bounced be­tween the BOS and the county Plan­ning Com­mis­sion since May.

Su­san Kummli and Stephanie Gor­man sub­mit­ted the SE ap­pli­ca­tion in April for a con­fer­ence/event cen­ter at Al­nell Farms off Jeri­cho Road north of Flint Hill. The ap­pli­ca­tion in­cluded a re­quest for a spe­cial use per­mit for a tourist home on the prop­erty, which the county Board of Zon­ing Ap­peals ap­proved in July.

Ex­ten­sive neigh­bor op­po­si­tion to the ap­pli­ca­tion, as well as ques­tions of whether the pub­lic hear­ing had been prop­erly no­ticed, prompted the BOS or the Plan­ning Com­mis­sion to ta­ble the ap­pli­ca­tion mul­ti­ple times.

At the Septem­ber BOS meet­ing, new in­for­ma­tion was pre­sented by the ap­pli­cants. Jack­son dis­trict su­per­vi­sor Ron Fra­zier ex­pressed con­cern that this new data had not had a chance to be heard and com­mented on by the prop­erty’s neigh­bors and the pub­lic.

“I’m frus­trated my­self,” said Fra­zier, adding that be­cause the ap­pli­ca­tion had ap­par­ently been in­com­plete, “it is in the best in­ter­est of the com­mu­nity to wait one more month” be­fore con­sid­er­ing it. In the mean­time, the ap­pli­ca­tion would be prop­erly no­ticed.

The evening ses­sion agenda also in­cluded a pro­posed res­o­lu­tion pre­pared by Rap­pa­han­nock County At­tor­ney Art Goff and county Zon­ing Ad­min­is­tra­tor David Dameron sug­gest­ing cer­tain amend­ments to the county zon­ing or­di­nance. If ap­proved, the amend­ments would com­bine the spe­cial use and spe­cial ex­cep­tion per­mit­ting process into one type of per­mit which would be con­sid­ered by the Plan­ning Com­mis­sion and then the BOS. The BZA, which now hears spe­cial use ap­pli­ca­tions af­ter they have been rec­om­mended by the plan­ners, would then only hear vari­ances and ap­peals.

The amend­ments would also at­tempt to clar­ify the acreage re­quire­ments for tourist homes and B&Bs.

Goff, who pre­sented the res­o­lu­tion, sug­gested that the BOS hold the pub­lic hear­ing on the amend­ments and vote on the res­o­lu­tion at its Nov. 6 meet­ing.

Fra­zier ex­pressed con­cern about what he per­ceived as “fast track­ing” the amend­ments. He also won­dered why other pro­posed amend­ments as­sem­bled and dis­cussed for over a year by the Plan­ning Com­mis­sion were not also be­ing con­sid­ered for ap­proval.

“We need to vote on one com­pre­hen­sive fix [to the zon­ing or­di­nance] rather than do­ing this piece­meal,” he said. “[This res­o­lu­tion] doesn’t fix any­thing.”

The Plan­ning Com­mis­sion’s sug­gested amend­ments in­clude changes to the stan­dards for tourist homes, B&Bs, and other tran­sient lodg­ing types.

Af­ter al­most 45 min­utes of heated dis­cus­sion, in­clud­ing ap­peals to Fra­zier to stop shout­ing, the BOS passed the res­o­lu­tion with one change.

Mean­while, the BOS voted to sup­port a pro­posed tem­po­rary LOVE sign to be placed on empty land be­tween the Rap­pa­han­nock County Vis­i­tors Cen­ter and the county li­brary. Theresa Wood, chair of Busi­nesses of Rap­pa­han­nock who is spear­head­ing the ef­fort for a LOVE sign, em­pha­sized that the board’s sup­port would not in­clude com­mit­ting funds. In­stead, board sup­port would lend weight to grant ap­pli­ca­tions, she said.

A large LOVE sign al­ready ex­ists at the Rt. 211 en­trance into Rap­pa­han­nock County from Shenan­doah Na­tional Park and Sky­line Drive.

OTHER BOS BUSI­NESS

By com­par­i­son to the evening ses­sion, the af­ter­noon ses­sion of the Sept. 6 meet­ing was al­most joc­u­lar.

Wash­ing­ton res­i­dent Al­lan Comp pre­sented the re­port of the Rap­pa­han­nock County His­toric Build­ings Task Force. The re­port in­cluded find­ings and rec­om­men­da­tions for re­pair­ing and main­tain­ing the county’s build­ings on Court­house Row. He talked specif­i­cally about the white church on Gay Street that houses the RAAC Com­mu­nity The­atre and sug­gested that the board might con­sider sell­ing the build­ing and us­ing the pro­ceeds to pay for re­pairs to the his­toric struc­tures.

In a re­lated dis­cus­sion, the in­terim Rap­pa­han­nock County Ad­min­is­tra­tor Brenda Gar­ton told the BOS that a closet would be built in the jury room of the court­house to store the county’s au­dio equip­ment. She also said that the county had re­ceived es­ti­mates from two com­pa­nies to re­place the hand­i­cap ramp at the Rap­pa­han­nock County Court­house to bring it up to code.

The board de­cided to dis­cuss at its Oct. 2 meet­ing whether or not the Emer­gency Man­age­ment Co­or­di­na­tor needed to be an EMT, as rec­om­mended by county fire chiefs.

Re­gard­ing hir­ing a per­ma­nent county ad­min­is­tra­tor, Gar­ton told the BOS that she would as­sem­ble a pack­age of ap­pli­ca­tions for the board mem­bers to con­sider. The dead­line for re­ceiv­ing ap­pli­ca­tions is Sept. 16. The board agreed to hold a spe­cial closed meet­ing on Sept. 21 to dis­cuss the ap­pli­ca­tions.

Lesin­ski ob­served that Gar­ton has been go­ing “above and be­yond the call of duty.” He said he was open to her be­ing com­pen­sated for the ad­di­tional work. They dis­cussed hav­ing a closed ses­sion to re­view her con­tract and com­pen­sa­tion.

Jane Whit­field up­dated the board on the Rap­pa­han­nock Multi-Use Trails Project, for which she plans to ap­ply for a VDOT TAP (Trans­porta­tion Al­ter­na­tives Pro­gram) Grant. The board passed a res­o­lu­tion of sup­port for this grant ap­pli­ca­tion at its Aug. 7 meet­ing.

BY LUKE CHRISTO­PHER

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