Resort Facility Permit Approved

Published 5:18 pm Thursday, March 22, 2012

BUCKINGHAM – Following a public hearing on a special use permit for a resort facility located off Route 628, High Rock Road, the Buckingham County Board of Supervisors offered its unanimous approval.

Prior to the March 12 hearing, Zoning Administrator Rebecca Cobb explained that LINK, LLC, Learning Independence and Necessary Knowledge, was granted a special use permit in 2011 for the first phase of the recreational facility, Lionheart Resorts, located on property that formerly housed the New Dominion School.

The facility's initial SUP included plans for two restaurants, zip lines, four lodging cabins, horse stables and arena.

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Cobb explained that LINK acquired additional acreage and requested the SUP include that property. Moreover, she said LINK wants to add additional uses including a new entrance, golf driving range, 50 RV sites with additional RV and boat storage.

With the new parcel, the facility now encompasses approximately 350 acres.

During Cobb's overview, she said the planning commission held its hearing on the request during its December meeting and continued the hearing on January 23. She said one person expressed concerns about the facility and wanted more information.

Cobb reported that the planning commission was recommending approval of the SUP with a list of conditions.

No comments were made during the hearing. Afterwards, Supervisor Cassandra Stish, who previously served on the planning commission, stated, “I would just like to say that throughout the development of this project I have consistently been appreciative of the willingness of this group to come into our county, to invest in our county, to bring a new business, a new endeavor.”

She added that not only would the resort generate job opportunities but would also offer recreational activities for area residents.

A second hearing focused on a change in the county's transient occupancy tax ordinance to correct the tax rate from six percent to two percent.

Last month, County Administrator Rebecca Carter explained that the authority to impose a rate higher than the two percent requires special legislation through the Virginia General Assembly. Noting that it is too late this year to pursue such legislation, she said the county would submit that request next year.

As with the first hearing, no comments were made. After Chairman Monroe Snoddy closed the hearing, supervisors voted unanimously to revise the ordinance to include the two percent tax rate.

Three Public Hearings Set For April 9

During her report to the board, Cobb provided information on three zoning matters that require public hearings. In turn, supervisors scheduled the three hearings, with the first set to begin at 7:15 p.m. at the board's April 9 meeting.

The first dealt with a request from Lionheart Resorts, LLC, which is affiliated with LINK, LLC, for a music/entertainment festival permit for July 27 through July 29, to host a National Cowboy Day celebration in conjunction with the resort's grand opening.

The next two requests dealt with special use permits for communication towers in the Gold Hill area.

Cobb began with the request from National Communication Towers for a 195-foot monopole tower on the property of Eddie Wood located off Route 15.

The zoning administrator explained that the request was reviewed by the planning commission and CityScape Consultants.

She explained that this request and the next one involve competing tower cases because of their proximity.

Cobb reported that during the commission's public hearings for both of the SUP requests, comments from the public indicated that cell phone service in that area is very poor. She noted that the Central Virginia Community Health is located in that vicinity.

However, Cobb added that one person did comment on this case saying that the tower was not in a good location and requested the SUP be denied.

Advising supervisors that her recommendation was to deny the request, Cobb said the planning commission concurred with a six-to-two vote.

She offered that her recommendation was based on one from CityScape. Cobb explained that although the tower met the requirements of the ordinance, would provide service, and would attract carriers, the consultants advised that because it is a competing case, the county look at the aesthetics of the two towers.

After the motion to schedule the hearing was made, Supervisor Danny Allen questioned if the tower could be located on property at Gold Hill Elementary School, which would bring additional revenue into the county.

Cobb responded that when the county formulated the master plan although they listed county properties as preferred locations, it was decided that schools would not be included because of worries about concerns from parents and other issues.

She explained that the ordinance could be changed to include school properties if the county and the school board agreed to do so.

However, Cobb stated that at this point they needed to make a decision on the two applications. She added that she did not believe they could deny both of those applications because the county wanted to include another property.

Moving on to the next tower application, Cobb said Clear Signal Towers is seeking a SUP to construct a 195' monopole on the property of David Hoilman, located off Route 15 in the Marshall Magisterial District.

Cobb explained that one issue that came up is that this location is directly across Rt. 15 from the CVCHS, which does have a helipad.

“We have received a letter, and it's included in your packet, from the FAA stating that the location and the height of this tower will meet their standards and does not have to be lit,” stated Cobb.

She told supervisors that it was her recommendation to approve the SUP because this tower site is less visible along Route 15 and other roads in the area. Cobb added that the planning commission did recommend approval of the SUP with a six-to-two vote.


Kevin Wright, VDOT residency administrator working out of the Dillwyn office, provided an update on road matters in Buckingham.

Wright began with a sight improvement project on Route 15 at its intersection with Thomas Road. He said the contract was awarded to Pearson Construction and work would probably begin in mid to late May.

According to Wright, VDOT will be surfacing treating two roads, Route 636 and 697, through the Rural Rustic Road Program. “We should be starting those very soon. Within the next 90-days or so we should get those underway and complete both of those with state forces, which should save us quite a bit of money.”

Updating on design work, Wright said designers are still working on the Route 20 project at 631, Troublesome Creek Road, to try to find a way to enhance the site distance at that intersection.

He said designers are also working on the area where Route 700 enters Route 20. Noting that the area borders the districts of Supervisors Allen and Staton, Wright said he would like to meet with them to discuss some of the options.

Moving to maintenance, Wright said crews were doing the usual spring items of brush cutting and tree removal. He added that they were also doing preliminary work in preparation of the resurfacing schedule.

Advising that the BOS and VDOT needed to meet for a workshop on updating the six-year plan, Wright said someone would be contacting the county administrator about scheduling a meeting.

At the end of the report, Supervisor Talbert asked Wright if he would work with the county to clarify when landowners are responsible for trees on their property that pose possible road hazards; and, the legalities involved in handling such situations.

After the meeting, Talbert explained that he would like to see the board work on an ordinance on the issue and specify the responsibilities of the landowner, county, and state when trees pose a possible road hazard.

Financial Report

Robert Huff, representing Robinson, Farmer and Cox Associates, provided a brief overview of its audit of the county's accounts for FY11.

Huff reported that the county received qualified opinions on its financial statements. He added that the county's fund balances are in the positive for the financial year ending June 30, 2011.

The accountant stated that they did not encounter any difficulties in terms of the records and procedures that they performed; and, they obtained all the representations of management.

“Any corrections that we found were properly entered into the accounts and records of the county,” said Huff, adding that they have gone over the report with the staff.

Continuing, he explained that the report was submitted to the Auditor of Public Accounts, who includes it in the report that he gives to the legislature about the finances for local government.

Last month, after receiving copies of the audit and an overview by the assistant county administrator, supervisors agreed to meet two at a time with the auditors for an overview of the report. However, Supervisor Stish requested that the auditors also make a public presentation.

Winn Again

As he has for the last three meetings, Gordon Winn used the public comment segment to continue expressing his concern about replacing the county's emergency services radio system.

Reminding that last month, Supervisor Staton explained that the county wanted a 95-95-95 system that would provide coverage 95 percent of the county 95 percent of the time with 95 percent of the leaves on the trees.

On Monday night, Winn offered that he ran some radio plots and looking at what is available to the county today, he believed they could achieve that goal.

He proposed swapping two cables at Alpha; rotating two antennas at Willis Mountain 180-degrees, doing some computer programming in the dispatch office, and teaching users the proper methodology for using the system and get their equipment fixed. Winn concluded, “This would save this county a lot of money.”