Board Mulls New Zone For Industrial Park

Published 2:01 pm Tuesday, June 30, 2015

BUCKINGHAM — Following months of meetings regarding the future of the county’s Industrial Park, the Buckingham County Planning Commission has agreed to create a new zoning district for the park: neighborhood commercial (NC-1).

Now the proposed change lies in the hands of the Board of Supervisors, which will hold a public hearing on the matter during its July 13 meeting.

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The unanimous decision by the planning commission to forward the matter to the board of supervisors came following little discussion and a short public hearing.

The purpose of the new zone, which, according to county Zoning and Planning Administrator Rebecca S. Cobb and county documents, will encompass the approximately 160-acre park, is to “encourage cluster development of residential, commercial, and public uses, thereby helping to discourage random scattering of these uses throughout agricultural and forested areas.”

The industrial park, located along Wingo Road and Main Street southwest of Dillwyn, is currently zoned light industrial, or M-1.

While the primary purpose of the district is to permit business uses, the document states that  “some industry which will be unlikely to generate noise, light, odors, smoke or other obnoxious influences may be allowed.”

Some of the proposed permitted uses include golf courses, greenhouses, day-care centers, hotels, assisted-living facilities, restaurants, beauty shops and emergency service facilities.

Some of the identified special uses, which would require a county special use permit, are apartments, townhouses, private and public schools, auction barns, amusement centers, mini-storage facilities and drive-in theaters. Public hearings, along with actions from supervisors and commissioners, are required of such permits.

The proposal details regulations pertaining to minimum off-street parking, setbacks and site plans.

According to Cobb, the idea for the new zone originated from the Buckingham County Community Development Advisory Committee, which examined a variety of areas in the county and the industrial park, brainstorming about ways to bring in new businesses.

She added that the committee realized there were many types of businesses that either may not have fit for that area or would have had to go through “a lengthy process of either re-zoning or applying for a special use permit and stuff like that. So, they brought that issue to the board of supervisors, who then sent it to the planning commission. This is the result of that thought and question of how can we draw in more businesses [and] make things a little easier for the type of businesses that we want to come into that area,” Cobb said.

Originally, she said, the planning commission was considering zoning the whole park as business, rather than light industrial.

“It’s going to allow business uses as well as residential uses,” she said of the new proposed zoning district.

Cobb said, regarding minimum lot sizes, that each “item, even though it may be a permitted use … would still have to do site plans, and we’ve got a whole list of what the site plans need to include. …”

The new zoning district would allow for a “much faster process” for a business that’s ready to come to Buckingham. “Hopefully, this opens them up. They can come here faster than somewhere else,” she said.

The zone includes more varieties of permitted uses “than what is currently available,” Cobb said.

“While we’re opening that up, it’s also a different type [of zoning district]. It really is more business-related. It’s not going to have…heavy truck traffic…This is a much more lighter business, community-friendly district…” she said.