‘Can we trust the town council?’

Published 4:24 pm Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Perusing the minutes of the Nov. 12 Farmville Town Council meeting, I noticed the following background statement: “…several years ago, the town removed residential uses from a Business District B-4 zone because they did not want a large number of single-family residences built in a Business District B-4 zone. When the town removed residential uses, apartments were also eliminated. (Town Manager Gerald) Spates stated a Business District B-4 zone allows hotels, which are somewhat similar to apartments. The property Mr. Harper is interested in developing is located adjacent to Walmart.” 

A similar background statement was also included in the minutes of the planning commission meeting of Oct. 26.

The minutes of the town council meeting from Nov. 12 state the uses in the Business B-4 zoning were amended to include: “Apartment, condominium and townhouse development. Overall density shall not exceed (10) dwelling units per acre. A conditional use permit shall be required.” 

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If residential uses were removed from the B-4 zoning because of the possibility of a large number of single-family residences being built there, how could 120 units of apartments, condos or townhouses be approved for about 10 acres of land behind Walmart? 

Are they not also single-family residences as opposed to communal living? Could 120 townhouses be built on 10 acres of land? And how similar are apartments to a hotel?

Perhaps the building structure might be similar. However, a hotel provides overnight lodging, the furniture is provided, no storage units are required and customers come and go at staggered times. 

Apartments are utilized for long-term lodging with self-provided furniture, storage sheds might be needed, overnight parking for 200-plus vehicles, and residents come and go en masse (to work?), spilling out onto a busy roadway at rush hours without the benefit of a traffic signal. 

And what about the addition of school buses and truck traffic? Noise and lights emanate from swimming pools, play areas, parking lots, clubhouses, etc.

What purpose was served to flip flop the Business District B-4 zoning back to residential use, other than to accommodate Russell Harper’s proposed project — one that has caused much disruption in the community? 

Will other zoning be changed just to accommodate some special projects? Can we trust the town council?

Carol Fauci lives in Farmville. Her email address is horseshoes@aol.com.