Amendment allowing school houses approved

Published 1:47 pm Thursday, February 16, 2017

Following a public hearing, supervisors in Cumberland adopted a code amendment which would allow an Amish community to build a one-room schoolhouse on land they own in the southern end of the county.

County planners developed criteria to allow the use to be a permitted use in the A-2 Agricultural District.

The change was unanimously adopted by the board Tuesday.

According to board documents, the Old Order Amish community in Southern Cumberland requested permission to construct a schoolhouse on their property.

Bill Osl

Bill Osl

Supervisors adopted planners’ suggested amendment to the code, including a definition of a one-room schoolhouse and its addition to the permitted uses and structures section of the code, which allowed the schoolhouse to be approved by code standards.

“A one-room schoolhouse is an accessory structure used as a schoolhouse for members of the immediate community, situated on a parcel of at least 20 acres with no more than a total of 30 students and no larger than 1,000 square feet in size,” the amendment states. “The schoolhouse must meet the same setbacks as the principal structure, use the same (Virginia Department of Transportation)-approved entrance as the primary structure, have an average of no more than 10 vehicle trips per day, meet Health Department requirements for the provision of water and wastewater, only operate during daylight hours and allow no provision for overnight accommodation.”

District One Supervisor Bill Osl said the next step for the Old Order Amish community would be to obtain a building permit.