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Hearing on cottages is Wednesday

The Farmville Town Council will hold a public hearing on Wednesday, May 10 at 6:45 p.m. regarding a requested conditional use permit sought by Mark and Laura French to build nine cottages on 1.052 acres on First Street near North Virginia and North Bridge streets in Farmville.

The property is zoned R-4 residential, according to the town, and such use requires a conditional use permit.

In late April, following a public hearing, the town’s planning commission unanimously voted to recommend approval of the permit to the town council. The recommendation for approval came with no conditions.

According to the application for the permit, the Frenches want to build the cottages on a vacant lot across the street from the Dr. Erica Geary Memorial Dog Park — one the couple donated the land for in honor of the late veterinarian who worked with Mark, a longtime veterinarian at Ridge Animal Hospital.

Besides the Frenches, two people spoke during the commission’s hearing, citing concerns with parking and space between the buildings.

“These will be available for rent,” Laura said in a previous interview. “They’re intended to be one- or two-person dwellings. So, we’re kind of gearing toward young professionals, people who are just starting out and looking to have their first nice little place,” she said. (It’s) an alternative to apartment housing.”

Laura said each cottage will be about the same in terms of their size.

“They’re kind of like the small-home concept,” Laura said. “They’re just a little bit bigger than that. When we lived in Auburn, Alabama, there was a little development that was built in this manner, and they were just really cute little small houses. We really wished we could have lived there.”

“There will be a number of cottages, and I hope it will be kind of like a little community, you know, where they’re close-knit together,” Laura said. “They’re basically going to have a very simple layout: a combination living room/kitchen with a half bath and then a loft bedroom with a full bath.”

“Conditional use permits are issued for certain zoning purposes in order to ensure that the planning commission and council have an opportunity to restrict and protect certain zones if necessary,” a town spokesperson said of the purpose of the permits.

“If (the permit’s) approved on the timetable we’re hoping for, then we hope to start construction this summer,” Laura said.