Community voices heard

Published 10:48 pm Wednesday, May 2, 2018

On April 25, with a 5 to 2 vote, the Farmville Planning Commission voted in favor of denying a recommendation for a conditional use permit for the one-acre property in the area of Appomattox, High and Oak streets requested by Robert “Bobby” and Sherry P. Martin. Many feel the voice of the people was heard and rightly acted upon. The Martins’ previously requested conditional use permit for a proposed five-story, 95,000-square-foot student apartment at that site was also previously denied.

At the public hearing for the conditional use permit 20 people spoke in opposition to the project for the latest proposal of a 10-unit multiple family dwelling which would offer housing for approximately 30 students. As previously reported in The Herald public comments and objections included Ruth Gowin of Farmville who spoke about living in the area for most of her life “The town needs to preserve the neighborhood around it as much as it can,” Gowin said about the expansions and projects of Longwood University. “I don’t think it works so well to have students living next to single-family homes. I think their lifestyles are different.”

Harlan Horton of Farmville read the landmarks in Prince Edward County that are included in the National Registration for Historic Places, including one for Farmville Historic District. “We were registered, we have a National Register of Historic Places number, we were designated as such and we have a number also with the Department of Historic Resources,” Horton said. “Everything that we have that is privately owned that is listed is within this historic district because the district itself is the designated entity for the national register of historic places … having that designation allows owners within that district to make investments in that district and to achieve historic tax credits … To the extent that the designation is lost, those tax credits are no longer available. And our ability to attract investments to the rest of downtown. The thing that we are trying to do. The things that we have been so successful at doing, could be put in jeopardy.”

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The voice of the people was heard and although not an easy or one-sided decision, the action by the planning commission to deny recommendation for the conditional use permit was the appropriate response.