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‘Getting us ready for the future’

The Prince Edward Board of Supervisors prepared for the future by unanimously approving an amendment to the county’s zoning ordinance that instituted an additional layer of review for 15 designated uses of property zoned C1, General Commercial District.

Wade Bartlett

As stated in the board meeting packet, this additional layer of review would help to ensure that the uses are compatible with adjacent properties.

The packet noted the amendment requires the uses listed below to obtain a special use permit, whereas currently they are allowed by right:

• commercial outdoor entertainment

• commercial outdoor sports and recreation

• car wash

• campgrounds

• crisis centers

• dance hall

• flea market

• gasoline station

• hotel/motel/lodge

• laundry

• commercial kennels

• mini warehouses

• pawn shop

• recycling centers

• transportation terminal

No one spoke at the Prince Edward County Planning Commission’s June 19 public hearing on the amendment, and the commission unanimously recommended that the board approve the change, as stated in the board meeting packet.

Prince Edward County Administrator Wade Bartlett explained what brought about the idea of making the change to the zoning ordinance.

“As the county grows, we see what’s happening where we’re going to have some land eventually that’s going to become more commercial than it is, and out by Lowe’s is an example, and who knows where else from there,” he said. “So in preparation of that happening, I went through the existing zoning ordinance in the C1 area and looked at what was allowed by right, and what you see is a list of items there that I thought might best be moved from allowed by right to require a special use permit.”

He pointed out that just because a property is zoned C1 does not mean that people are not living around it.

“Most C1 areas, especially when they first start developing, it’s kind of a mixed use area,” he said. “There’ll be some residentials, and there’ll be some commercial activities nearby. So, this whole … amendment is moving those items from a by right to require them to have a special use permit.”

He indicated how the change might make things more expedient for the board and better for landowners near future commercial activities.

“What (the amendment) would do then possibly in the future is allow the board to zone property as C1 and not have to worry as much about what might be put there and affect neighboring landowners because we’ve taken many of the items that might cause issues with the neighboring landowners and taken them out of the by right and put them into the special use,” he said.

A member of the public spoke during the board’s public hearing on the amendment that came right before its vote, asking how existing cemeteries could be affected by the proposed change. Cemeteries were not one of the civic use types affected, and Bartlett assured him that already existing examples of the 15 uses would not be affected by the amendment.

“If you’re existing, you’re grandfathered,” he said.

In technical terms with regard to the zoning ordinance document, the amendment removed the aforementioned 15 uses from Section 2.800.3 (A) and added them to Section 2.800.3 (B).

“Basically, it’s just getting us ready for the future,” Bartlett said.