Board holds hearings on code changes

Published 8:30 am Friday, February 18, 2022

The Cumberland County Board of Supervisors held its monthly meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 8, to discuss code changes.

The Board unanimously approved four changes to codes that will update current procedures when it comes to permits and approving projects. At these public hearings, no one signed up to speak out for or against these changes.

The first public hearing regarding code suggested revising business and industrial zoning districts. The current code does not allow accessory structures in business and industrial zoning districts. Seeing this as an oversight, the Planning Commission held a public hearing on Monday, Jan. 10 and forwarded it to the Board for approval.

A previous discussion centered on whether these accessories would become eyesores. It was agreed that they’d only be allowed if screened or shielded from the road or adjoining property.

As there has been a rise in solar facilities expressing interest in the area, the second public hearing discussed a solar facility ordinance amendment requiring a fire suppression plan. Developers now have to create a plan that must be submitted and approved by the Fire Marshall and Building Official before any energy generation.

“I for one like the definitions you have in here,” said Brian Stanley, chairman of the Board, to Stephany Johnson, planning and zoning administrator. “I feel like we’ve been leaning forward on this all along and been sort of ahead of the curve.”

The third hearing covered zoning permit expirations. Since they do not expire, there is a concern as a zoning approval may no longer meet code after a few years but is still approved. Now, two years after the permit’s approval, the Zoning Administrator can reissue the permit with a $10 zoning fee as long as it still meets the current code.

“This is following a trend of us getting our house in order,” said Stanley. “Instead of having things hanging out there in the books with no action on them, this really puts an action in place that I think benefits the county and its residents.”

The last hearing was about conditional use permit expiration. The original stated that construction must happen within one year of approval. Changing the expiration to two years will allow for the applicant to get federal, state and local permits which can take up to nine months causing them to surpass the year deadline.

This change will save both parties time and money when applying for conditional use permits in the future.

IN OTHER BUSINESS:

• Cumberland County Public Library gave an update about current and upcoming events. The location still has between 50 to 60 COVID-19 tests with no clear time when there will be more. They are applying for more grants, especially to replace the air conditioning units. Lunch tech support is returning from noon to 1 p.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays starting on Feb. 28. AARP is not doing its tax preparation program in Cumberland, but it will be in Powhatan.

• Cumberland Community Cares/Delma’s Pantry gave an update as it is celebrating its fifth year of serving the community. The total distributions for 2021 were 269,920 pounds of food.

• Southside Center for Violence Prevention gave an update. During the pandemic, they have been able to make positive changes for the shelter. Counselors at the shelter are now certified in telehealth for those not wanting to come in person. The shelter now lets people bring their pets when they stay as pets can also face abusive situations. Soon, there will be a second shelter for male victims to receive help as well.

• A public hearing was held for Jerry and Donna Woods to rezone their farm, Spring River Farm LLC, from Residential 2 to Agricultural 2. This would allow them to have more animals on their farm to sell more eggs and other small projects. The measure was passed unanimously.

• A resolution was presented in remembrance of Leland Leeds who unexpectedly passed in November. He served as the Building Official for Cumberland County for 22 years and was instrumental in many projects. The resolution is now in the permanent records of the official minutes and a copy was given to the family.

• The Board approved an appropriation of $136,761.14 to Cumberland County Public Schools for a security equipment grant award and a dual enrollment alignment initiative.

• The Board also approved an appropriation of $10,000 to the Cumberland County sheriff and area police departments from a Tri-Boro Rack & Storage Products LLC donation. The money will be divided among the Cumberland, Prince Edward and Buckingham sheriff’s departments and the Town of Farmville and Longwood police departments.