Prince Edward Board amends subdivision ordinance

Published 6:14 pm Friday, April 15, 2022

The Prince Edward County Board of Supervisors met for its monthly meeting on Tuesday, April 12.

A public hearing was held for an amendment to the subdivision ordinance to provide an agricultural exemption for perking. Perking is when the soil of a plot of land is tested to see how absorbent it is and what kind of septic system is needed. There are currently no exemptions and this can be a waste of time and money for those buying the land for farm use. 

The proposal sent by the Planning Commission would set an exemption of 25 acres which is comparable to surrounding areas with 20-acre minimums.

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“So we are trying to add in an exemption to allow, you know, if you want to buy 50 acres and add it to the farm as a separate lot, we don’t think you need to perk it,” said County Administrator Doug Stanley. “Let’s put an exception in there for that, but the question is, where is that line.”

This proposal would only require a minimum of 25 acres for exemption if it was only being used for farmland. If the lot eventually evolved into a residential lot, then the land would get perked. These lots would still be approved by the Health Department and the Department of Transportation.

“This is not for the buying or selling land that is on the books today,” said Robert Love, planning and zoning administrator. “This is if you take a smaller piece of a big piece and create a new lot that by state law has to be surveyed. We are trying to create a break in the rules that’s not there yet because all land gets perked right now regardless.”

Nine residents signed up to speak at the hearing. The majority of speakers were concerned about the amount of acreage in question. Many also wanted the decision to be between the buyer and seller when the selling takes place.

The Board moved to pass it immediately in order to start the relief it will give to new land buyers but voted to advertise it as 5 acres instead of 25. The measure passed 7-1 with Pattie Cooper-Jones voting against.

In other business:

• Due to complaints on a large flag pole erected at the East Farmville U.S. Route 460 on-ramp on private property, the pole was reviewed and the 60-foot flag pole was in violation of county code for exceeding the height limitation of 25 feet for that zoning district. During the closed session, the Board held a discussion and, once back in open session, voted to adopt an emergency ordinance for a maximum size of flags and flag poles to the highest of 20-feet and allow taller flagpoles in the A1, A2, C1, I1 and CR districts upon issuance of a special use permit and referred the amendment to the Planning Commission for formal consideration. The measure was passed unanimously to prevent this from happening again as the height is capped at 20-feet. According to Stanley the owners of the large flag and pole on U.S. Route 460 have been given notice that the flag is not to county code.

• The special use permit for the meat processing plant has been withdrawn by the applicant, Qadir Abdus-Sabur. The Industrial Development Authority has made an offer to the applicant for a portion of a parcel of land in the Prince Edward County Industrial Park and they are moving forward looking at that location. This portion is a parcel off Dominion Drive.

• Robert Love gave an update about the Hampton-Sydney Shooting Range for a one-year update required by its special use permit. He visited the range on Tuesday, March 29, and saw six students in the 90-minute session. The students would receive a lesson before shooting clays one at a time. The noise from the range was not high enough to be a disturbance. In the full review, the shooting range followed all conditions from what Love observed.

• Sarah Puckett presented a special events permit for the Alpha Sigma Phi fraternity at Longwood University to hold its annual pig roast at a private property Friday, April 30. Puckett presented the Board with conditions for this permit that would ensure the safety of those attending as well as a minimal impact on the neighborhood. The Board voted to approve the permit as long as the conditions were followed.

• Sarah Puckett gave an update on the redistricting process. The Board voted to move forward with the approval process and authorized the advertisement of the redistricting plan 30-day notice.

• Hampden-Sydney College requested bonds from the Industrial Development Authority for dorm renovations. The Board voted to unanimously approve the resolution and authorize the County Administrator or chairman to sign the necessary documents.

• The Board voted to approve the fiscal year 2022 budget amendment that requested tax incentive payments from Hotel Express LLC and Hotel Weyanoke for 2021.

• Prince Edward County Public School Board requested an appropriation of $128,499 to the school operating budget. Also, the County requested to appropriate $61,328 in Aid to Localities funds. The Board voted to approve both.