Are shops coming to New Canton? Supervisors approve plan

Published 12:09 am Wednesday, June 19, 2024

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New Canton residents have asked for something new for a while. Coming before Buckingham County supervisors several times over the last year, they’ve asked for new restaurants, new shops, any type of new business. Now it’s possible they’ll get that wish. 

During their meeting on Monday, June 10, Buckingham County supervisors unanimously signed off on a request from John K. George. Many years ago, the property at 31786 N. James Madison Highway had been a commercial building. John K. George came forward with a proposal to turn it into one again. The problem, George told supervisors, is that the building and land around it is currently zoned A1, that is agriculture 1. That zoning limits what is and isn’t allowed to be put up at the property. 

“It’s been vacant and in disrepair. I want to restore that building and build a second floor,” George said. “(I want to) put a row of apartments above it and then put a row of shops downstairs. There’s plenty of flat land on the southside of the building where we could put a parking lot.” 

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As for what types of businesses he hopes to attract to New Canton, George said he’d love to see a coffee shop, a bakery, a florist, pet store and maybe a sandwich shop all move in. But he can’t do anything as it’s currently zoned. Without a change, he would have to come back to the planning commission and then to supervisors every single time a new tenant is interested in moving in. That could be both time consuming and potentially run off prospective tenants. 

“We can’t do anything with the property if it’s zoned A1, but if we get it commercial, then anything allowed in B1 commercial could be allowed by right,” George said. “We could build out to suit whatever tenants come along.”

Supervisors agreed, saying they looked forward to seeing what shops would come in. They voted 7-0 to support the change.