Buckingham supervisors say ‘wait and see’ on duplex question

Published 11:38 am Friday, June 21, 2024

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Last month, the Buckingham County planning commission shot down Ivan Petersheim’s proposal, with members arguing that it needed more work. As a result, they took the step of not only rejecting the project, but denying the request to send it to county supervisors for an appeal. On Monday, June 10, Petersheim asked Buckingham supervisors to overturn that decision. 

“I would like a fair chance to bring this in front of you,” Petersheim told the board, arguing that his project deserved an appeal. 

The issue surrounds a property at 5516 Ridge Road. Petersheim wanted to take the building on the property, the old Whitworth Country Store, and turn it into a duplex. In his application paperwork and then again Monday night, Petersheim said he was doing this to help provide affordable housing. 

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“It appears we’re in a housing crisis,” Petersheim said. “Rent is out of control and inflation is steep.” 

A problem for Buckingham supervisors

But the problem for the planning commission members had been how wide ranging his request was. Petersheim’s property and the area around it for several miles, is zoned Agricultural A1. Currently, duplexes aren’t allowed in the A1 district, hence the request for a special use permit.

But Petersheim also put in a request to change Buckingham County zoning, so that a multi-family housing duplex would be allowed as a special use in any Agricultural A1 Zoning District throughout the county. What concerned some of the commission members is the fact this text change request didn’t come with any specifics. There were no qualifiers in place. It just simply asked for any and all duplexes to be allowed as a special use in Agricultural A1 areas. 

In Monday’s meeting, Petersheim acknowledged that his request was wide reaching, but argued it was needed. 

“As far as the text amendment for the county and the comprehensive plan, I think we need more housing options,” Petersheim said. 

In Monday’s meeting, Buckingham supervisors said they heard his comments and “we’ll see what we can do,” Chairman Joe Chambers said.