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Orange Planners kick Grymes soccer field plan to supervisors

Grymes Memorial School received a positive response from the Orange County Planning Commission on a request to put a soccer field on agriculturally zoned land the school now owns.

The Piedmont Environmental Council last year transferred some 9 acres of adjacent land to the Grymes School to accommodate the new soccer field. The PEC had previously downzoned the parcel from Limited Residential (R–1) to Agricultural, and placed it in conservation easement. The transfer agreement specified that no more than 1 acre of the tract could be disturbed and that no buildings could be constructed.

The only speaker at Thursday’s public hearing on the special-use permit request was Terry Lunsford, an adjacent landowner. Lunsford said he supported the request “as a neighbor,” but asked that the terms specified in the transfer, including no buildings, permanent bleachers or lighting to be added to the field, be monitored in the future for compliance.

The PEC provided a letter of support for the proposal, stating that the proposed project was “consistent with the terms of the conservation easement.”

The county planning staff recommended approval of the request based on the county Comprehensive Plan, noting that low-impact uses such as athletic fields were compatible with the Agricultural classification. The staff recommended conditions proposed by the Culpeper Soil and Water Conservation District, including that the field and adjacent turf adhere to a nutrient management plan.

The commission subsequently voted unanimously to recommend approval of the permit, including the staff-recommended conditions. The Board of Supervisors will make the final decision.

Dan McFarland: