Jeff Branscome writes about Spotsylvania County.
Zoning administrator to get additional power?
On Aug. 10, Supervisor Emmitt Marshall asked staff to start the public hearing process to grant Zoning Administrator Troy Tignor additional powers in relation to the physical requirements for a lot or parcel of land, including size, height, location of features to any building, structure or improvements.
The zoning administrator would be allowed to grant any modification if he finds that
- strict adherence to the zoning rules would produce a hardship,
- that the hardship is not shared “generally” by other properties in the same zoning district and same area, and
- the authorization of any modification he makes will not be of “substantial” detriment to adjacent property, and the character of the zoning district will not be changed by the granting of the modification
Mr. Marshall made this motion after the Board of Supervisors agreed to allow sawmills in A-3 zoned land if the property is at least 20 acres. Marshall, who is retired from the lumber business, said three sawmill owners called him to complain that they had to get special use permits to expand their businesses. The original plan was to allow sawmills anywhere in A-3 zoning, but Marshall changed it later to the current rule of 20 acres or more.
There is no explanation as to why he wants to grant the zoning administrator additional powers to allow for modifications to the zoning ordinance. I called Mr. Marshall today and asked him to explain why he made the proposal. He said this amendment is necessary because of what happened to the sawmills.
“We’ve got four lumber mills in the county and if something happens to one of the buildings, and they are non conforming, then they can’t be replaced. They can’t get the permit. I don’t think it is anything that will affect the county very much.”
On Sept. 1, the Planning Commission will have a public hearing on this issue, which is less than three weeks since he made the proposal. The commission will forward a recommendation to the Board of Supervisors, which will hold the final public hearing likely sometime in late September or early October.
There is an advertisement in today’s Region section on page C-5 about the commission’s public hearing.