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Last updateThu, 19 Nov 2015 8pm

   20140901MetroCastweb

Commission takes no action on too-small lots

After extended discussions concerning the definitions of minor and major home occupations, the Colonial Beach Planning Commission decided to pass zoning ordinance amendments with minor changes, with the idea of revisiting the home occupations issue at a later date if needed. Meanwhile the commission decided not to address ordinances that might make some properties on the Point useless.

The commission did not see a need to discuss the issue of minimal lot sizes and the impact it could have on some homeowners wishing to sell, or land owners who have not began to build.

Residential areas have two designations — R-1 and R-2. Minimum lot sizes for R-2 are 5000 square feet while

R-1 lots must be at least 12,000 square feet which will make some lots in Colonial Beach obsolete for new construction. Many of the lots on the Point in Colonial Beach are 25 ft. by 100 ft. making them half the required size for building a home.

Several small homes on the Point are built on just one lot, and other small, undeveloped lots sandwiched between homes, will be unusable according to a change in the zoning ordinance, which prohibits accessory uses until a home has been built on the property.

These accessory uses are structures such as sheds, storage buildings, family healthcare structures, fences, home gardens, storage of motor vehicles and trailers or storm management facilities.

If passed, home owners with small lots may lose property value and property owners with one of these 25ft. x 100ft. lots may no longer be allowed to build once these ordinances pass.

The restriction of these accessory uses before the primary dwelling is built restricts homeowners who, while building, wish to stay on the lot with a travel trailer, park their vehicles, build a shed to house tools or to plant any type of garden.

There appears to be one loophole: private boat piers are listed as permitted principal uses, and the ordinance does state that accessory uses cannot be established until the principal use has been established.

The planning commission did spend considerable time discussing the definitions of minor and major home occupations. A minor home occupation is allowed in residential areas, and is defined as an occupation or profession that is carried out in the home or an accessory structure by a member of the family. Major home occupation differs in that it allows up to four outside employees, who do not reside in the home, and is only allowed by conditional use permit.

Cynthia Misicka, chair of the planning commission, was concerned with the definitions being too vague, allowing for loopholes warning, “zoning ordinances are enforceable and need to be worded correctly.”
The commission discussed the impacts of employees working at and coming to the home, as well as venders coming and going, that would affect neighbors.

Commissioner, David Coombes felt that there have been no problems with major and minor occupations in recent years and felt that the commission is performing overkill on the issue of major/minor home occupations.

It is unclear from the handout, given to the planning commission, what were changes and what already exist ordinances. Gary Mitchell, Director of Planning and Community Development, did say that not all of the items in the hand out where changes.
The matter will now pass to the Town Council.

Sunset Cove
Colonial Beach Planning Commission approved a revised preliminary plat for a new subdivision in Colonial Beach at last week’s meeting.

The planning commission previously approved the original plat submitted by Brian J. Kane and Patty Sullivan, CB Equity Partners in 2007 for this subdivision to be named Sunset Cove.

The purpose of the revised plat is to permit the use of a cul-de-sac. Original plans would not provide protection for wetlands on the property with road crossings and other public disturbances. The use of a cul-de-sac solves this problem and has been granted approval by VDOT and gained favor by Mitchell.

Sunset Cove will be located between Livingston on the north side, Wilder on the east, Monroe Bay to the south and various other properties to the west. It will provide paved roads in accordance with VDOT standards as well as sidewalks, curbs, gutters and streetlights, as required by the subdivision ordinance.

 

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