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Commissioners review proposed changes to residential zoning districts

Planning commissioners continue to review changes to R-1 and R-2 zoning districts.  According to a proposed Statement of Intent, “The general intent of this district is to promote single-family dwelling units and open areas...to protect and enhance the essential characteristics of residential communities and to promote a suitable environment for family life.” 

Commissioner Margaret McMullen summed up the work of the commissioners by saying “Our job is to plan for the future.”  At stake is how strict or relaxed standards for new construction become. 


Much discussion time was spent on fence height limitations, accessory uses, and conditional uses of land in town.

Commissioners agreed on retaining a 4-foot front yard fence requirement and a 6-foot side and back yard requirement.  A homeowner wishing to erect a side or back yard fence taller than 6-feet would be required to procure a permit to add an additional 2-feet, which would meet the maximum height allowed of 8-feet. 

Commissioners McMullen and Rodeheaver were opposed to the 8-foot maximum requirement, which is currently allowed, with a permit, by town ordinance.

Proposed conditional uses, which require a permit, in R-1 and R-2 zoning districts include: assisted living facilities, bed and breakfast establishments, community centers, libraries, major home occupation, minor home occupation, nursing homes and schools. 

Proposed permitted accessory uses, include accessory structures, family healthcare structure, fences, home gardens, storage of operable motor vehicles, recreational vehicles, trailers and marine vehicles, and storm water management facilities.  New language has been proposed that would require that principal use be established before accessory use is established.  The intent of that language is to insure that accessory use be tied to primary use. 

Proposed development standards would apply to “all new construction or redevelopment within this district.”  Surveys/site plans shall be required to be submitted and approved prior to approval of permits and provide for management of storm water.  Curb, gutters and sidewalks shall be installed prior to a Certificate of Occupancy at the developer’s expense on all undeveloped lots.  Signage for minor and major home occupations are also addressed, limiting signage to three square feet in size with no illumination and requiring the sign be affixed to an exterior wall of the principal structure. 

Commissioners agreed and requested the following sentence be added to the proposed development standards, “The proposed development shall have a harmonious and compatible relationship with the surrounding neighborhood.” 

Gary Mitchell, Director of Planning, Community Development and Property Maintenance, reported on new Virginia requirements for Urban Development Areas (UDA).  According to Mitchell “we can establish a town-wide UDA without significant changes to existing zoning standards.” 

Also required by the UDA is establishment of “density ranges”  According to Mitchell, based on the current development pattern of the town, the following density ranges are recommended:  The Point, 5.5 units per acre; Central Area of Town, 2.8 to 6.8 units per acre; Classic Shores, 5.6 to 7.6 units per acre; Riverside Meadows, 3.3 to 3.6 units per acre; Bluff Point, 2.8 to 3.0 units per acre; and, Wilkerson Farm PUD is zoned for a density of 4 units per acre. 

Mitchell noted that staff, working with consultants and VDOT, will prepare a shoreline management plan and a road improvements plan. 

Kathy Flanagan

 

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