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Planning Commission recommends denial of rezoning in Dahlgren

The King George Planning Commission last week voted unanimously to recommend that the Board of Supervisors deny a current rezoning request under consideration in Dahlgren. The case involves a request to rezone 6.75 acres on U.S. 301 (James Madison Pkwy). The Commission reconsidered the case at its meeting last week on Jan. 14.

The recommendation followed lively discussion with participation by several of the ten Planning Commissioners, with comments basically distilled by those from Bill Robie and Gary Kendrick.

The revised rezoning request includes amendments to the proffer statement from what was originally proposed last month, with newly-revised development plan drawings distributed.

Those two documents shed light on a new proffer that would prohibit five commercial uses including repair facility, boat sales, contractors equipment yard, commercial garage, and commercial parking lot.

The drawing indicates that those uses would not be prohibited on the whole parcel concerned in the request, but would only be prohibited within a narrow strip of land, termed as a “restricted area,” immediately adjacent to Bayberry subdivision lots. That restricted strip is proposed to be 223-feet wide at its widest part at the front of the property along U.S. 301, and narrowing to 132-feet at the back of the property which is the subject of the rezoning.

Robie urged that ‘denial’ be recommended for the request, reading from a long list of potential commercial uses that could take place on the property and would be allowed by-right if the rezoning were to be approved by the governing body. He added that some of those uses might be pleasant to have nearby, and others not so much, adding, “It’s giving them a blank check.”

Robie also said that the property appears to be listed on several real estate websites, which indicates that the applicant, JPI Walnut Hill LLC, does not intend to develop it itself.

Other commissioners agreed they would be more comfortable with the request if they knew what the uses would be on the property.  

Commissioner Gary Kendrick’s comments appeared to reflect that of fellow commissioners when he said he was not opposed to a rezoning in that location, adding that the county’s Comprehensive Plan designates it as a development area.

Kendrick added, “I’m also sensitive to not knowing what would go on the property. The ‘blank check’ idea bothers me.” Other comments were made along the similar lines, followed by the unanimous vote for denial.

The case will go forward to the Board of Supervisors at future meeting with that recommendation of denial. Another public hearing will be scheduled and advertised prior to the Board of Supervisors holding a public hearing to take comment on the rezoning request.

DETAILS OF REZONING REQUEST
JPI Walnut Hill LLC represented by Jay Jarrell is requesting to rezone from Rural Agricultural (A-2) to General Trade (C-2), with proffers, a small portion of a 128.95-acre parcel, identified as Tax Map 9 Parcel 34.

The property is on the west side of U.S. 301 about .2 miles south of the intersection with Danube Drive (Route 1101). It would be served by public utilities to be provided by the King George County Service Authority. It is located in the Dahlgren Primary Settlement Area in the county’s Comprehensive Plan.

As noted above, the 6.75 acre parcel is currently part of a larger parcel to its north with A-2 zoning. All of it is in open land and woodlands.

The small parcel requested for rezoning abuts two residential properties in the Bayberry subdivision and is an irregular shape. The purpose of the rezoning is to consolidate it with a smaller triangularly-shaped parcel 37A, which contains 1.91 acres adjacent to it.

That adjacent property to which it would be added is already commercially zoned and also fronts on U.S. 301. A boundary line adjustment would be made to result in a rectangular parcel with frontage on U.S. 301.

A detailed traffic impact analysis was submitted by the applicant, which was reviewed and commented on by the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT). As a result, the applicant’s proffers include VDOT-recommended safety improvements to a number of median cross-overs and existing entrances.

ADDITIONAL PROFFERS
Last month, the Commission had postponed voting on a recommendation after its public hearing on Dec. 10 when it received comments expressing concerns from four speakers.

At the point, the Commission identified issues having to do with site lighting, permitted uses that would allow longer hours with dense lighting, and the need for a landscape buffer.

The applicant has since amended its proposed proffers, with a recommendation from staff that the new proffers be accepted.
The additional proffers would exceed the county’s zoning ordinance that requires that lighting be shielded and directed to avoid shining onto adjoining properties or streets.

They would limit site lighting at the property line to one-half foot-candle.  In addition, all exterior site lighting fixtures would be “dark sky compliant.”

A second proffer would amend the proposed General Development Plan to add a “restricted area,” as mentioned above, where five commercial uses would be prohibited. The uses proposed to be prohibited only in that restricted area are auto repair facility, boat sales, contractors equipment yard, commercial garage, and commercial parking lot.

Another proffer would add design standards that would increase a proposed buffer from 20 to 30-feet abutting the two residential properties that would be landscaped in accordance with county specifications and maintained in perpetuity.

The complete rezoning submission with the revised proffers, traffic analysis and the staff report are available for review in the office of Community Development, on the ground floor of the Revercomb Administration building, located behind the Courthouse on Route 3.  
The date for a public hearing on the rezoning request by the Board of Supervisors has not yet been scheduled.

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