Fri08012014

Last updateWed, 19 Nov 2014 8pm

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Planning Commission recommends approval of W’md mudbog request

Northern Neck ATV operator Frank Iannarelli’s latest mudbog request is on its way to the Westmoreland County Board of Supervisors following this Monday’s Planning Commission unanimous recommendation to move the project forward.
According to the agenda, the special exception permit would allow the owner of the 14-acre tract of BG, Business General property on Leedstown Road to add “mud or dirt racing and recreation with off road trucks and motorcycles, ball fields, and open field ATV (all terrain vehicles) riding.”

The public hearing on the special exception request occurred on July 7 and four sets of neighbors complained about Iannarelli’s currently permitted activities, alleged that unpermitted public offerings have occurred, and delivered vigorous objections to the most recent land use request.
It was Iannarelli’s initial intent to seek approval of expanding the set of permitted offerings to include “any and all outdoor commercial activities” zoning law allows in BG Business districts. County land use staff deleted from consideration the BG activities the application material failed to appropriately document, reasoning that impacts could not be evaluated without supportive information.
One of the activities county land use staff removed from consideration was camping, but the proffers Iannarelli presented on August 2 had added camping to the mix. Commission Chair John Felt told Iannarelli a special exception to permit camping on the property would have to be part of a subsequent application. Camping had not been advertised as part of the request.
There was no reopening of a public comment segment during this Monday’s deliberations. On July 14, county officials had met on the site with the applicant and neighbors and Zoning Administrator Robert Fink this week pronounced the session a success. Conditions had been developed that would make it possible to move the project forward.
“The discussion was generally positive,” Fink said of the July 14 meeting.
“The issue of how to effectively mitigate noise impacts to neighbors remained unresolved. At the end of the meeting, Mr. Iannarelli agreed to consider the comments made at the meeting and come back to the Planning Commission with his proposal.”
According to Fink, the “only practical was to enforce [the camping prohibition] is to prohibit the overnight parking of any recreational vehicles or the use of camping tents on the subject property.
“It seems reasonable to allow ATVs, motorcycles, trucks and the trailers used to haul them to remain overnight.”
County resident Nicholas Smith received an opportunity to contribute to the discussion. He encouraged the Westmoreland officials to review how the dust and noise associated with ATV activities has been regulated by other local governments in the Commonwealth.
Iannarelli will utilize irrigation equipment and water trucks to control the dust created by the events. Noise was a larger problem that dominated the discussion.
In the end the proposal the Commission forwarded to the Board of Supervisors for final action includes language the local government will be expected to enforce if the application is approved.
“A protocol for measurement shall be developed by the applicant which is determined by the Land Use Office to adequately meet this limit prior to issuance of zoning or site plan approval or the start of any of the activities authorized by the Special Exception,” states the staff report in its Condition #4.
“The protocol shall include monitoring opportunities by the Land Use Office. The protocol shall be revised as necessary for the types of vehicles used.”
The hand written proffers the applicant submitted this Monday were revised during the August 2 discussion and had not become available in their final form when this edition of The Journal went to press.
The project includes the creation of several ball playing fields but no playing fields will be dedicated for use of the Westmoreland County children, Instead, Iannarelli proffered to donate $500 to the county youth’s football fund. A $200 contribution will be made to volunteer fire and rescue establishments and the Sheriff’s Office will receive $200 from the applicant.
The proposed mudbog activities from trucks will be subjected to a one-year trial period, allowing noise impacts to be appropriately evaluated. Iannarelli proffered to limit the mudbog truck activities to four events per year. The establishment would additionally limit its offerings to three events per month.
Motorized events would begin no sooner than 11:00 a.m. and end at 9:p.m. Playing field athletic events would end at 10:00 p.m.

By Betsy Ficklin
The Journal

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