Zoning appeal rejected

The Rappahannock County Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) ruled in favor of Raymond Deakins Tuesday night (Aug. 14), voting that the second structure on his property was not a dwelling, as his neighbor contended, and thus did not violate the county’s zoning laws.

The appeal of zoning administrator John McCarthy’s decision was brought earlier this year by Rock Mills resident David Konick, an attorney who preceded McCarthy in that zoning position, and who contended that the structure in question was a dwelling. This would give Deakins two dwellings on the same parcel of land, Konick claimed, a violation of the county’s zoning ordinance. Konick also claimed Deakins’ plans and existing structures violated both road-setback and floodplain laws.

After a 90-minute hearing, the board voted unanimously in Deakins’ favor, upholding zoning McCarthy’s initial decision to grant Deakins permits. Deakins admitted that his family has spent several nights in the structure – which he described as a shed rather than a house – but pointed out that it didn’t contain many of the things necessary to qualify it as a “dwelling,” including sanitation.

“I use it as a place to recover,” Deakins said. “I have all kinds of things stored in there, but it’s not a house.”

The hearing included several heated exchanges between Deakins and Konick, both of whom were reprimanded by BZA chairman Robert Weinberg. McCarthy pointed out that Deakins did build the original structure without a permit, and would thus have to pay a fine for it, regardless of the board’s decision.

Deakins agreed to that and seemed eager to move on. “We’ve jumped through every hoop so far,” Deakins said. “We just want to build our new house and get ready for our grandchildren.”