BZA approves Clark Lane B&B expansion

After a four-hour meeting Wednesday night (Oct. 23), and over the objections of the neighbors, the Rappahannock County Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) approved Randall and Kimberly Fort’s request to expand Harmony Manor Bed and Breakfast from two rooms to five.

Harmony Manor’s proposed expansion from two rooms to five was approved Oct 23 over the neighbors' objections. Photo by Roger Piantadosi.
Harmony Manor’s proposed expansion from two rooms to five was approved Oct 23 over the neighbors’ objections. Photo by Roger Piantadosi.

The BZA made it clear that the emotion displayed on both sides of the issue — by the Forts and their Clark Lane neighbors, organized formally as the Clark Lane Residents Committee — was distracting from the important issue: Would the increased traffic on the road negatively impact the Forts’ neighbors noticeably enough to recommend denial?

The planning commission, at its meeting last Wednesday night (Oct. 16), found that it would, and recommended denial to the BZA by a 6-1 vote. (BZA representative Alex Sharp voted in favor of the application.) County Administrator John McCarthy also recommended denial.

Similarly to how the initial permit was approved 18 months ago, the BZA overruled both those recommendations, voting 3-2 in favor of the expansion. (Sharp, Robert Weinberg and Christopher Bird voted in favor; Jennifer Matthews and William Anderson voted against it.)

That approval does come with conditions, however. The Forts can immediately offer a third room for rent. Before they can offer the remaining two rooms, however, they must meet with the Virginia Department of Transportation and upgrade the 30-foot Clark Lane right-of-way leading to their B&B to VDOT standards, and must also provide laybys (places where vehicles can pull off the roadway) every 300 feet between U.S. 211 and the inn.

Read more about this in the Oct. 31 Rappahannock News.