Welch apt. gets final zoning nod

The Rappahannock County Board of Zoning Appeals approved the lone request before it Wednesday night (Aug. 27) — a family apartment request from Castleton resident Bryant Welch.

Welch requested permission to use an existing structure, located on the upper level of his barn, as a family apartment while a new, permanent dwelling is built, which, he said, would hopefully be finished by next summer. After moving into the completed house, Welch said, he’d like to use the barn “as a place for my mother to stay.”

“She likes to live by herself,” Welch explained, “and this would be perfect for her.” Welch added that he’d continue to use the space as a family apartment once his mother no longer needed it.

As County Administrator John McCarthy reminded the planning commission when it considered Welch’s application on Aug. 20, family apartments must meet three county code requirements: They must be less than 200 feet from the main house, must be less than 1,200 square feet and can house no more than three people, at least one of whom must be a family member (for the apartment’s first three years). Welch’s application, McCarthy noted, met all those criteria.

The apartment is less than 100 feet from where Welch’s new house will be, he said, and an existing septic field for a four-bedroom house will cover both the apartment and the new house.

The BZA members asked McCarthy if there was precedent for granting permission for a family apartment before the main structure was complete; McCarthy informed them that it had indeed been done before, by the current board.

“We’ve done this at least a couple times before,” agreed Alex Sharp. “And the planning commission was pretty receptive to it.”

The BZA’s only request was that Welch have an exterior set of stairs to the apartment installed, per county code. They then approved Welch’s request unanimously, 3-0. (Christopher Bird and William Anderson were both absent.)