BZA approves family apt amid confusing zoning ordinance

‘You can see how easy it would be to circumvent the ordinance’

The Rappahannock County Board of Zoning Appeals on December 27 voted unanimously to approve a special use permit application for a family apartment to be built on Cabin Lane in Amissville.

Jeffrey Nicodemus and Marjorie Boucher told the commission they want to build a 954-square foot family apartment to house Boucher’s father, who is in poor health.

After his father-in-law passes away, said Nicodemus, the new structure would be used for his or his wife’s business. They said they have no plans to rent to anyone except a family member. Under the current zoning ordinance, a family apartment must be used by a family member for two years.

During the discussion period, the BZA members noted that in the years since the 5-acre lot owned by Nicodemus and Boucher had been approved, changes to the zoning ordinance had established stricter density limits of one dwelling unit per 25 acres.

Noting that the couple has a right to apply for the family apartment and that it meets the zoning standards, David Konick said, “We have an issue and I don’t know how to resolve it. Maybe we need to send it to the Planning Commission. On lots on less than 25 acres in the agricultural zone, there are five 5-acre lots [on Cabin Lane], three with a main dwelling and a second dwelling. So in those five lots, there will be a total of eight dwelling units.

“[This] undermines the integrity of the overall plan in the comprehensive plan and the zoning ordinance…. You can see how easy it would be to circumvent the ordinance” by renting to a family member for two years and then using the dwelling as a rental unit.

BZA member William Anderson was absent, but the other members — Konick, Chair Alex Sharp, Vice Chair Jennifer Matthews, and Chris Bird — voted to approve the application.

An unedited video of the meeting can be found online at, or on the newspaper’s YouTube channel at The meeting agenda and related documents are online at

About Patty Hardee 271 Articles
Writer, consultant, actor, director, recovering stand-up comic, Patty covers the county’s courts and other topics of interest for Rappahannock News. She lives with her grape-growing husband Bill Freitag in Flint Hill.