‘I was surprised because our experience with David Konick has been difficult’
The Rappahannock County Board of Zoning Appeals has elected officers for 2018, but not without some controversy.
Alex Sharp will be chair and Jennifer Matthews vice chair, while David Konick becomes secretary and Chris Bird was made the board’s Freedom of Information Act Officer, a mandatory position.
That said, for the last three years Bird has served as the BZA’s representative to the Planning Commission. But at this past week’s meeting, Konick was nominated to take Bird’s place among the planners.
Bird indicated he was open to rotating off the Planning Commission, but during the BZA vote to send Konick’s nomination to the Board of Supervisors for approval, Bird voted no.
Reached by phone, Bird explained his decision.
“I hadn’t understood that [the nomination] would happen at this meeting,” he said. “I was surprised because our experience with David Konick has been difficult. He has sued the BZA twice and has acted to frustrate and delay the progress and duties of the board. He is not the person I would have chosen for the Planning Commission.”
But BZA chair Sharp is willing to give Konick his shot in the position.
“We have had the idea that we would rotate that [BZA] position,” Sharp said. “I have been [the rep], as has Bill Alexander and Jennifer Matthews. David has been on the BZA for three years and has shown interest and enthusiasm for being the Planning Commission rep. I think it’s worth giving him a shot. He’s quite active and works hard. It’s likely that he will work hard and produce results. The Planning Commission probably needs a shot in the arm.”
In addition, there is some belief in the community that appointments to the Planning Commision are for four years, but BOS and BZA reps have been appointed on an annual basis, even if it is to renew an appointment.
In other meeting action, the BZA began the process of responding to an appeal from Heidi and Desmond Dodd, owners of a controversial dwelling on Gid Brown Hollow Road.
Since November 2015, the Dodds have sought a special use permit to make their restored log house into a tourist home. Twice they have applied for the permit, and both times withdrawn their applications after facing neighbor opposition.
They are now appealing to the BZA to rule on whether “allow[ing] use of house as single-family dwelling of more than 30 days” constitutes use as a tourist home under the county’s zoning ordinance, according to their written appeal application.
At question is a previous ruling issued in January 2016 by former County Administrator and Zoning Administrator Debbie Keyser that “rentals of minimum 30-day periods would not require a special use permit.”
A Nov. 20, 2017 letter from current Zoning Administrator Michelle Somers appears to contradict Keyser’s ruling. Somers’ letter came on the heels of a letter from County Attorney Art Goff in October, ordering the Dodds to “cease-and-desist further [alleged tourist home] operations immediately.”
The BZA will advertise for a hearing on the appeal to be conducted at a future meeting. In an email Tuesday, Heidi Dodd said, “We look forward to having the opportunity to address the issues raised in our appeal when it comes before the BZA.”
Also on the agenda was a discussion of suggested revisions to two county applications — the Special Use Permit application and the Variance Process Letter Application and Checklist. BZA members discussed further edits to the documents in order to make them clearer and more comprehensive.
Somers will incorporate the members’ suggestions and re-submit the applications at a future meeting.
An unedited video of the BZA 7 p.m. session on Wednesday, January 24 can be found online at rappnews.com/video, or on the newspaper’s YouTube channel at youtube.com/RappNewsPlus. The meeting agenda and related documents are online at boarddocs.com/va/corva/Board.nsf/Public.