Public hearing scheduled on tourist home, B&B acreage requirements

Comprehensive Plan inches forward

A 2010 vote by the Board of Supervisors regarding minimum lot sizes for tourist homes has caused confusion for the past eight years for the Planning Commission and Board of Zoning Appeals when considering certain special permit applications.

But at its last meeting, held September 19, the Rappahannock County Planning Commission voted unanimously to hold a public hearing at its October 17 meeting to address the issue.

Specifically, the planners will consider whether in Agricultural and Conservation zones the minimum acreage requirement for tourist homes should be two and five acres, respectively, or ten acres in either zone. The commissioners will also consider whether contiguous property belonging to the same owner can be counted toward filling out a too-small lot size for a tourist home.

The confusion started when, in 2010, the BOS advertised a public hearing to be held in July of that year to consider the 10-acre requirement. But after the hearing, the BOS voted to approve the two- and five-acre lot sizes.

The decision was contested in July of 2017 when Heidi and Desmond Dodd sought a tourist home permit for their 5-acre property on Gid Brown Hollow Road. At the time, section 170-66K of the county zoning ordinance still read, “In A and C Zones, the minimum acreage requirement for tourist homes and bed-and-breakfasts shall be 10 acres.”

It then came to light that the public notices of the 2010 BOS public hearing were deficient, in that they did not state that the BOS would consider limiting lot sizes.

At the September 19 Planning Commission meeting, supervisor representative Chris Parrish said that he had placed the item on the planners’ agenda.

“My request was based on a request from the Commissioner of the Revenue to clear up the issue,” Parrish said. “Let’s do it over again and make it official. However the decision turns out, at least we’ll know what we’re doing.”

Other actions

The planners also voted to schedule a public hearing to review the special exception permit granted to Windsor Lodge Stables on Oct. 2, 2017 for events (i.e. weddings) on their Flint Hill property. As part of those SE conditions the permit expired in one year. The applicants have re-applied for another SE event permit with proposed amendments to their previous conditions, including extending the permit to five years.

Planning Commission Chair Gary Light proposed a special work session for the planners to discuss some zoning issues the BOS is considering, including changes to the county’s signage ordinance. The planners voted to meet October 3 from 1 to 5 p.m.

At that meeting, they will also discuss the status of review and revisions to the county‘s Comprehensive Plan.

Zoning Administrator Michelle Somers told the panel, “The [Comp Plan] revisions are just about complete and I will have copies at the work session.”

Light said that if there were no further changes to the revised plan, then he expected that the Planning Commission could hold a public hearing in November.

About Patty Hardee 258 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.