Planning Commission public hearings tonight

Posted on Wednesday, November 14, 2012 at 1:44 pm

MILFORD – The Caroline County Planning Commission will hold a public hearing tonight on proposed changes in the county zoning ordinance that would pave the way for the possible development of a rural resort.

The panel also is scheduled to hold public hearings on two requests for special exception permits. However, based on its discussion of the requests during a recent work session, the panel may defer action on the requests.

The commission also will hold a hearing on a fourth proposal, a batch of changes to the zoning ordinance that would allow property owners and homeowners associations to develop an administrative office.

The county’s zoning ordinance currently does not allow for the development of rural resorts, but the planning staff in October recommended proposed changes that would allow rural resorts to be developed by special exception permit in areas zoned rural preservation.

The proposed definition would allow one or more structures, temporary overnight lodging, , facilities for conferences and meetings, spas, restaurants, and banquet facilities, and various recreational activities including swimming, nonmotorized boating, fishing, tennis, equestrian activities, and more.

The standards for rural resorts would include a minimum parcel size of 250 acres, a minimum of 75 percent of the parcel in open space, and lodging units equal to the number permitted by right density of the parcel.

Mike Finchum, director of the county’s department of planning and community development, has indicated that Gary Wilson, the county’s director of economic development and tourism, has been working with a business prospect who is interested in potentially developing a resort. Wilson has declined to comment on the prospect or the plans.

At its work session on Wednesday night of last week, however, commission chairman Walter “Pete” Davis suggested the panel should defer action on the proposed zoning ordinance changes for rural resorts until January in order to allow more time for the commission to confer with other experts in that area of zoning and planning.

The commission will hold public hearings tonight on requests from Hanover County businessman Warren Bauserman for a special exception permit for Mr. B’s Park on Jefferson Davis Highway and also by Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores for a special exception permit for its travel center at 23845 Rogers Clark Blvd. in Carmel Church.

Bauserman is seeking a permit to allow short-term camping on the property year-round while Love’s wants permission to add a small building to handle tire repairs.

However, members of the panel were less than enthusiastic about both requests.

Commissioner Tim Thompson suggested Bauserman would need sanitary service at the property, and other panel members agreed. “Port-a-potties in January can be kind of tough,” quipped Davis. Commissioners also want staff to obtain drawings in which all the campsites are delineated.

Commissioners were troubled by Love’s request mainly because of traffic concerns. The business already generates considerable truck traffic in and out of its location, they indicated.

Adding tire service at the business would make parking problems “even worse,” said Davis.

“I don’t think they have enough room,” said Commissioner William Smith.

Commissioners indicated they wanted further details about the company’s request, including where service trucks would park and how customer trucks would access the 1,400-square-foot facility.

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