MILFORD—Bud’s Towing was turned down by county planners in its bid to rezone 1.43 acres to allow for a truck repair and towing operation along U.S. Route 1 near Cool Water Drive.
The rezoning request was taken up by the Caroline County Planning Commission on Wednesday night and it will move on to the Caroline County Board of Supervisors, which will have the final say on the proposal for the property at 21179 Jefferson Davis Highway.
In a memo to the planning commission about Bud’s request, the planning staff wrote that the Virginia Department of Transportation “has concerns about having two entrances, neither of which is up to VDOT commercial standards.” The Caroline Sheriff’s Office also has expressed concerns about the entrances. In addition, the planning staff has told Bud’s Towing in the past that one entrance needs to be eliminated and replaced with landscaping.
Bud’s Towing is requesting a rezoning of the property from B-1 business to M-1 industrial zoning because B-1 business zoning allows for auto repair, but not truck repair. The planning staff has worked with the applicant on a proffer statement that would prohibit all uses in M-1, except the tow service operation and motor vehicle major repair service, which requires a special exception.
If Bud’s Towing does get approval from supervisors, these are the proffers or conditions: all towed vehicles must be within a fenced lot and the vehicles must not remain on the site for more than 30 days. In addition, Bud’s Towing would not be allowed to sell motor vehicles, motor vehicle parts, scrap metal or other materials at the site.
Mark A. Giles is the applicant for Bud’s Towing and his wife, Tammy Giles, told the commission that she and her husband are working with VDOT on turn lanes for the entrance. They are also working with the health department, which had concerns about the existing septic system.
“We’re not asking for a junk yard,” Ms. Giles said. “We bring trucks off the interstate for a tire change.”
Milton Bush, vice chairman of the commission, asked Ms. Giles if she and her husband had talked to residents near the property about the proposal. Ms. Giles answered yes and noted that one resident had expressed an interest in working there.
Bush said a housing development is proposed on nearby property, and Ms. Giles said, “We will keep the property neat. We have no intention of it being like the last folks there. It was the biggest eye sore.”
Bush complained about the two Bud’s Auto Salvage lots near Bowling Green and said “vehicles are stacked on top of each other.”
“We have taken loads of scrap metal to Massaponax—several thousand cars from both locations,” Ms. Giles said.
“This is my district,” Bush said. “People come to me and say, ‘Why would they put that (towing operation) there (along U.S. 1) where we live.”
Ms. Giles said the notice of the planning commission meeting had been published two weeks earlier. “Where are those folks?” she asked.
She explained that Bud’s Towing’s request is not for a standard towing operation. If a car needed a tire change, it would come to the facility, she said. If a car has been wrecked, it would be at the facility just long enough for an insurance adjuster to examine it. Repairs would be made only to Bud’s Towing’s vehicles.
Commissioner Timothy Thompson made a motion to recommend that the Board of Supervisors deny Bud’s Towing’s request for rezoning. The motion passed 5-0 in the absence of chairman Pete Davis.
In other action, the planning commission gave the OK for a request to rezone 126.7 acres from rural preservation to B-1 business. The property is on the north side of Route 207 at Welcome Way and between Route 1 and Interstate 95. The request came from W&F Partners Two, LLC, for the property, which has frontage on Route 1. It also has access from Route 207.
The site features a lake with an eroded earthen dam, and the site in years past was host to a campground and transient trailer park.
The property is bordered by I-95 to the east, Union Bankshares Business Park to the south and Jefferson Davis Highway to the west.
A potential buyer showed interest in the property as a location for a recreation vehicle sales and service business. It would be visible to travelers along I-95.
The applicant would like 1 million square feet of commercial space, 450,000 square feet of warehousing, 300,000 square feet of office and 200,000 square feet of retail space within the development, which is proposed in two phases, according to a planning staff memo to the planning commission.
“While the applicant has no specific users at this time, they have had people show an interest in developing the property,” a planning staff memo says.
Rezoning the property to B-1 business would bring the property more into conformity with the Caroline County Comprehensive Plan, the planning staff wrote.
Proposed proffers for the project would prohibit these uses: funeral homes, libraries, churches, nurseries and greenhouses, clubs and lodges, public billiard parlors and pool rooms, bowling alleys, dance halls, swimming pools, residences as accessory uses, bed and breakfasts, convents, monasteries, religious retreats, sexually oriented business, crematory, truck stop and truck service and repair facilities.
The Caroline Economic Development staff wrote that the rezoning is “ideal for continued growth of Caroline’s economy.”
The owners of the property have no specific plans for the property but are requesting rezoning so that the property’s potential for commercial development will be recognized.
W&F submitted three general development plans, one of which shows 13 lots with more commercial uses being developed on the southern property. More industrial type uses would be on the northern side.
W&F has proffered a 50-foot natural vegetative buffer along abutting rural and residential property lines. In addition, there would be a screening of outside storage and dumpsters. Impact statements would be necessary to show the impact upon traffic. County water and sewer would be extended by the developer.