Hearing on comprehensive plan set
by Larry S. Chowning
The Middlesex County Board of Supervisors agreed to hold a public hearing on a proposed county comprehensive plan at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, October 20, during the board’s monthly night meeting.
County planner Matt Walker told supervisors at their September 1 meeting that the new comprehensive plan has a more definitive view for future land use. “We have clearly defined those areas in the county where we would like to see future land use development,” he said.
Walker noted the new comprehensive plan also suggests ways for those property owners who will depend on their land for retirement, to be able to develop their property.
Walker said from the beginning of the comprehensive plan updating process, which started in 2006, the main goal has been preserving Middlesex’s rural character. “I believe this document is the foundation in keeping the rural character of our county intact,” he said.
Very few high-density residential areas have been designated in the plan, said Walker, noting that several high-density residential subdivisions already have been approved by the county, but have not been built. “Right now, we have a considerable quantity,” he said.
Walker noted the plan allows the expansion of some General Business (GB) and Village Community (VC) zones adjacent to where these types of zones already exist. “The steering committee was very aware of the importance of a vibrant business community in the county, not only to generate tax dollars but to provide services to the citizens,” he said.
Walker also suggested that supervisors consider a new zone called “Light Business.” This zone would allow businesses such as gift shops and specialty shops in a particular zone, but not businesses such as body shops and auto repair shops, which would remain in GB zones.
The new comprehensive plan protects Waterfront Commercial zones because marinas and boating facilities are important parts of the county economy, said Walker.
Some supervisors wanted fewer VC zones throughout the county because of the high-density residential development that is allowed in this zone without any special permits or exceptions.
Supervisors indicated they were concerned about the amount of VC zones in the Locust Hill area of the county. Supervisor Jack Miller suggested expanding the current GB zone to the old Parvin’s Supermarket building, and eliminating some of the VC zones in that area.
Supervisors asked Walker to bring back a drawing showing less VC zones in the Locust Hill area, and expanding the GB zone to old Parvin’s Supermarket.
Walker noted that Christ-church School has asked that its grounds be rezoned from Low Density Rural to VC. “They (school officials) feel the school already functions as a village with central water and sewer,” he said.
Walker also indicated the school may have some higher density residential needs in the future, which would be allowed in a VC zone.
In other business, supervisors:
- Learned from VDOT resident engineer Marcie Parker that work has begun at the intersection of Route 33 and Philpot Road to install a traffic light. The road work is expected to be completed in September, and the contractor is expected to begin installation of the traffic signal in October. The light is expected to be in use by December, she said.
- Voted to hold a rabies clinic on Saturday, October 31, between 9 and 11 a.m. at the animal shelter at Cooks Corner (behind old Rappahannock Central Elementary School). The fees will be $5 for the three-year dog vaccine, and $9 for the one-year cat vaccine.
- Voted to approve the Middle Peninsula-Northern Neck Community Services Board (CSB) annual contract and agreed to allow the CSB to seek a $3 million line of credit. This would allow the CSB to borrow up to three months of operational revenue during difficult economic times. Currently, the CSB has a $300,000 line of credit which “would last us a week,” said CSB director Chuck Walsh.
Supervisor Fred Crittenden praised Walsh for a job well done and made the motion to accept the annual contract.
Walsh reported that his agency is subsidizing residents of Middlesex who need services, but do not have the health insurance or money to pay for the services.
Last year, the CSB provided $96,000 to help Middlesex County residents, said Walsh. “This [money] was for people coming in for services who can’t pay, and we are having to take it out of our budget. Unfortunately, we are seeing a lot of families losing their health insurance coverage in the 10 counties we serve.”
The CSB provides a variety of services, many of which deal with mental health and substance abuse.