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Planners, supervisors approve special exceptions

by Tom Chillemi

A declining economy is directly related to two special exceptions that were recently recommended for approval by the Middlesex Planning Commission, and granted by the Middlesex Board of Supervisors on March 16.

Dennis Newsome told planners his work as a site and utility contractor has dropped off. He and his wife Tina used up their savings trying to keep their house from being foreclosed, but were unsuccessful. They had no choice but to move in with her parents on Route 3 in Hartfield.

Due to their financial hardship, the Newsomes were granted a special exception to remove an existing mobile home on her parents’ property, and to replace it with a manufactured home. The exception is granted under a code section that allows a dwelling for an “immediate family member.”

Planning commission member Theresa Anderson commented, “We will probably see more of this in the future.”

A parent once lived in the existing trailer, but it has been vacant for about 10 years and was used for storage.

In another case, Randolph Campbell of CDC Corporation said he has shut the doors of Chesapeake Metal in Topping. “I don’t have any work, and nobody else does,” he said.

Campbell thinks a bait and tackle shop at the corner of Route 3 and Campbell Drive in Topping will do better economically. The special exception for the shop was needed because the proposed retail business will be in a “Light Industrial” zone.

Campbell also owns a neighboring self-storage business, which also is reflecting tough times. He said some people are months behind on their rent.

Senior housing

The planners also approved a site plan for Phase II of a Bay Aging senior housing project located on 9 acres just west of Urbanna. The new units will be built at the rear of the existing units. They will be served by the Urbanna water and sewage systems.

Looking ahead, Josh Gemerek of Bay Aging said there is “an immediate need” for Phase III of the housing project. Bay Aging didn’t get grant funding for Phase III in 2008, but plans to resubmit the application this year.

Comprehensive plan

In another matter, the planners scheduled a workshop for Thursday, March 26, at 10 a.m. to discuss the draft of the new county comprehensive plan. The public is invited to attend the meeting in the historic courthouse in Saluda.

The planners also will discuss the comprehensive plan at its regular meeting on April 9 at 7 p.m. in the historic courthouse.

posted 03.27.2009

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