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Rezoning denied 3-2 for proposed development

by Larry S. Chowning

Land developer Gene Ruark of Deltaville suffered another setback Tuesday as the Middlesex County Board of Supervisors voted 3-2 to deny his request to rezone 630 acres known as Big Neck at Harmony Village from Low Density Rural to Residential.

Ruark wants to build a 379-home development on the property and needs the rezoning to do so.

Jamaica District supervisor Wayne Jessie and Saluda District supervisor Robert Crump voted to approve the rezoning, but Pinetop District supervisors Fred Crittenden and Kenneth W. Williams and Saluda District supervisor Jack Miller voted against the proposal.

Ruark has been trying to get this land rezoned for four years and has received planning commission approval, but every time his request goes before the supervisors, it is turned down.

The issues against the proposal appear to be more about Ruark’s history as a developer than concerns over the proposed Big Neck development.  The main reason for denial voiced by Crittenden and Williams was that in the past Ruark sold lots in a development and did not provide the required road access to six lots.

Crittenden has a relative who bought one of the lots from Ruark and there is still no road to the lot. 

Williams said he has received phone calls from other lot owners with the same complaint.

Ruark told the board he feels he has done everything possible to make this development work. He also said a road is in the process of being built to the six lots in question.

Miller praised Ruark for his proffers and said he has proffered more than the Rosegill developers. Rosegill is another large development near Urbanna that took several years for the board to approve.

However, Miller voiced concern over the lack of information on Ruark’s proposed central sewage treatment plant and where the sewage disposal site would be located on the property.

Crump and Jessie said the planning commission has approved the rezoning and they feel Ruark has done everything he has been asked to do to make the development acceptable.

Ruark cannot re-apply for a rezoning permit on this property before April 2009. The law states the matter cannot be re-addressed until a year has passed from the day supervisors first held a public hearing on the request which was in April, 2008.

Ruark said he does not know whether he will re-apply for rezoning, but he made his feelings clear as he left the meeting. “If I do, I have a feeling that hell will freeze over before this board will approve it,” he told the supervisors.

After the motion for the rezoning was voted down, a second motion was made to deny approval. This motion was approved on a 3-2 vote with Jessie and Crump dissenting.

posted 09.04.2008

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