The Botetourt County Planning Commission voted 3-2 to recommend rezoning just under 15 acres on Catawba Road in Daleville from a Residential (R-1) Use District to Residential (R-3)— but not without hearing opposition to the idea from neighbors.
That opposition points directly to the dilemma county officials are dealing with in their efforts to promote the development of “affordable housing” for people who will be filling the hundreds of new jobs coming to the county over the next couple of years.
The rezoning request was among four land use requests the planners held public hearings on Monday evening in Fincastle. All are scheduled to go before the Board of Supervisors at its May 23 meeting at Greenfield Education and Training Center.
The others were for a special exceptions permit (SEP) for a private dog kennel, a request for a change of proffers and conditions that limits the use of a property on Cloverdale Road to office uses, and a request for an SEP that would allow a medical care facility on a lot on Roanoke Road (US 220) in Daleville.
The planners unanimously endorsed the proffer change and SEP with conditions for a medical care facility, and were also unanimous in recommending against the SEP for a private dog kennel.
Chip Lawrence, a principal in JayceeJ Ventures LLC that is asking to rezone the 14.97 acres on Catawba Road from R-1 to R-3, told the planners the rezoning is a “perfect fit” with the county’s Comprehensive Land Use Plan.
His interest, he said, is not having rental apartments, rather it’s providing affordable owner-housing for families who may work at the new Ballast Point Brewery and Eldor Corp. being built at Botetourt Center at Greenfield and other businesses.
He said he’s an employer and has talked with Ballast Point and Eldor officials about the housing situation in the county, and with the influx of new jobs coming to Botetourt he thinks having an R-3 zoned property will establish ownership opportunities for those families— many of them young families.
To get the density required to provide homes under $200,000 means having R-3 zoning.
“I’d like to see a quality development, but in a price range that allows some of the younger folks to have the opportunity for ownership,” he said.
Lawrence said the company does not have specific plans for the property, but he believes there are developers who can move along a project to provide those kinds of homes quickly.
One of the challenges for the planners is the concern that R-3 allows apartments by right, and that could create a density not suitable for the neighborhood.
Planning Commission member John Griffin, who voted against the recommendation to rezone the property, expressed that concern after the vote.
He asked Planning and Zoning Administrator Nicole Pendleton if the county had another zoning option that didn’t allow apartments, but does allow higher single-family density than R-1.
Pendleton said not at this time, but the planning staff is working on updates to the zoning ordinance and one consideration is adding an “R-4” district, essentially for apartments.
Commissioner Hiawatha Nicely, who made the motion to recommend the rezoning, asked County Attorney Michael Lockaby if the Planning Commission was limited in the type of motion he could make for rezoning the property. Lockaby said there was no other option, they either voted “up or down.”
“When you look at projects like this, you look at the planning, zoning, Comprehensive Plan and future growth of the county, and what’s good for everybody,” Nicely said, adding he did not know of a reason not to rezone the property.
He added that he’d like to revisit the proposal again when there are specific plans for development.
This parcel fronts on Catawba Road 0.69 mile west of the Catawba Road intersection with Roanoke Road (US 220). It lies between Catawba Road and the Norfolk Southern rail spur that goes to Roanoke Cement Co. and borders residential lots on Mimosa Street and Camelia Drive. There’s also a 50-foot access to Mimosa Street.
In reviewing the proposal, Planner Drew Pearson told the commissioners that under optimal conditions, the present R-1 zoning would allow up to 28 single-family lots on the property.
Under the county zoning ordinance, R-3 could allow up to 32 single-family detached homes; 52 (total units) duplexes; 52 zero-lot line dwellings, 68 single-family attached homes and 108 multi-family units (apartments).
Eight neighbors spoke during the public hearing and all opposed the rezoning.
Several expressed the same concerns that Pamela and Daniel Towe talked about. They live across Catawba Road from the property.
Pamela Towe told the planners they expected to have single-family homes around them, and the thought of an unknown— the possibility of multi-family apartments— across the street from them was a major concern.
She told the Planning Commission the schools are already crowded, particularly Greenfield Elementary, and she expressed concern about increased traffic on Catawba Road.
“You’re making Daleville like Roanoke,” Buddy Ferrill told the commissioners. “You’re building things up way too much.”
He said the traffic in Daleville has gotten “terrible” and adding traffic will make it worse.
A concern also shared by Garland Miller, who recounted how Catawba Road has changed since he moved to the corner of Mimosa Street and Catawba Road in 1993.
He said there’s now a therapy business, access to Daleville Town Center, residential developments and two sets of patio homes within 0.4 mile of the US 220 intersection and stoplight.
Beyond that, there are other residential developments, Greenfield Elementary School and Botetourt Recreation Park that have all added traffic that creates congestion on Catawba Road and at the stoplight on US 220.
The rezoning, he said, “will increase congestion we already have.”
Charles Leonard told the commissioners he likes to think he’s the “younger generation” county officials keep talking about.
He said the rezoning will “have consequences on everything I own.”
Leonard read from the county’s 2010 Comprehensive Plan, and said a survey of residents said the number one concern was quality of life. The rezoning, he said, “would overwhelm every structure we have— schools, roads, fire and rescue.”
Chuck Brinkman asked the commission to consider not rezoning the property until there is a “serious proposal…. Tell us why there’s a benefit to their proposal.”
Commission member Sam Foster said he supports Lawrence’s proposal and “hopefully he will do what he says in vetting his buyers.”
Planning Commission Chair Steve Kidd, citing commercial developments Lawrence has done, said, “I don’t believe he is going to stick something in that property that’s going to be objectionable. I don’t see that tract of land being high density.”
Kidd noted that many who spoke against the rezoning said “not in my backyard. So, I’ve been thinking, where would a project like this go?”
He said he thought no matter where it was proposed, all would say “not in my back yard.”
Commissioner William Thurman said he’d like more information before supporting the rezoning.
Kidd, Nicely and Foster voted to recommend the rezoning. Griffin and Thurman voted against it.
The planners recommended approving an SEP for the Botetourt Properties LLC request that would allow for a medical care facility in a Business (B-2) Use District on a 1.57-acre vacant lot on Roanoke Road next to Bellacino’s Restaurant.
The recommendation came with the condition that no rehabilitation facility be allowed.
The medical center would be part of Shops at Cedar Ridge, and could house a proposed dialysis center operated by DaVita, a national company that operates 2,278 outpatient dialysis centers nationwide.
The property would also include retail space as already allowed.
The planners recommended a change of proffers and removing a condition for property William C. Mann owns at 8420 Cloverdale Road just north of Cavalier Automotive at Ottaway Road.
The proffers now allow only office uses, and dropping that proffer would open up the possibility for other types of businesses.
The Planning Commission recommended against issuing an SEP for a private dog kennel for up to six dogs in the Agricultural (A-1) Use District on a 4.241-acre lot at 180 Little Paws Lane, Buchanan. The property is owned by Nancy B. Burley.
— Ed McCoy