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Clarksville approves apartment units

SoVaNow.com / September 29, 2021
Clarksville has given a green light to plans by Stefan and Ania Stolarz to build 14 market-rate apartments on a 1.25-acre vacant lot at 215 and 217 Eighth Street.

During their September meeting, council approved, without objection, a recommendation by the Clarksville Planning Commission to grant a special use permit for the proposed Stolarz apartment units, spread across a pair of two-story buildings with on-site parking.

The initial proposal called for 16 units, but that number was reduced in response to concerns from neighboring property owners.

Council approval came with four contingencies:

» The project must include adequate buffering and screening of the structures and the parking lot, and a landscaping plan that meets the requirements of the Town zoning ordinance must be submitted before work begins.

» Clarksville’s Board of Zoning Appeals must grant a variance to reduce the minimum lot size of the project from the required two-acre minimum to the 1.25 acres that exists.

» The developer must obtain proper land distributing permits and building permits from Mecklenburg County before breaking ground.

» The developer must obtain proper land access permits from the Virginia Department of Transportation to access the site.

Currently the property is a vacant lot covered with trees and mixed vegetation. In the past a True Value hardware store warehouse sat on the property. It was demolished more than a decade ago.

Town Manager Jeff Jones said the proposed apartment complex required a special use permit approved by the Planning Commission as well as the approval of a variance by the Board of Zoning Appeals to move forward. Based on the Town’s current zoning, the size of the project calls for there to be at least two acres of land. A variance is needed to allow the project to move forward on the smaller lot.

Additionally, all apartment units proposed for an R-3 district — the zoning designation for the site on Eighth Street — must first obtain a special use permit from the town before construction can begin.

On Wednesday following the Council meeting, members of the Clarksville Board of Zoning Appeals approved the request for a variance.

The Stolarzes made their purchase of the land contingent upon obtaining both a special use permit and a variance from the town. With these initial approvals in place, the project can move forward to the permitting process with the county and VDOT.

Gerald Hooton, a consultant with B&B Engineers, acknowledged that the site could potentially have soil and water control issues that will have to be addressed. A study already completed by a wetland specialist found no issue that would impact the flora, fauna and water levels in the area.

Neither Jones nor Stefan Stolarz gave a date for when the ground breaking will take place.

In other business, Town Council held a public hearing on the proposed issuance of an estimated $602,000 general obligation and sewer revenue bond for the purpose of financing improvements to Clarksville’s sewer infrastructure. The money will be used to construct a new sludge system at the wastewater treatment plant, install a new pump station and pay related capital expenses.

No member of the public appeared at or sent in written comments to the Town in advance of the hearing.

Council authorized Jones to borrow the $602,000 needed to finance the sewer project from Benchmark Bank for a period of 18 months at a rate of 0.98 percent.

Jones said the Town also has received a $30,000 grant from the Virginia Housing and Rural Development fund to pay for a pre-engineering report ahead of the expansion of the water treatment plant. Upgrades to the plant are needed, Jones said, to provide an adequate water supply to Microsoft Corporation’s new data center planned for the Lakeside Commerce Park just east of Buggs Island Lake.

Jones said the study will be completed and report issued in about three months.

Town Operations Director Richard Elliott said the replacement of the water line running along East Street to The Moorings condominium complex is proceeding without problem. The sewer line issues that previously plagued property owners on West Street have been resolved. The Town is still waiting for the factory to deliver the flotation devices needed to repair the town dock.

Officers with the Clarksville Police Department have been undergoing additional training that will qualify them to serve as instructors at the police academy in Lynchburg. Police Chief Ricky Wilkinson said he is offering these opportunities to his officers as a way to retain them as members of the Clarksville police force.

Cameron Waters is among the officers who is receiving the training. He recently completed field sobriety training in preparation of moving on to instructor school where he will earn the certification that qualifies him to teach.

Wilkinson shared his growing frustration with the delays in receiving the Town’s new police cruisers. “We have had the cars since May. The parts [needed to outfit the vehicles with radios, lights, etc.] are in but I’m being told there is no one available to install the parts. Hopefully we can have these cars on the ground in the next couple of weeks.”

Jones listed upcoming events of note in the Town of Clarksville. Among them are the lamppost decorating contest that runs from Sept. 30 to Nov. 1, the Harvest Festival on Saturday and the season’s final Lake Life Live concert and classic car cruise-in, also on Saturday.

The lamppost decorating contest is open to all individuals, organizations, businesses, school clubs or classes. It is free, but participants must register with the Clarksville Lake Country Chamber of Commerce before decorating can begin.

The categories are fall, Halloween, and candy land. There are prizes for best overall creative design for fall, sweetest candy display, best Halloween lamppost and others.

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