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Halifax County supervisors delay action again on Huell Matthews Highway site

SoVaNow.com / January 07, 2021
Three times is not the charm for a request to develop a 37.69 acre tract on Huell Matthews Highway in the face of neighborhood opposition.

The Halifax County Board of Supervisors, for a third time, declined to act on a request to pave the way for development of the Cluster Springs site. Landowner Donnie Green sought a rezoning change for two parcels, 4.32 acres and 5.5 acres, from A-1 agriculture to B-2 business. A previous plan to place a billboard at the location is no longer under consideration, Green has told supervisors through representatives.

Planning and Zoning Administrator Detrick Easley advised board members at the outset they were not allowed to vote on the rezoning request, which has been revised since going before the planning commission.

“Due to the revised document, they cannot be presented to the board for a vote without prior public notice,” said Easley, informing supervisors he has discussed the matter with the county attorney.

Supervisors will hold a joint meeting with the Planning Commission to discuss how the county wants to move forward with the zoning request. The Planning Commission has approved Green’s zoning request twice for consideration by the Board of Supervisors, only to have it fail both times.

Supervisors have heard repeatedly from residents who live in the area who oppose the request, based on they would like to know about what type of business will come to the area. “We are for growth, but would like there to be more planning,” said Donna Hudson, one resident. “[An] R/V park is not a fit.”

By allowing the zone change to business, the county will have control over what happens to the property, opponents of the request argue. They have asked supervisors to instead consider issuing a conditional use permit, which allows for limitations on the property.

Gary Rogers, who resides across from the Dollar General Store in Cluster Springs, has appeared all three times before the Board of Supervisors opposing the rezoning ordinance.

“This intersection is at the top of a knoll, there needs to be plans to reduce the speed limits,” said Rogers.

Jerry Lovelace, who spoke on behalf of Green, expressed the last request was for 37 acres, which has been changed to less than ten acres.

“Green has taken numerous steps to address the concerns by everyone,” said Lovelace, noting that he intends to create a 55-foot buffer to shield adjoining property owners from any development.

Chairman Hubert Pannell asked Lovelace, “Where are the folks who support the application? There are a lot in opposition here tonight.”

The county’s comprehensive plan calls for commercial growth on the Route 501-S corridor, but Brandon said the board has a duty to oversee development that is acceptable to the neighbors. “I don’t see where many are in opposition of growth and change, the concerns are for positive growth,” said Brandon.

Lovelace noted that Green has not identified a potential business due to the need for the zone change to occur first.

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