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Hearing set on Somerset bid

SoVaNow.com / August 29, 2013
South Boston Town Council has set a Sept. 9 public hearing to consider a rezoning request for the expansion of the Somerset Assisted Living facility.

The applicants, DECCA Group LLC and LGCK, Inc., are asking that the Somerset property and two adjoining acres around back be rezoned from R-1 Low Density Residential to B-2 General Business. The new designation will allow Somerset to undergo the proposed expansion.

(Somerset has been operating with a special use permit on the property since 1994, when it was established in a residential area).

The South Boston Planning Commission has unanimously recommended approval of the request following its public hearing on August 21. At that time, four people spoke in support of rezoning, including two partners in DECCA, Tommy Elliott and Dr. Lucien Roberts.

Others supporting the application include Christian Roberts, a partner in LGCK, which owns the adjacent two acre parcel, and Mike Strumbaugh, construction manager for the Commonwealth Assisted Living Company, a Charlottesville-based firm that intends to purchase Somerset and carry out the expansion.

An adjacent property owner, Don Bagwell, expressed concern about the possible decrease in adjacent residential property values if the land is rezoned. Two neighbors also expressed concerns about additional traffic during construction, as well as plans for more parking at the site.

It was noted that the residential properties already are affected by their close proximity to the B-2 zoned Hupps Mill Shopping Center and the T-1 zoned Halifax Regional Hospital.

In other business at Monday’s Town Council meeting, Town Finance Director Erle Scott advised that July sales tax revenues of $31,779 are down from last year ($44,668), as are revenues from utility, telecom and occupancy taxes.

The only revenue category that posted an increase in July was the meal tax —$101,104, up from $99,536 in July 2012.

Scott also reported that the Town’s delinquent tax collections totaled $76,289.42 as of the end of July. Of that amount, $47,545.82 came from delinquent real estate taxes with another $4,953.29 coming from delinquent personal property taxes. Interest all on the taxes generated another $13,302.59 while penalties totaled $6,010.17.

Committee members discussed a request from the Virginia Coalition for a contribution to fight the lifting of the ban on uranium mining in Virginia. Noting that South Boston had donated a total of $10,000 last year, the Coalition announced that a major fundraiser will take plaxe at Virginia International Raceway on October 11 and they need to raise $150,000 to continue the fight.

Several Council members remarked that the budget for the year has already been approved and no funds were included for the effort. But they were reminded that the town has a contingency fund of some $30,000, from which such requests may be granted.

Council members asked that a representative of the Coalition appear at their September meeting to provide an update on the uranium mining issue in the coming year.

Council members also asked Town Clerk Jane Jones to contact possible candidates for appointment to represent the town on the Lake Country Development Corporation.

After Council returned from a closed session, Bill Snead made a motion which was seconded by Bob Hughes, to authorize the Town Manager to complete the sales transaction regarding a 2-plus acre parcel of land, at a price of $15,000, following an environmental review of the property. The motion passed unanimously.

Councilman Coleman Speece was absent from the meeting.

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