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South Boston to take up zoning plan Feb. 10 / January 30, 2014

South Boston Town Council will host a public hearing on Feb. 10, before holding a vote on a controversial zoning update that has the support of the town planning commission, but has drawn fire from business owners and developers.

The public hearing will begin at 7 p.m. in Council Chambers on Yancey Street. Council is expected to vote on the zoning proposal and map that same evening.

The plan gained the recommendation of the Current Affairs committee, comprised of three council members, during a work session on Monday afternoon.

At the meeting, several business and property owners heard town manager and zoning administrator Ted Daniel explain how they might approach the Planning Commission to request conditional zoning, where they feel traditional zoning is inadequate to meet their needs.

According to the Town Code, conditional zoning “recognizes that frequently where competing and incompatible uses conflict, traditional zoning methods and procedures are inadequate, and that in such cases more flexible and adaptable zoning methods are needed to permit differing land uses and at the same time to recognize the effects of the change.

“It is therefore the intent (of this code) to provide a more flexible and adaptable zoning method to cope with such situations, whereby a change in the zoning classification of some property may be allowed, subject to certain conditions proffered by the petitioner for the protection of the community that are not generally applicable to the land similarly zoned.”

Daniel said business or property owners would have to go to the Planners with their requests for any conditional zoning. The Planners would consider those requests and make a recommendation to full Council.

Although Monday’s agenda did not include a public comment period, several of those present requested time to address Council.

David Myers told Council members that he has been coming to all their meetings since the proposed zoning ordinance was first advertised. “At what meeting can we come to you and get answers to our questions from you?” he asked. He added that he just wanted to talk with Council members to get their input on his questions.

Morgan Miller also addressed Council, saying that he has had a business license for his Seymour Drive and Railroad Avenue properties for the past 20 years. He questioned why the proposed zoning ordinance allows certain businesses to remain in the M-1 Industrial zones while others will be moved into B-2 zones.

One observer commented that he felt Council intends to come right back at the February meeting and approve the earlier recommendation made by the Planners, despite the concerns voiced by several property and business owners.

John Cannon, who owns property in the newly proposed Dan River district, told members “as long as you leave multi-family housing in place (in the Dan River district) I’m satisfied. I don’t want to have to pay a lawyer another $1,000 to come to represent me at these meetings.” (Cannon was accompanied by Danville attorney J. R. Lackey at an earlier January Council meeting.)

Councilman Coleman Speece responded to members of the audience by noting Council cannot discard the Town’s Comprehensive Plan on which the zoning districts are decided.

“There is no Utopian solution to this,” Speece said, adding that Council has tried hard to meet the concerns of all property owners.

Speakers, however, indicated they are still not happy with the proposed zones and want to see more changes made to them.

In earlier business, the Current Issues Committee asked that the question of eliminating term limits for appointees to advisory boards, committees and commissions be put on Council’s agenda for its February meeting. The proposed amendment calls for members to serve at the pleasure of Council until a successor is named, thereby eliminating the length of time one may serve. The Code of Virginia states that appointed members serve at the pleasure of the governing body.

Three members of the Town’s Planning Commission — chairman George Lenoard, vice chairman Fields Thomas and Harriett Claiborne — all have served three full terms and would be ineligible for reappointment unless the proposed term limit amendment is approved by Council.

The committee also recommended the reappointment of Charles Phillips to the Halifax County Improvement Council, but noted that Carolyn Nichols, whose term expires at the end of this month has asked not to be re-appointed since she plans to relocate.

The finance committee accepted town finance director Earl Scott’s report which showed that 96 percent of the Town’s real estate taxes have been collected and 107 percent of its personal property tax also taken in. Furthermore of the budgeted $124,300 in cumulative delinquent taxes, the Town had collected $178,200.55, including penalties and interest, at year’s end.

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It appears that "Mr. Uranium Fighting Cannon", doesn't like to be on the other side of the argument for government control. He wanted to prohibit uranium but he doesn't want the government to prohibit him. The same argument could have been made for uranium, if you won't let them mine it just pay Virginia Uranium $10 billion dollars. What goes around comes around Mr. John Cannon.

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