Supervisors deny permit to Lake Monticello

By Christina Dimeo


The Fluvanna County Board of Supervisors denied a special use permit request from the Lake Monticello Owners’ Association (LMOA) after five residents spoke at the Board meeting Wednesday night (May 16).

All five were opposed to LMOA’s plan to construct a new golf maintenance building on a different piece of land than the current facility on Bunker Blvd.

Right now LMOA has a pole barn and a golf maintenance building “needing a lot of work and repair,” said Brad Robinson, county senior planner.

The new 6,500-square foot metal-clad building would include an office, garage and equipment storage area, and would function as a space to service golf carts, lawn mowers, and other equipment needed for the golf course. There would also be a chemical storage building, parking area and pads for gas tanks.

LMOA sought to construct the new facility on a different parcel of land off Bunker Blvd. and a stone’s throw away from Slice Road and Route 600 (South Boston Road). LMOA has a contract to purchase the land, which is not inside Lake Monticello, for $65,000. The contract is contingent upon the successful procurement of a special use permit to house the facility.

Lake Monticello resident Dana Shepherd told supervisors she opposed the relocation due to safety concerns. Children, baby strollers and runners are often on the road, which already contains a blind spot, and shouldn’t have to contend with large equipment rolling by. “Bunker should remain a residential area with safety remaining the first priority,” she said.

Another neighbor, Glenn Reuther, said that he owns a recording studio in his home and often contends with ambient noise from maintenance equipment that throws a wrench into his projects. An increased amount of noise from the facility relocation could have a significant impact on his business. “As a Lake Monticello member, I was not given the opportunity to discuss this beforehand,” he said.

Jim Boyd of Grimm + Parker Architects, a firm associated with the building plan, said that the relocation proposal has been studied since 2013. Facility lighting will be designed with a sharp cutoff so that there will not be any “light trespass” on neighboring properties, he said.

“What is it about this new building that the old building did not accommodate?” asked Supervisor Mozell Booker.

Boyd said that the old building was not compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. He also said that setbacks, or how far development must be located from the edges of a property, have changed since the original building was constructed. The new setbacks make it so that the original building could not be rebuilt on the property.

When asked about the possibility of obtaining a setback variance from the Board of Zoning Appeals, Boyd said that the new building needs to be larger regardless.

County Attorney Fred Payne raised a legal issue with the special use permit. “It’s very unusual,” he said. “It is technically part of the golf course but can’t be an accessory use because it’s not on the same property and it’s not zoned the same.” The new parcel is zoned agricultural rather than residential.

The golf maintenance building would serve a recreational use – the golf course – but that use is not on the property. “You’re really trying hard to shoehorn this development into this combination of properties,” Payne said.

Supervisor Don Weaver said he would not support the special use permit. “We seem to forget about the quality of life for people who live here,” he said. “How is it going to affect those people – and I do think it will affect those people. And I think that’s what we’re here for. We’re the only thing between the developer and the people, and we represent the people.”

Supervisor Tony O’Brien, whose district is entirely composed of Lake Monticello homes, moved to approve the permit, but no one seconded his motion. Then Supervisor Trish Eager moved to deny the permit, and Weaver seconded.

Asking for more discussion, O’Brien said that the golf course benefits all Lake Monticello property owners. “While it’s important to listen to the people, it’s also important to respect the rights of the owners of the property,” he said. He called it “bad precedent” to “restrict it simply because some of the neighbors are concerned that two or three tractors will be passing by and changing the quality of their life. The quality of life is affected equally [for] the people who live down at the end of the corner right now,” or by the golf maintenance shed’s current location.

The special use permit failed by a vote of 4-1 (O’Brien dissenting).

Unlike the other supervisors, Booker paused before announcing her vote. After the meeting she said she denied the permit because she thinks “they could use the place they have – just modernize it – or tear it down and do a new one.”

Nonprofits spared cuts

During their budget vote, supervisors passed a $127,774 operations cut, and $14,180 of that total fell on nonprofits. The Board turned its attention to deciding how to allocate the cut among the various organizations.

“The thing about cutting these nonprofits is that they save us money,” said O’Brien.

“Most of the time,” said Eager.

“To nickel and dime nonprofits…that affect some of the least able in our community, and that are backed by volunteer hours, is a huge mistake,” said O’Brien.

Some supervisors expressed discomfort with cutting the nonprofits when representatives weren’t present to speak for their organizations.

The Board voted 3-2 to forgo the nonprofit cuts and instead transfer the $14,180 out of its contingency fund (Eager and Weaver dissenting).

Improvements considered for hazardous waste drop-off

Aaron Spitzer, director of parks and recreation, delivered a report on April 21’s hazardous waste and tire drop-off.

Though the event was scheduled for 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., parks and recreation staffers had to turn people away for the hazardous waste drop-off starting at 10:45 a.m. Spitzer estimated that at least 150 cars were denied entrance. The tire drop-off continued until 2 p.m.

Twenty minutes into the event, it was clear that they would exceed the event’s budget of $13,000, Spitzer said.

“There is just no way to know how big the turnout is going to be,” said County Administrator Steve Nichols.

Supervisors discussed different options, including holding the event yearly rather than every two years, limiting the number of tires per resident, and using alternate locations to Pleasant Grove.

Local stand-outs recognized

The Board presented Keith Spitzer with a community service award for his volunteer efforts to create the disc golf course at Pleasant Grove, which Nichols said had made a “noteworthy and positive impact.”

Nichols also recognized both Michael Grandstaff as the recipient of the 2018 regional emergency medical services (EMS) award for outstanding contribution to EMS telecommunication, and Ruth Hurley as the recipient of the 2018 regional EMS award for a nurse with outstanding contributions to EMS.

In other matters:

  • The carnival recently held at Pleasant Grove took in $22,356. The county’s share of that total was $5,589.
  • The base of the future Emancipation Proclamation Monument has been constructed in Civil War Park.
  • Planner James Newman told supervisors that 59 percent of Fluvanna County, or 109,947 acres, is in the land use taxation program.

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