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Orange planners pan rezoning at cycle shop
Planning Commission recommends rejection of motorcycle-shop owner's rezoning request


Date published: 4/16/2011

BY ROBIN KNEPPER

The Orange County Planning Commission has recommended that county supervisors reject Village Motorsports owner George Carter's request to rezone part of his land for a parking lot after hearing complaints from nearby residents.

Carter's request to rezone from residential to commercial the nearly 3-acre lot behind his business on State Route 20 in Unionville brought out neighbors angry that the former feed store is now a noisy motorcycle sales and service company.

Carter is now using the 3 acres as a parking lot, especially at times when sales or new-product introductions take place. Carter's attorney said Carter did not want to limit future use to parking only.

"It could be a parking lot now," Commissioner Andy Hutchison said at Thursday's meeting, "but have a grocery store next year. We don't know what it will be."

Ten people spoke or wrote letters to the commission opposing the rezoning. Most addressed the spot zoning the approval would create, but the noise being created now was the main complaint.

"It's a hot-rod shop for hot-rod motorcycles," said next-door neighbor Howard Crickenberger. "They're over there working on motorcycles until 8 or 9 o'clock. It looks like a prison the way it's lit up at night."

A feed store was seen as a desirable complement to the rural community when the store site was rezoned from agricultural to commercial in 1997. Commission Chairman Nigel Goodwin, who opposed the latest request, said Carter "has shown a lack of good faith" in changing the nature of the business.

"I'll put out as an option that he can apply for a special-event permit to use the land occasionally for sales events," Goodwin said.

Neighbors reminded the commissioners that when he asked for the first rezoning Carter had agreed to buffer his property. Crickenberger said Carter planted only one tree.

Carter's attorney, Clark Leming, said buffering trees were planted, but they had not been maintained by Carter and subsequently died.

Only Commissioner Donald Brooks voted against the resolution to deny the rezoning, which will be sent on to the Board of Supervisors.

In other business, the commission voted 4-1, with Hutchison opposed, to recommend approval of a request from Liberty Mills Farm for a special-use permit to operate a market on the 111-acre farm in the Somerset area.

Robin Knepper: 540/972-5701
Email: rknepper@earthlink.net