All News & Blogs
BY PORTSIA SMITH
The Christian boarding school for troubled teens that was denied approval by the Caroline County Board of Supervisors could get a second chance.
Abundant Life Academy officials, through an attorney, made a written request for supervisors to reconsider their vote on a special-use permit for the school, which wants to use the former Remuda Ranch off Passing Road near Sparta.
Under Robert's Rules of Order, supervisors can reconsider their vote as long as one of the four members that denied it makes a motion at the next board meeting, which is Tuesday.
"We make this request because we believe the applicant will be a viable contributor to the community, and likewise generate significant tax revenue and new jobs for the county," wrote Charlie Payne, an attorney with Hirschler Fleischer in Fredericksburg. "Further, the use is compatible with the deep rural character of the subject area, and will not impact surrounding property owners or the community."
The school, described as a 12- to 18-month therapeutic program for teens who have begun to rebel, is based in St. George, Utah. It is also an accredited high school, which would initially enroll 33 students and has tentatively hired 17 local employees, Payne said.
He also estimated that the school would generate about $51,000 a year in county real estate taxes and significant personal property taxes.
Supervisor Jeff Sili, whose Bowling Green district includes the school property, and Western Caroline District Supervisor Jeff Black supported the permit.
"In meeting with the school officials some time ago, I was impressed with the entire structure of the academy and felt it was a perfect fit business-wise for Caroline County including their willingness to hire local people," Sili said. "Anyone who voted against the project is free to bring it back up, and I hope they will choose to do so."
Based on comments from some senior citizens and a petition signed by neighbors of the 346-acre property who were worried about their safety, supervisors Wayne Acors, Floyd Thomas, Reggie Underwood and Calvin Taylor voted to deny the school on Aug. 14.