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Orange OKs retail nursery, commercial rezoning
BY DAN McFARLAND
Orange County supervisors have approved a special-use permit for a retail nursery in Somerset and a commercial rezoning for a tract along State Route 20.
Grelen Nursery, at 15111 Yager Road, has been operating in the county for 21 years. With 35 full-time employees and a $1.3 million payroll, it is one of the county's top five agricultural employers, Grelen President Dan Gregg told supervisors Tuesday night.
The company sought a permit to operate The Market at Grelen Nursery on 5 acres of its 6,000-acre site, selling plants, gardening accessories, gifts and books. Four people spoke at the public hearing at Grelen's request, all supporting it.
Two of them were Kent and Evie Woods, owners of Liberty Mills Farm in the Somerset area. Their 2011 application for a special-use permit for a farm market was approved, but with conditions limiting its size to 2,000 square feet and its products to only those grown on site.
"[Mr. Gregg] is requesting many of the same things we requested a year and a half ago, that you denied to us," Evie Woods said. "We hope that you will grant them to him, and then also that you will grant them to us."
Kent Woods said he didn't know if they would be able to stay in business another year without the restrictions being eased.
"You need to have a value-added product to make it a viable business," he said. "We'd like to try to make it. I don't know if we can, but we'd like a shot at it."
Supervisor Lee Frame asked that one provision offered by Gregg--that special events held on site would have no amplified music--be included in the written conditions attached to the permit. After Supervisor Shannon Abbs tried unsuccessfully to persuade fellow supervisors to include limits on foods sold to those having ingredients raised on site, the permit was approved 4-0, with Abbs abstaining.