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K.G. rezoning request is not a 'by right' issue

Date published: 3/31/2014

At their meeting on March 18, the members of the King George County Board of Supervisors postponed a decision on a request by Walnut Hill LLC to rezone 6.7482 acres of Tax Map 9, Parcel 34, from Rural Agricultural Zoning District (A-2) to General Trade Zoning District (C-2) (Case Number 13-05-202).

This property is adjacent to the Bayberry Estates subdivision, where my family has lived since 1985.

The Board of Supervisors postponed their decision despite the fact that (1) every person who spoke during the public hearing on the issue, except Walnut Hill's operating manager, opposed the request, and (2) the members of the Planning Commission voted to recommend that the board deny the request.

The Planning Commission's recommendation to deny was unanimous.

The members of this commission were not elected by the residents of King George County; they were appointed by the Board of Supervisors. They are the board's technical advisers in the areas of planning and development.

I don't know the details of the board's relationship with the Planning Commission, but I trust that before the board decides to ignore their recommendation and approve this request, they will get and consider additional input.

Finally, it appears that this issue is a matter of property rights to some board members. Several of them have mentioned that a property owner should be allowed to do as he wishes with his property. But this is not a "by right" use of property within current zoning. It is a request to change the law. No one has an automatic right to do that. Such a change should be made only when there is a clear benefit to the people of that locality that outweighs any disadvantages.

H. Benjamin Ashton II

King George