Sunday, November 23, 2014
Coming home to roost
Chickens, that is, if a zoning ordinance amendment wending its way to the Goochland Board of Supervisors is approved.
The Planning Commission, at its November 6 meeting, recommended approval of the amendment, which allows up to six chickens—no roosters--in areas zoned rural residential and rural preservation. The ordinance refers specifically to chickens, and does not include any other kind of fowl.
According to Assistant County Attorney Whitney Marshall, restrictive covenants take precedence over county ordinances. So, if your subdivision does not permit chickens now, the ordinance does not change anything.
The chickens may not trespass beyond property lines; chicken enclosures must be at least ten feet from the property line, 50 feet from a dwelling on an adjacent lot and must be located behind the front building line of a dwelling unit. Coops shall be well-ventilated and kept in a clean, dry, and sanitary manner. Manure shall not be allowed to create a nuisance or health hazard to adjoining property owners. Outdoor slaughtering of chickens is prohibited.
Other ordinance changes recommended for approval by the Commissioners addressed easing regulations for small agribusinesses located on a farm, not related to other businesses.
The relaxed plan of development procedure includes lower fees, but requires adherence to regulations to promote the health, safety, and welfare of the citizens. For complete wording, see the November 6 Planning Commissions packet available on the county website www.co.goochland.va.us) The Supervisors will vote on the amendments at a future meeting.
In other developments:
Taco Bell—the Goochland Design Review Committee met with representatives of franchisee Burger Busters and Taco Bell corporate on November 20 to review the structure proposed for the parcel to the immediate west of McDonald’s in Centerville.
The Board of Supervisors deferred a decision on a conditional use permit for this enterprise until the DRC reviewed the application and either rejected or issued a certificate of approval signifying that it complies with the Centerville Village overlay design standards.
Following about 90 minutes of presentation and discussion, the DRC voted to defer a decision until January. At that time, the applicant Burgerbusters will present revised elevations, landscape, and lighting plans to reflect mutually acceptable changes.
Other facets, including metal elements on the façade, and alternatives to “purple glow” exterior lighting, characterized as part of the Taco Bell “branding” will be reviewed by corporate entities.
The DRC is charged only with the exterior of structures in overlay districts. It cannot address the use of a parcel or zoning issues.
Paul Costello, DRC chair, has, in the past--speaking as a private citizen--raised objections to flat roofs on new buildings in Centerville, including Goodwill, McDonald’s, and Acme Stove. Costello has contended that flat roofs do not have a residential feel appropriate to a village. The proposed Taco Bell has a flat roof.
The Board of Supervisors has the final say on the CUP application. Although some newcomers to Centerville have strenuously objected to another fast food emporium in Centerville, the intended use of outparcels of Broadview Shopping Center for fast food was clearly expressed well before the new subdivisions were built. Indeed, some of the funding for the new traffic signal at Hockett and Broad resulted from a zoning change there.
The hodgepodge of buildings in Centerville resulted from landowners willing to invest their money and taking a chance that businesses there might be successful--some were many weren’t. Uses of those buildings have changed over the years. The buildings that are touted as “residential” in character are a little tired and could well be torn down to make way for the next best thing. That is how villages and cities evolve; they do not fall fully formed from the sky.
This is not a condition unique to Centerville. The charming bank building at the corner of Pouncey Tract and Broad in Short Pump had a peaked roof and a residential flavor. Vacated by a bank consolidation, it was on the market for years. Finally, it was torn down and replaced with a standard Walgreen’s, complete with a flat roof.
Market forces, funded by private--not government--dollars ultimately decide how land is developed. It’s the job of local government, in collaboration with citizens, to create an environment that attracts private investment. Chickens, easier rules for agribusiness, and Taco Bell, are all part of the process.