Supervisors amend chapter of Southampton County code

Published 9:51 am Wednesday, January 6, 2016

The Southampton County Board of Supervisors at its December meeting unanimously approved several amendments to the Zoning Ordinance chapter of the Southampton County Code, a result of the planning commission keeping a running tally of changes the General Assembly has made to the Code of Virginia in recent years.

“Every time the General Assembly meets they come up with new [statutes], so the planning commission has been saving up the changes that need to be made to the zoning ordinance over the years so we could do them all in bigger pieces rather than one at a time,” Deputy Director of Community Development Beth Lewis said.

Some of the recent changes include the addition of the definitions of “adult day health care center” and “temporary family health care structures,” which were both adopted by the General Assembly in 2010.

“It’s a structure like a hospital room that you can rent and put in your back yard for a person that needs it,” Lewis said of the latter definition. “It provides 24-hour care, and the general statutes are very specific to what they are and how long they can be there. When they first were adopted, they were $6,000 or $7,000 per month to rent and keep in your back yard, so it’s not something that’s going to be there for a long time. It’s not on a permanent foundation and it’s hooked up to the utilities of the main house, so it’s just a temporary stop-gap for someone who needs a little more care.”

Temporary family health care structures are now allowed in every district that permits residential dwellings.

Additionally, the definition of “agriculture” is to include aquaculture with no need for a conditional use permit; “farmers’ markets,” “wineries” and “restaurants” reflect changes to to the General Statutes to separate them from mobile vendors; and clarifications to the definitions of “lodges,” “manufactured home parks” and “manufactured home subdivisions” — which never had denotations — were amended.

“We don’t have a lot of choice in this matter,” Vice Chairman Ronald West said. “Definitions change, code changes, so we have to update them. It’s really housekeeping.”