Supervisors table rezoning of medical transport business, open line of credit

Published 10:46 am Monday, January 23, 2017

Windsor District residents Preston and Valerie Artis can continue to operate their non-emergency medical transport business out of their home… for now.

That was the decision of the Isle of Wight County Board of Supervisors, who voted to table the couple’s request for rezoning following the conclusion of a public hearing on the matter, which took place during the board’s January meeting on Thursday.

The Artises first presented their request to Isle of Wight’s Planning Commission in December 2016 after it was discovered that their operation, which uses eight vans and employs multiple drivers,  was in violation of two county ordinances pertaining to home businesses. According to the Isle of Wight County Code, “the type and volume of traffic generated by a home occupation shall be consistent with the traffic generation characteristics of other dwellings in the area” and only “one person who is not a permanent resident of the dwelling may be engaged or employed in the home occupation.”

The Planning Commission recommended that the board deny the Artis’ request, but during the public hearing, numerous residents spoke out in favor of allowing the business to continue operating.

“All they’re asking to do is park their vehicles,” said Christine Rankin, who lives on Muddy Cross Drive near the Artises.

According to board Chairman Rex Alphin, the board had already asked county staff to reword the county’s zoning ordinances so that businesses like the Artis’ are permissible following the vote of the Planning Commission last December, which was why the board voted to take no action on the matter until the next Planning Commission meeting, at which time the proposed changes to the law will be presented.

The board also held two other public hearings that evening: one concerning the request of Carrollton residents Bryan and Amanda Boyes for an exception to the county’s Chesapeake Bay Preservation Area ordinance to build a two-bedroom, one-bathroom extension with a covered wooden deck onto their home on Laurelwood Drive, and another to open a $6.5 million line of credit with Bank of America for the repayment of overcharged machinery and tools taxes to county businesses that were collected during fiscal years 2013 through 2015. Both motions passed unanimously following no citizen comments for or against during the hearings.

The need for the line of credit stems from changes to the way the county now collects its machinery and tools taxes, which used to assess the taxable value of machinery at 100 percent of its value, but now assesses values at 60 percent.

According to Alphin, the county has sufficient funds to repay the overcharges, but doing so could cause the county’s account balance to drop low enough to affect the county’s bond rating.

“We’ll only use it as needed,” Alphin said. “We gave ourselves a cushion there just for comfort’s sake.”

In other business conducted during the meeting, the board voted unanimously to give the Rushmere Volunteer Fire Department $9,472 to pay for repairs to one of their fire trucks. They also voted to pass a resolution in support of naming the new Carrsville bridge, and to table the debate over chicken raising once again until the next Planning Commission meeting.

The resolution in support of the board naming the bridge will be sent to the Commonwealth Transportation Board, which has authority over the naming of streets and bridges in Virginia. If the Transportation Board approves the resolution, the Board of Supervisors will name the new Carrsville bridge the Carrsville Community Memorial Bridge.

According to Alphin, the chicken debate was tabled again because county staff have drafted changes to the county’s ordinances pertaining to the raising of chickens and other poultry, which will be presented at the next Planning Commission meeting, and then will come back to the Board of Supervisors for a vote following a public hearing.

The board also made the following appointments to various boards and commissions.

Richard Matthews was appointed to represent the Windsor District on the water-sewer task force. Daryl Butler was also appointed to the water-sewer task force to represent the Carrsville District.

Board member William McCarty was appointed to the OppInc board and Roderick Holland was appointed to Paul D. Camp Community College’s board. All appointments were approved unanimously.

The next Isle of Wight County Board of Supervisors meeting will be held on Feb. 2 at 5 p.m. The next Planning Commission meeting, at which several revised county ordinances will be presented, will be held Feb. 28 at 6 p.m.