Planning OKs application for VAF district

Published 1:19 pm Saturday, August 12, 2017

The Southampton County Planning Commission during Thursday’s meeting gave unanimous recommendation to the first applicant for inclusion in the Voluntary Agriculture and Forestry District.

This was made by the Lloyd A. Applewhite Jr., Gregory A. Applewhite and Lloyd Applewhite Irrevocable Trust for four parcels of land, which are located on the south side of Indian Woods Trails (Route 652).

Applewhite Jr. told the panel that the farm has been in the family since 1873, and the grandson is the sixth-consecutive generation to work on the land.

The goal of the districts is to preserve and protect agriculture and forestry for future generations, such as the Applewhites are doing.

“I’m so proud of the family,” said the commission chairman Michael Drake with enthusiasm. “You’ll be noted for a landmark decision.”

A rezoning map amendment also got approval in another public hearing. This was for Robert Clark of R.M. Clark Farm, Ivor, LLC, which requested the RZA from A-1, agricultural to CCR, conditional rural residential, for a five-acre portion. This land is located on the west size of Wakefield Road (Route 628) about 5,200 feet north of its intersection with Urquhart Quarter Road (Route 607).

The commissioners also concluded unfinished business by granting the application by Virginia Electric and Power Company apply for a conditional use permit for 190-foot microwave tower. That will be located at the existing Boykins Substation property at 31017 Meherrin Road in Boykins.

For the nearly the rest of the meeting, discussion went back and forth about the proposed utility scale solar ordinance. The issue of decommissioning — the removal of solar panels after they’ve worn out or the service is no longer needed — was of particular concern. The commissioners asked about what procedure and especially the costs will be in 20 or 30 years from when they’re established.

Ultimately, the members decided to review everything again before scheduling a public hearing.

Glenn Updike of Newsoms, speaking during the public comment period, urged the commissioners to inform the residents in their respective districts about the referendum this fall.

The issue that will face voters is whether or not to authorize the Southampton County Board of Supervisors to spend $26 million to build a new courthouse on Camp Parkway.

Updike also asked them to consider what would be the adverse economic effects if a new courthouse were to be built.

There is a community meeting on the issue scheduled for Tuesday, Aug. 22. County residents are invited to share their thoughts and concerns about the referendum in the Boykins Firehouse, 18139 N. Railroad Ave. For details, contact Mike Johnson, county administrator, at 653-3015 or