Planning to hear zoning map amendment

Published 6:39 pm Tuesday, October 8, 2019


The Southampton County Planning Commission has scheduled a public hearing this Thursday at 7:30 p.m. for a zoning map amendment which, if ultimately approved by the supervisors, could enable the County to expand its industrial park offerings when required.

Jay Brenchick, the president and CEO of Franklin-Southampton Economic Development Inc., is serving as the applicant on behalf of property owners Paul Thomas and Patricia Beale Milteer and Thomas Hart Milteer.

The total amount of land, split among three tax parcels (92-17; 92-54; and 92-55) measures 242.78 acres, and is contained within the Franklin magisterial and voting districts. It is bordered by both sides of Rose Valley Road, about 1,200 feet southeast of its intersection with General Thomas Highway, across from Rose Valley Road from the Enviva pellet plant.

As noted in the commission’s packet, the amendment would rezone an A-1, Agricultural District to CM-2, Conditional General Industrial for general light industrial uses. To the north is M-1, limited industrial district; south is A-1, agricultural district; east is R-1, residential district and A-1; and west, M-2, general industrial district.

The analysis notes that the aforementioned property has a Comprehensive Plan designation of industrial, so the requested rezoning would be appropriate with that plan. That designation has been reserved for commercial and industrial since 1988.

Although a concept site plan was submitted to have lots ranging from approximately two acres to about 17 acres, the County reportedly plans for that property to be developed as a whole or maybe even two sites divided by Rose Valley Road.

The search has begun for a company that could use the whole parcel instead of the many entities as shown in the map.

The County has, according to the packet information, entered an option agreement with the land owners to buy the property and develop a prospective industrial development site in order “to expand the County’s current industrial park offering when a user is available.”

Further, the application includes all of the permitted uses in the M-2 zoning except commercial and office-type uses. Exceptions would include banks, retail stores, dental or medical clinics, and any type of restaurant or drive-in .

As for utilities, when the property develops, then it will do so with County water and sewage. Electricity would come through overhead lines; gas lines are also in the area.

The Virginia Department of Transportation has questions about when road improvements would be done and who would pay. There are no potential uses now, but should that occur, then a traffic study would be required.

The weakness of the application is a loss of productive farmland should the application be OK’d and development occur.

A strength of the application includes the County’s pro-active stance in readying property for an industrial user, which will make development progress more quickly when a buyer is found.