Highland BZA Denies Sign Variance Application

The Highland County Board of Zoning Appeals has denied the sign variance application from the proposed Family Dollar store in Monterey.  At it’s meeting on August 26, BZA members voted unanimously to deny the application.   The variance was a request for larger signs and an illuminated sign along the road.   With the denial of the application, Family Dollar will be bound by the town’s ordinance, which does not allow an illuminated sign and requires a smaller size.

BZA Chairman Aaron Sponaugle said the Dollar General store was not granted a variance and it was not fair to other business that came before that weren’t allowed a variance.  He also said no one spoke in favor of the variance at the public hearing in July.   He felt this decision would not hurt the business, since it will be very visible, located on the corner in Monterey.  When making the motion to deny the variance, he added that it did not meet requirements of section 806 of the Highland County Zoning Ordinance.

Zoning Administrator Josh Simmons said this application was the worst variance application he’s had.  He said there would be no hardship on the applicant at all to go with the town’s ordinance.

The BZA held it’s public hearing on the application last month and tabled action on it then.  At that time, the owner listed on the application did not own the property yet.  And the sign company, Atlantic Coast Signs, submitted the application when it should have been submitted by the property owner.

At the recent meeting, County Attorney Melissa Dowd said the application had been corrected, with the landowner’s name, and the deed had been recorded.  The name correction was the only thing changed on the application.   She also explained that the property does not meet the usual criteria suitable for a variance request.

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Bonnie Ralston

Bonnie Ralston is the Assistant Station Coordinator at WVLS and a Highland County news reporter. She began volunteering at Allegheny Mountain Radio in the fall of 2005. In 2006 she became an AMR employee and worked in Bath County for eight years as the WCHG Station Coordinator and then as the news reporter there. She began working in radio while in college and has stayed connected to radio, in one way or another, for more than thirty years. She grew up in Staunton, Virginia, while spending a lot of time on her family’s farm in Deerfield, Virginia. She enjoys spending time outside, watching old TV shows and movies and tending to her chickens.

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