Highland Planning Commission Considers Botkin Rezoning Request
Monterey, Va – A full house greeted the Highland County Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors at their meeting last week. Deliberations on Jacob Meck’s rezoning and conditional use permit applications for the Hooke Brothers Lumber Company site in Mill Gap were the main items of interest to members of the audience.
Following the deliberations on the Meck rezoning and conditional use request for the Hooke Brothers Lumber Company site, the Board of Supervisors adjourned their meeting and the Planning Commission took up the initial review of a rezoning request from David and Kelly Botkin for their property on Airport Terrace Road. Zoning Administrator Jim Whitelaw introduces the Botkin’s request.
“It’s a rezoning application by David Botkin; he has applied to rezone property on a town hill right outside Monterey,” says Whitelaw.
Mr. Botkin would like to rezone the R2 part of his property to A2, as he explains.
“We own 10.833 acres right here at the Airport Terrace road,” says Botkin. “As you all know we own a landscape business and a construction business; we’re getting ready to lose our lease on our landscape business right here and we need a place to put it. We also need a place to put equipment.”
So Mr. Botkin would like to move his landscape business and construction equipment onto his 10 acre property on Airport Terrace Road. The difficulty for the Planning Commission is that there are several residential properties and homes near his land. Planning Commission member Sue Cornelius addresses this problem and that is followed by comments from Mr. Botkin and Planning Commission chairman Doug Gutshall.
“But our job is to adhere to our comprehensive plan and to our zoning ordinance and it’s pretty clear that this is a residential area,” says Cornelius. “Soe you are asking us to really spot zone.”
“But how can you say that when you back up to 121 acres, and back up to 61 acres?,” asks Botkin.
“They tie into other big tracks of A2 [zoning],” says Gutshall. “That runs clear into probably C1 on Monterey mountain and the other one probably goes all the way to Vanderpool; it’s not just one little area. That land is agriculture in character as it stands, most of its farmland or timberland or what have you. And this is residential in character, that’s what we’re trying to get at.”
“So why am I paying taxes on something I can’t even use?” asks Botkin.
“You’re paying taxes on the land exactly as you bought it – R2 property,” says Gutshall.
Planning Commission members suggested that Mr. Botkin look at other zoning options in the residential category.
In other business, the Allegheny Highlands Agricultural Center has applied for a zoning variance to put a sign near the highway in front of their building. The current sign ordinance does not allow a sign to be more than five feet from the building. They are requesting that it be 60 feet from the building so it can be near Rt. 220, where it can be more easily seen by passing cars. The Planning Commission set a public hearing on this request for February 23 to include a joint meeting with the Zoning Appeals Board.