The Botetourt Board of Supervisors voted 3-1 with one abstention on four different motions that will allow a Sheetz convenience store and car wash to locate on the corner of US 220 and Catabwa Road in Daleville.
The vote came as a continued agenda item last Tuesday evening when the board took up the requests for two rezonings and two special exceptions permits (SEPs) involving four properties on that corner.
For the third time, the board meeting room was filled with residents, many with 8.5×11 printed paper sheets asking the board to reject the rezonings and SEPs that would allow the Sheetz.
Following a public hearing in November, the supervisors agreed to delay a decision on the zoning requests until new proffers offered by the developer could be reviewed by the Planning and Zoning staff.
Planner Drew Pearson outlined those proffers that included Sheetz agreeing to extend the left-turn lane on US 220 onto Catawba Road and to provide the dedicated right-turn lane on Catawba Road onto US 220 south. The developer for Sheetz had already proffered to provide the needed right-of-way for the dedicated turn lane.
Pearson told the supervisors the off-site proffers did not conflict with Sheetz’s original site plan.
Jayson Clapp, Traffic Engineer with Ramey Kemp and Associates, the consultant for the developers, told the supervisors that his firm had done some follow-up analysis, and the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) concurred. His analysis said with the added capacity in the extended left-turn lane on US 220 and the dedicated right-turn lane on Catawba Road “approach delays as well as the overall intersection delays are expected to decrease during the weekday AM and PM peak hours when compared to the original traffic analysis with the proposed Sheetz.”
Amsterdam District Supervisor Steve Clinton took issue with Clapp’s analysis and VDOT’s concurrence.
He said Clapp’s analysis was general and not “quantitative,” but Clapp said data in the analysis did indicate the turn lane work will improve the intersection.
Clinton then asked the board to open up the meeting to public comment again, but Chairman Jack Leffel said the public hearing was closed following public comments at the November meeting and it would require more public notice to open it back up.
“I object to that in the most strenuous terms,” Clinton told Leffel. He argued that the board has two new members since the public hearing and the issue has dominated public discussion on either side, and not allowing more public comment would “disenfranchise people.”
Leffel said many people talked at the board’s public hearing and the public hearing on the zoning issue at November’s Planning Commission meeting.
At that point, Leffel made a motion to approve one of the rezoning requests, and received a second from Supervisor Billy Martin.
At the same time as Martin’s second, Clinton made a “privileged motion” to table the issue.
That prompted some discussion about which was first and after deferring to County Attorney Michael Lockaby, the board’s parliamentarian, he said Clinton’s privileged motion was not the proper type of motion.
After going through the process again, Clinton made a subsidiary motion to table the issue. That motion failed 2-3 without discussion as required under the Rules of Order.
That returned the matter to Leffel’s first motion to approve one rezoning with the proffers for adding the turn lanes, which then allowed discussion.
Supervisor Mac Scothorn, who wound up abstaining from voting on all four zoning motions regarding the Sheetz project, asked that a committee be appointed to look more in depth at the intersection that also includes Valley Road and how to deal with it.
“If (Sheetz) goes there or doesn’t go there, we need to take a look at the whole intersection,” he said in his explanation.
He said he was abstaining for further study because he didn’t feel like he had enough information.
Clinton said nothing he’s seen in the zoning applications and traffic analysis made him believe having a Sheetz on that corner was going to be safe.
He said the county’s traffic study of the intersection pointed out a number of deficiencies in the intersection and “we didn’t do anything about them.”
He said he felt the engineering report was inadequate.
Leffel said he believes the project will be an improvement. “It will certainly make the corner look better and I believe it will improve traffic,” he said.
He pointed to the county’s efforts to build the business community and the conflicting message issues like this present. “On the one hand, we say we want to grow Botetourt, but on the other hand we say we don’t want you.”
Martin reviewed the downturn in the economy and the county’s efforts the past few years to counter the lack of growth, and the more recent success with landing industry and trying to improve housing possibilities for those new jobs.
He said the county asked for help to bring more growth to the county, and the community responded.
He said at the public hearings on the Sheetz proposal, there were many objections.
“First was why this site? There’s no backup site,” he said.
People argued the project wasn’t in conformance. “It is in conformance with the Comprehensive Plan,” he continued.
He said concerns about stormwater are addressed by staff and the Department of Environmental Quality.
Concern about tractor-trailers was brought up. He said Sheetz will not have high-volume diesel pumps, so tractor-trailers won’t be able to fuel there.
He said lighting concerns are addressed by the county’s ordinances and by Sheetz.
Concern about noise at the dumpster was addressed by Sheetz by limiting when they can be serviced, and concerns about car wash noise are also addressed by Sheetz.
He said Sheetz addressed right-of-way issues, and is providing a dedicated right-turn lane and extending the US 220 left-turn lane at a cost of $1.5 million. And, he said, Sheetz is moving the property entrance from Catawba Road further away from the US 220 intersection.
He said there were concerns about jobs being lost. “Sheetz is adding jobs, too,” he said.
He said worries that Sheetz would advertise on I-81 were addressed when Sheetz agreed not to have signs on the interstate.
“Now we’re saying we like Sheetz but not the location… Sheetz has done their due diligence and agreed to the things we’ve asked. Other businesses could move in and not get the road built,” Martin said.
Clinton challenged Martin by saying he’d “sailed past the issue of traffic safety…. The issue we can’t hide from is traffic safety,” Clinton said.
Supervisor Ray Sloan, who like Clinton was seated for his first meeting since being elected last fall, said he’s gotten different opinions about the project.
“With my history with fire and rescue, safety is important,” he said. “We have the opportunity to make this better.”
He said if the project was stopped, anything can come in without any change to the roads. He said the county is still looking toward other improvements and will be working with VDOT. “It’s not like the last time we’ll look at it,” he said. Plus, he said he supports free enterprise.
He, Martin and Leffel voted in favor of the zoning changes four times on the four motions needed to approve the project. Those included two motions to rezone two small parcels owned by Botetourt Warehouse Associates LLC and the Estate of Barbara H. Goad from Industrial M-1 to Business B-2, with the proffers for road improvements, and for the two motions for the two special exceptions permits with conditions needed to build a convenience store and a car wash on B-2 zoned property. The SEPs were needed for the childcare facility property owned by Bradberry Company that is at the rear of the R&R Holdings property that lies directly on the corner.
Much of the public attending the meeting started heading to the hallway at Greenfield Education and Training Center as the first vote to approve the first rezoning passed 3-1-1.