Supervisors need to understand what they’re considering
After reading the March 30, 2022 letter to the editor from Arlene Boyd titled “Let the Supervisors do their job,” regarding the Zoning Text Amendment being considered for a Convenience Store, Highway (aka truck stop), I’d like to believe this is true.
In order to believe they will do what is best for the county I would have expected them to thoroughly understand what they are approving. That should have led to at least a schematic site plan(s) being prepared for the 162 exit or all the exits where this would be allowed. Additional standards should be added to the proposed text amendment to address the numerous impacts such a large, industrial type use would have on the surrounding rural area. Waiting to address these concerns until the Special Exception Permit will be much harder to enforce once the zoning is in place to allow the use.
Examples of specific standards for this use in the text amendment are:
- The use must be connected to public water and sewer (environmental and fire safety concerns).
- Traffic study shall include I-81 and Rt. 11 interchange and surrounding streets. Any traffic mitigation identified in the study will be operational prior to the issuance of a Certificate of Occupancy for the business. (traffic safety concern).
- Development should include a police substation funded by the developer (crime and safety concerns).
- An ambient noise study shall be done and overlaid with the increased noise from the use. Any increase in noise to the surrounding residential areas will be addressed to maintain current noise levels; similar studies for light and air quality (environmental and quality of life concerns).
This type of detailed analysis of the proposed zoning amendment may tax the current county Planning staff beyond capacity. These are complex issues. The county Planning Commission/ Board of Supervisors could have Vakos Company, the developer who requested this zoning amendment, pay for the county to hire a consultant to help craft the additional standards.
None of this was considered, yet the Board of Supervisors is ready and willing to consider this use again at a hearing in April or May. I can only hope that their votes on this Zoning Text Amendment for Convenience Store, Highway (aka truck stop) prove they have the best interest of the community in mind.