, 2014


White Stone Town Council
approves rezoning request;
clearing hurdle for a car wash

by Lisa Hinton-Valdrighi

WHITE STONE—Ninety-year-old Mary Kenner Dolby of White Stone said she can’t and won’t live next to a car wash.

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“Would either one of you have a car wash next to your 90-year-old mother. Please tell me,” said Dolby, raising her voice as she questioned White Stone Town Council members February 6. “Because I can’t live next to a car wash.”

Despite her pleas and opposition from about two dozen area residents, council narrowly passed a request, 4-3, to rezone a nearly half-acre parcel on Rappahannock Drive from residential to commercial. The request came from Hurst Harvey Oil Company on behalf of owner Virginia Jodon, in order to locate an automated car wash on the property.

The application process began in December when the town’s planning commission voted unanimously, 3-0, to recommend approval of the request. Council held a public hearing in January but tabled a decision until last week’s meeting. The delay allowed Hurst Harvey to address some of the residents’ concerns about noise, hours of operation, loitering and buffering.

Decision making

Randy Reeves made the motion to approve the rezoning request, including 11 proffers offered by Hurst Harvey. David Jones seconded the motion, which was passed by Reeves, Jones, Jennifer Hodges and William Hubbard. Council members Blair Kenyon, Joe Sliakis and Irving Brittingham voted against the rezoning.

Simply rezoning the parcel does not guarantee a car wash will be located there, said town manager Patrick Frere.

To operate a car wash on the property, Hurst Harvey will also need approval of a Chesapeake Bay site plan, an erosion/sediment control plan and a storm water management plan, along with a Virginia Department of Transportation-approved commercial entrance, health department permit and town zoning permit, said Frere. Parking and buffering requirements would also have to be met.

Prior to the vote, Kenyon said a company like Hurst Harvey probably “has [its] ducks in a row” and “we are the first step.”

Jones, however, reiterated what he had said at last month’s meeting and the sentiment voiced by planning commissioner Paul Elbourn in December. “At the end of the day, we are discussing rezoning,” said Jones, meaning council was not voting on a car wash but whether is was logical to rezone that particular property from residential to commercial.

The .465-acre parcel in question is the last property on the southern tip of town limits and is adjacent to White Stone Family Practice. Although it is bordered on two sides by residential properties, the parcels along Rappahannock Drive leading to the property are all commercial.

“I have seen car washes in residential areas but not ones that butt up against residential properties,” said Brittingham. Instead, he said he would like to see “a business that is compatible to a residential area, and a car wash is not compatible.”

A car wash, however, is one of the approved uses under White Stone’s commercial, C-1, classification.

“The problem is in small towns like White Stone, Irvington and Kilmarnock, so much residential and commercial press against each other all the time,” said Jones.

Citizen concerns

Although the public hearing was closed at the end of the January meeting, council did entertain audience input before last Thursday’s vote.

Valerie Rich of White Stone said, “They said it’s going to be a car wash but once it’s rezoned, it can be a garage or adult porno store. You can’t stop it. Who’s going to stop it?”

Jones assured Rich, “A porno store is not allowed in White Stone.” Frere explained that an adult bookstore is “not a use that is allowed in the town.”

Still Rich pleaded, “Please do not let our concerns fall on deaf ears.”

Resident Roy Carter also restated points he made previously in opposition and clarified his noise concern is not about music coming from cars or boom boxes but about the actual noise made by the large dryers at the car wash.

Rich also was concerned by the change in zoning and asked, “Where will it stop?” She questioned if zoning is changed from residential to commercial there then it could be changed in other areas of town.

Surveyor Charles Pruett, who is working with Hurst Harvey Oil, said the rezoning is not an example of “spot zoning,” but involves an area slated for development in the town’s comprehensive plan. Pruett said the time for residents to voice concerns about zoning issues is when the comprehensive plan is being discussed.

Sliakis, who was not in favor of the zoning change, said in residential areas of town, residents are protected and have homes on either side. Putting a car wash next to a residential area is a bad idea, he added.

“We have to look out for these people,” said Sliakis.

Among citizen concerns at last month’s public hearing were noise, safety issues, increased traffic, water runoff, aesthetic issues and hours of operation.

Proffers

To address the concerns, Hurst Harvey Oil offered proffers which included a vegetated buffer and a stockade fence adjacent to adjoining residential properties; surveillance of the area 24 hours a day, seven days a week; outside lighting directed away from residences; daily closure at 10 p.m.; daily trash removal, and the report of loitering or loud music to town police.

Additionally, Hurst Harvey will provide a 30-foot commercial entrance as required by VDOT and a storm water management plan in order to mitigate the additional run-off created. The storm water management area will adhere to the Chesapeake Bay Act’s best management practices. Run-off from the car wash also will be diverted to a 5,000-gallon storage tank and a portion of the water will be recycled with the remainder to be removed from the site to an approved facility.


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