Planners seek hearings on two ordinance changes

by Sherry Hamilton - Posted on Mar 20, 2013 - 02:07 PM

The Mathews County Planning Commission, at its March meeting Tuesday night, voted to ask the board of supervisors to schedule joint public hearings on two proposed ordinance changes.

The first is a suggested change to the zoning ordinance that would add related uses to the ordinance governing sailing clubs and schools. A previous public hearing didn’t have a quorum of both boards, said John Shaw, planning and zoning director.

In addition, supervisors had a problem with the use of the term "motorless" in the proposed change, which read, "sailing, canoe, kayak, rowing and related motorless watercraft." The commission voted to eliminate the term "motorless" and hold a public hearing on the revised language. The proposed revision would use the general term "watercraft."

The second proposed public hearing would be on the ordinance governing plans of development and site plans. The bulk of the changes simplifies the ordinance and eliminates redundancies. However, one proposed change sparked conversation between supervisors and commission members during a joint work session on the proposal last month.

The proposed change would reduce the footprint for a commercial or institutional addition that could be built without a site plan from 5,000 square feet (i.e., a 50’x100’ addition) to 1,000 square feet (perhaps 25’x40’). Some supervisors were against the reduction because they said it placed an extra burden on churches and businesses that want to expand. However, those present at that meeting eventually came to the consensus that a reduction to 2,500 square feet (50’x50’) might be feasible.