WINCHESTER â Conditional-use permit requests for a proposed wedding event center and a dog kennel drew protests from neighbors at Wednesday nightâs Planning Commission meeting.
Commissioners voted 8-3 to recommend that the Frederick County Board of Supervisors approve a conditional-use permit (CUP) for a special event facility at 233 Burnt Factory Road in Stephenson. The 45-acre property is 0.5 miles north of Berryville Pike (Va. 7) and south of Pine Road (Route 661).
Planning Commission Chairman Kevin Kenney and members Charles Triplett and Christopher Mohn voted against the request.
A CUP is a zoning exception that allows a landowner to use property in a way thatâs not permitted in a particular zoning district.
Carrie Myers and Matthew Gambino, who live on the property, want to establish a facility that could be used for weddings. However, a CUP also would allow business meetings, birthday parties, showers, reunions and other events.
The site would be accessed by a private entrance off Burnt Factory Road, but the Virginia Department of Transportation said the existing entrance does not provide adequate sight distance for the proposed event venue. VDOT has recommended that existing trees and other plants be removed to fix the problem, or possibly relocate the entrance.
The property currently has a historic federalist-style, single-family detached home, a detached garage and a tennis court. Myers and Gambino intend to use temporary tents to house the special events. During the events, portable restroom facilities would be provided, and food would be prepared via catering trucks, cook outs or off-site preparation.
The conditions of the permit include getting VDOTâs approval on a site plan for a commercial entrance to the property and limiting the number of people who can attend an event to 200.
Several neighbors spoke against the permit, fearing the center would negatively impact the areaâs quiet, calm character. They said they were worried about noise, heavy traffic on Pine Road and intoxicated people leaving events.
To ease some of their concerns, Myers and Gambio agreed to add a condition to the permit that would allow them to host only two events a week between Friday and Sunday. They also agreed to host events from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. instead of midnight. Music must stop by 10 p.m.
The permit will come before the Board of Supervisors on Oct. 10.
Kennel permit request denied
A CUP request from county resident Diana Kilmer for a dog kennel that could house up to 36 dogs was denied unanimously by the commissioners.
Kilmer wanted to establish the kennel on her property at 161 Sorrel Lane, a private road off Airport Road east of Winchester. She proposed constructing two 1,500-square-foot kennel buildings that would be enclosed in a fenced area on the left side of her 5-acre property.
The permit would have required all dogs to be confined indoors by 9 p.m., though Kilmer said she would like to let the dogs out for a âpotty callâ sometime between 9:45 and 10 p.m. and around 6 a.m. The CUP would have allowed the kennelâs public hours of operation to be from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Another condition stated that all dogs needed to be controlled so that they would not create a nuisance for any adjoining properties by roaming free or barking.
Several of Kilmerâs neighbors said they did not believe she would be able to prevent that many dogs from barking and disturbing the peace. Some also feared that Kilmer would not be able to adequately dispose of the dog excrement and that a kennel would result in their property values going down. They also complained about the potential burden of dealing with increased traffic on a privately-maintained road. One resident said the kennel would be âdestructible to all who live nearby.â
Commission member Greg Unger said there was âno wayâ he could support approving an application for 36 dogs on a 5-acre site. Gary Oates said he felt it was a commercial use on a private road. Commissioner Roger Thomas said 36 dogs was too intense of a use for a 5-acre property and said he couldnât support a permit allowing more than four to six dogs.
âHorses and donkeys make noise, but they probably are not as annoying as 36 dogs barking,â Thomas said.
Also at the meeting, commissioners voted unanimously to postpone voting on a CUP that would allow a 9,100-square-foot Dollar General to be built at 4736 North Frederick Pike. The store would create eight to 10 jobs.
If approved, the store would be allowed to operate from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. VDOT is currently doing an analysis of the intersection of North Frederick Pike (U.S. 522) and Gainesboro Road (Route 684). A condition of the permit states that VDOT would need to approve a site plan submitted by the applicant of the CUP addressing any intersection and signalization improvements.
While the commission was supportive of bringing a Dollar General to that area of the county, most of the members felt it would be more appropriate to get the project approved through a rezoning application and not a CUP.
Rezoning the land would permanently change what the site could be used for. Thomas warned representatives of Dollar General that a CUP can be revoked if the store violates any of the conditions of the permit.
Commission member Kay Dawson reminded the other members that they still donât have the results of VDOTâs traffic study that would determine the impact of the the store on that part of the county.
The commission decided to postpone voting on the issue for 90 days.
Attending the meeting at the Frederick County Administration Building at 107 N. Kent St. were Chairman Kevin Kenney and commissioners Lawrence Ambrogi, William Cline, Gary Oates, Kay Dawson, Rhodes Marston, Charles Triplett, Roger Thomas, Paige Manuel, Christopher Mohn and Greg Unger. Robert Molden was absent.