Why are we [the county] paying this guy $18,693.20 a year?

Jeff Sili at the November 13, 2008 Board of Supervisors meeting:

Well, look what yours truly (this enterprising hate-blogger), found in five minutes of looking at the county’s web site. Caroline County Zoning Ordinance, Article XV, Section 19, Resource Sensitive Area Overlay District, Purpose and Intent (p. 15-56):

The purpose of this district is to protect and promote the public health, safety and general welfare by encouraging the most desirable development and use of land along the Route 17/Rappahannock River Valley corridor that reflects the historical development patterns within the corridor, to encourage architectural designs and land development patterns which result in functional and attractive relationships between buildings, cultural, historical, natural and scenic resources and the surrounding areas, and to preserve the agricultural use of land that dominates the corridor.

It is the intent of this district to implement the Resource Sensitive Area designation of the Comprehensive Plan.

And the Permitted Uses in the Resource Sensitive Area Overlay District, Section 19.5 (Ibid., at p. 15-57) [emphasis mine]:

All uses permitted by right or by special exception/use in the underlying zoning district(s).

And the Caroline County Comprehensive Plan, Chapter Eight – Land Use (p. 8-9 – 8-11):

RESOURCE SENSITIVE AREAS

The land bounded by the Rappahannock River, Portobago Creek, the Fort A.P. Hill Boundary and Snow Creek (collectively the “Corridor”) is an unusual, if not unique, area for a number of reasons.

The area is the location of significant wetlands. These wetlands function as habitat for numerous species, including game species and threatened or endangered species. Eagles nest along portion portions of the Corridor. The area is a watershed for the Rappahannock River, a significant tributary of the Chesapeake Bay. The Rappahannock River is an unusually scenic river that is used for recreational purposes as well as water supply.

The area has attracted people for centuries, resulting in rich archeological resources ranging from prehistoric to colonial artifacts and sites. Because so much of the area has remained in private hands through the years, these resources have remained largely untapped.

The Corridor area is separated from the balance of the County by Fort A.P. Hill, which results in the funneling of commercial traffic into other jurisdictions such as Fredericksburg and Tappahannock. Because of the planned location of a commuter station near Fredericksburg, there will be an increase in the pressure for development within the Corridor. Traditional forms of unrestricted large lot subdivision development within the Corridor have not achieved the results desired by the County.

Large lot development still require that County services be extended to the Corridor area. Fire and police protection must be provided. Schools must be provided, and school buses still must travel to the most remote ends of the County. Unrestricted large lot development often leaves control of significant archeological features in private hands as well as leaving significant environmental features controlled by individuals and often unavailable to the public. Such development has the potential for increased runoff into the river and the unregulated destruction of both the scenic natures of the river and significant habitat features such as eagle roosting trees.

Unrestricted large lot development within the Corridor will likely preclude the achievement of other goals deemed significant by the County. Farms may not be protected or preserved, they may simply be divided into large housing tracts. If overall density is kept too low within this portion of the County, then the goals of stimulating new commercial development will not be achieved and the money of County residents will continue to be spent in other jurisdictions and the accompanying tax dollars associated with such expenditures will benefit those other jurisdictions.

Finally, because development pressure generated by the proximity of the commuter rail and the beauty of the Corridor is likely to be strong, detailed planning for this area is warranted.

Consequently, the Corridor is designated a “Resource Sensitive Area” (Figure 8-9) in which the following additional objectives are to be pursued:

OBJECTIVES

Objective 1

Encourage the use of innovative designs and planning to achieve goals which may be especially important within the Corridor. Encourage the use of planned unit developments, which cluster units and permanently preserve large areas of open space. Such developments should be designed to achieve the following:

  1. To develop according to a design derived from the natural forms while striving to preserve
    existing terrain, vegetation and other natural features;
  2. To develop a mixture of private and public uses that are organized in such a way as to be compatible with each other and with surrounding areas;
  3. To develop creatively, producing an efficient network of streets, walkways, utilities, and open areas;
  4. To develop a broad range of housing types and styles;
  5. To develop communities in which the social and community interaction is encouraged through a balanced mixture of compatible uses and through the provision of public or quasi-public facilities intended to foster social interaction;
  6. To develop according to high standards of land planning and site design in order to create
    distinctive visual character and identity for integrated development;
  7. To develop so that facilities and programs reduce reliance on the private automobile as a
    means of transportation and reduce the effect of development on the transportation network; and
  8. To develop so that necessary public facilities will be available contemporaneously with occupancy of new development by its citizens.
  9. To encourage the preservation of agricultural/forestal lands by preserving open space and reducing the potential for interface problems between agricultural/forestal and nonagricultural/forestal uses.

In general, the County desires to stimulate a flexible approach to land development that encourages the comprehensive design and integration of residential, commercial, cultural and recreational uses in a manner that will achieve the greatest harmony with the existing ecological balance in the area.

Objective 2

Require any development within a Resource Sensitive Area to document its likely impact in the following areas and to mitigate such impacts through necessary on-site and off-site measures:

  • Archeological resources;
  • Wetland resources;
  • River frontage and access;
  • Drainage and water quality;
  • County infrastructure and resulting fiscal impact;
  • Botanical and Wildlife habitat with special attention to threatened or endangered species;
    and
  • Existing Agricultural or timbering operations.

In undertaking assessment of these impacts the developer should consider the impact of other existing and planned developments within the Corridor as well. The County should strive for a design concept that utilizes carefully planned communities to attract residential density into towns, which significantly reduce the resource impact of such development. These towns should be developed in a context that resists the development of immediately adjourning development for the distance necessary to accommodate any unfiltered residual impacts. Thus, significant development cannot be located immediately adjacent to areas already identified for development but instead must provide sufficient separation for full mitigation. Moreover, “infill” development must also overcome such impacts on the area’s resources. Designs, which result in substantial “greenbelts”, are to be particularly encouraged.

Objective 3

Require that all development within a Resource Sensitive Area limit the number and extent of accesses to the Rappahannock River (or any other significant adjacent waterbody) and specifically plan where public access to that waterbody may be appropriate. Development fronting upon the river should be required to reduce its visual impact on the river so that, in any event, the minimum necessary river frontage is opened or developed.

Objective 4

Recognizing that the studies required for development within the Resource Sensitive Area, the reservation of substantial open spaces and the limitations on development necessary to adequately protect the resource area are sometimes expensive, the County should, in cases where it is appropriate to do so, permit developments meeting the objectives set forth herein, but only when such development independent of other County revenues, generate sufficient revenues to provide the infrastructure necessary for support of such density, including but not limited to, adequate water and sewer facilities, public roads, and sites for schools and other municipal facilities.

Objective 5

Because of the importance of achieving the objectives set forth for the Resource Sensitive Area, developers should be encouraged to proffer resource related mitigation measures and to commit in detail to the parameters of any proposed development.

Objective 6

Encourage the “scenic” designation of Tidewater Trail (Route 17) in order to preserve its natural charm, beauty and historic character. The County recognizes, however, that Route 17 is a primary transportation link to Tidewater Virginia. As such, this road must continue to be used by all types of vehicles, including trucks and other commercial vehicles.

The goals and objectives set forth in this section are to be applicable to residential development and commercial uses, such as fast food restaurants, convenience stores or other commercial uses arising from residential development. These goals and objectives shall not be applied to, other commercial uses arising from residential development. These goals and objectives shall not be applied to, otherwise limit or interfere with, any use, such as agriculture, silviculture, horticulture or sand and gravel extraction operations, permitted by right or by special exception within the zoning district in the Corridor.

Especially note part of the last paragraph: “These goals and objectives shall not be applied to, otherwise limit or interfere with, any use, such as agriculture, silviculture, horticulture or sand and gravel extraction operations, permitted by right or by special exception within the zoning district in the Corridor.

Nice to see Jeff Sili is doing his job!

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