Developers in Warren County are proposing the construction of a Sheetz gas station at Exit 13 on I-66. The project, proposed along the Northern side of the highway, calls for the removal of a large portion of a forest currently acting as an agricultural buffer zone between the interstate and the Apple Mountain residential community. The proposed site of the gas station is zoned for Agricultural use, and the Future Land Use map in the Warren County Comprehensive Plan also dictates that the site remain agricultural.
The Warren County Planning Commission’s initial discussion of the developer’s request to change the zoning of the site from agricultural to commercial was on the agenda for the meeting Thursday, November 12th. The Planning Commission is scheduled to hold a public hearing on the proposal at the January 13th meeting.
The Alliance shares many community members’ concerns over the loss of agriculturally zoned land in Warren County. The Alliance submitted the following letter to the Warren County Planning Department in response to the proposed project:
Dear Ms. Logan,
The Alliance for the Shenandoah Valley is concerned about the proposed Sheetz gas station at Exit 13, Interstate 66 in Linden.
As a local organization encouraging good land-use decisions, we support the community’s vision included in the comprehensive plan. A stated goal of the Warren County comprehensive plan is to preserve the County’s rural character by preserving open space, as well as agricultural and forest lands. The location where the gas station is proposed is zoned for agricultural use, requiring a rezoning to accommodate the gas station and therefore removing land from potential farming operations and impacting the rural character.
The infrastructure needed to build the gas station would increase the likelihood of additional commercial development in that area. The current zoning maps show that the commercial zone is designated for the eastbound side of I-66 and not the westbound side where the Sheetz is proposed.
In addition, a gas station in that area could negatively impact sensitive wetlands and water quality, resulting in pollution entering Manassas Run and the Shenandoah River.
We urge careful consideration of this rezoning request for a Sheetz gas station at the proposed site. The Alliance for the Shenandoah Valley advocates, educates, and connects people to conserve the natural resources, cultural heritage, and rural character of our region.
Thank you for your consideration.
Page and Warren County Coordinator
Alliance for the Shenandoah Valley