Disappointingly, the Rockingham County Planning Commission voted 3-2 at their meeting this week to recommend approval of a rezoning of Agriculture Reserve land to make way for a truck stop in Mauzy.
Next, the Board of Supervisors will consider the rezoning and the special use permit (both are needed) for the truck stop at their meeting on Wednesday, August 24 at 7pm.
There will be an opportunity to submit public comments separately for the rezoning and the truck stop’s special use permit at this meeting, so please mark your calendars and plan to come prepared with two sets of comments.
The procedure at the board meeting will be that the rezoning will be considered first and then the special use permit. The rezoning will be for any hypothetical business allowed in the requested business interchange district zone. The special use permit hearing will be for the specific truck stop proposal.
We also encourage you to call each supervisor before the meeting to voice your concerns. You can find their phone numbers here.
Why should Rockingham County deny this request?
It is not consistent with Rockingham County’s comprehensive plan
- This property is located within the county’s Agricultural Reserve and reducing amount of land in Agriculture Reserve is inconsistent with the comprehensive plan.
- Rezoning a property outside an urban development area to a more intensive commercial use doesn’t align with the county’s comprehensive plan.
- Tourism and agriculture are leading economic sectors in Rockingham County. A large-scale, high intensity commercial operation doesn’t align with the type of service (small scale, local, with individual character) the comprehensive plan envisioned as compatible with a robust local tourism economy.
- The new business interchange zoning isn’t addressed at all in the comprehensive plan and it is premature to use this new zoning prior to a comprehensive plan update that will further define the community’s vision for this area of the county.
It will degrade water quality
- The property is near Smith Creek, a major tributary of the North Fork of the Shenandoah River and important source of water for our communities. For more than a decade, farmers and conservationists have worked together and invested significant resources to implement agricultural practices to restore clean water to this sensitive “showcase watershed.”
- Since there is no public sewer in this rural location, the developers are proposing a “package plant” to handle wastewater. These systems are prone to mismanagement and failure.
- Commercial development with expansive paved areas would cause a large volume of storm water runoff, carrying pollution into the nearby Smith Creek and possibly opening up new sinkholes in this heavily karst area.
Impact to rural character and neighbors
- There will be a potential increase in traffic congestion. Mixing a high intensity, heavily traveled commercial business with local traffic along Route 11, one of the major corridors for local travel, is certain to impact traffic, especially when incidents occur along the interstate.
- Light pollution, air pollution and 24- hour noise will change what is now a rural, open area of the county to an industrial use, paving the way for more intensive uses in the area in the future.