Warren County is considering a rezoning request that, if approved from agricultural to suburban residential and commercial, could allow 286 new single-family homes in rural Rockland, an area surrounded by gorgeous and productive farmland.
The proposal is for an age-restricted housing development which is allowed by-right in areas zoned suburban residential. A sit-down restaurant open to the public, up to four lodging units and other associated uses is planned for the 12 acres of commercial land.
The community held an informational meeting on May 4 to discuss the rezoning and what it would mean for Rockland. Of the 100+ citizens who attended, we heard many concerns related to increased traffic problems including an increase in difficulty of emergency response, loss of the rural, historical and agricultural community, and concerns over water quality and quantity.
This proposal also goes against the comprehensive plan:
- The area is zoned for agriculture, not dense residential development.
- The comp plan includes the goal ‘to direct future development into an efficient and serviceable form that will preserve the County’s predominately rural character’. Rezoning from ag to suburban residential and commercial does not meet this goal.
- The future land use map intends for the Rockland area to remain in agriculture.
- The area is not served by municipal water and sewer and the comp plan clearly states that development should be directed towards Front Royal or villages that are served by adequate public facilities like roads, sewer and water.
Rockland has three designations acknowledging the rich history and commitment to agriculture:
- Rural Historic District – Rockland is one of only 37 such districts recognized for significant history and landscape
- Ag-Forestal District – Rockland is the oldest ag-forestal district in the commonwealth and the largest in Warren County
- Conservation Easements – landowners voluntarily gave up their development rights and agreed to permanently protect nearly 8,000 acres.
The original public hearing at the planning commission level for March is rescheduled to July 12 at 7:00pm
June 14 at 7:00pm at the county administration building, 220 N. Commerce Avenue, Front Royal, VA 22630. Please plan to attend and make your 3-minute comment to let the planning commissioners know that you do not support this proposal.
You can also reach out to commissioners by emailing comments to Veronica Diamond at firstname.lastname@example.org. These communications will then go to the planning commissioners in their agenda packets.