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Committees discuss rezoning, juvenile jail

By ZOË WATKINS - zwatkins@t-g.com
Posted 11/26/22

Bedford County standing committees discussed what appeared to be some difficult rezoning requests on Tuesday. Also discussed were possible plans to demolish the juvenile services center located near …

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Committees discuss rezoning, juvenile jail

Bedford County standing committees discussed what appeared to be some difficult rezoning requests on Tuesday. Also discussed were possible plans to demolish the juvenile services center located near the historic rock jail on Lane Parkway.
The Rules and Legislative Committee met in a regular meeting Tuesday to discuss two rezoning requests. The first was requested by Dwayne Sullivan to have just over an acre at the corner of Bell Buckle-Wartrace Road and Fairfield Pike rezoned from agriculture (A1) to commercial (C1) for a convenience store.
This rezoning unanimously recommended from the Planning Commission. However, the location had District 1 commissioners Eric Maddox and Drew Hooker apprehensive. Neither said they were familiar with the rezoning request.
“I do know in that area we get a ton of complaints of the congestion at Cascade School from about 1 o’clock in the afternoon till about 3 o’clock, then again in the morning from 7:30 to 8 o’clock,” said Hooker. “I would be very cautious in having a lot there until we get a full study done in that area.”
The District 1 commissioner asked if the rezoning decision could be deferred for 30 days. But since these zoning requests have to work within a “certain period of time,” according to Commissioner Linda Yockey, who also sits on the Planning Commission, the Rules Committee needs to decide to move it on to the Board of Commissioners.
The item was voted to be moved on to the Board of Commissioners with no recommendation from the Rules Committee. A public hearing about the rezoning will be held prior to the next Commission meeting on Dec. 13 at 7 p.m. at the Bedford County Courthouse.
According to the agenda, the Planning Commission had no objection to the rezoning as it is “a corner parcel at a major crossroad on a state highway and is surrounded by educational/institutional and local government uses and has access to public sewer.”
Yockey added that the property owner is “very willing to do whatever the state asks him to do” and work with state engineers to help ease any congestion.
Another rezoning request discussed by the committee was from Joseph Fulton, who is seeking to have an acre at 3034 Highway 41A North near Unionville rezoned from agriculture (A1) to commercial (C1) for another convenience store that plans to serve “hot food.”
The property has been a farmers’ market, a grandfathered convenience market with fuel and even a bar.
But, according to the Planning Commission, “its lack of having any ‘like’ commercial uses for more than 36 months has resulted in it losing its grandfather [clause.]”
Therefore, from a zoning perspective, rezoning the parcel today could be considered spot-zoning as there are no like uses or zoned parcels nearby. There is a grandfathered mini-storage facility nearby as well as predominantly agricultural and light residential properties.
District 3 Commissioner Troy Thompson said, “It’s a tough call because he was grandfathered in commercially . . . and it’s still a commercial building sitting there.”
Commissioner Greg Vick motioned to send the rezoning request to the Board of Commissioners with no recommendation, which the committee did.
*Subhead*Cleaning up former juvenile office
The Courthouse and Property Committee discussed possibly demolishing the former juvenile services facility on Lane Parkway and what steps to take to start the process.
“That area has got to be done away with. It’s really deplorable in a lot of spots,” said Bedford County Mayor Chad Graham. “It’s already been determined that it’s uninhabitable, which is why we had to build a new facility.”
The new jail facility is located on Northcreek Drive.
Graham said the first step they need to take is go through the building and salvage what they can or put items up for bid. This will lower the cost of destroying the building, he advised.
“Whether we continue to house juveniles—and I think there are a lot of pros about that and some cons—the Commission makes that decision. But the current facility and the condition of that facility is all to pieces. They have sewer issues everyday . . . there’s other concerns with that facility,” said Graham. “We cannot continue long-term to operate there.”
They can either build a new facility or relocate the juvenile services to another location. “We’ve got to be prepared as a Commission to debate and decide and make a decision about where we go with juvenile services and detention in particular,” said Graham.

The mayor added that if they can clear the area of the juvenile services building, they would like to consider creating a green space and even make the rock house area a tourist stop.