Planners examine Lake Anna zoning
What started as a discussion about a proposed ordinance change quickly became a property rights issue during the Louisa County Planning Commission’s work session last week.
David Holtzman, senior planner, provided commissioners with a zoning ordinance change to allow outdoor gatherings of more than 200 people in Lake Anna’s R-2 zoning district.
Tommy Barlow, Louisa County Board of Supervisors liaison, asked if the change was necessary.
“Do we have something specifically in the ordinance that says you can’t have a party in the R-2 zone, or are you getting that from just the fact that is not mentioned,” Barlow asked.
“Well, there’s a provision in the code that says if something is not clearly permitted, then it’s not,” Holtzman replied. “That actually got put in the code a year or two ago.”
He said that the county added the code section to help clarify ambiguities in the county code.
“We felt like if it wasn’t listed there, it’s not allowed,” Holtzman said. “If we want something to be allowed, we should put it in the ordinance.”
Jack Speer and Eric Purcell disagreed.
“Shouldn’t people have a right to do whatever they want to do except for the things we say they can’t do?” Speer said.
Purcell said the whole issue of not allowing something that isn’t specifically mentioned was a “philosophical question” about how restrictive governments should be.
“The governing body has to address that, in my opinion,” he said. “But that’s a discussion for another day.”
Barlow said he also disagreed with the restrictive section of the code.
“Our ordinance is, technically, it’s not allowed unless it’s specifically mentioned,” he said. “It’s exactly backwards.”
The proposed amendment would allow promoters of a triathlon scheduled for later this fall, along with other promoters, to host their events legally.
Event promoters, who have hosted several triathlons at Lake Anna in recent years, started the amendment and property right debate after they recently contacted the county for the first time about event restrictions.
The unauthorized events regularly drew large numbers of bicyclists and often required law enforcement to control traffic along several roadways around Lake Anna.
Holtzman said the county would like to allow large public events to take place on the lake, considering the character of the area and the draw it has on numerous visitors and vacationers.
The amendment does include a conditional use permit and a lot size requirement of a minimum of 15 acres.
Commissioners were concerned that there weren’t enough lots around the lake to meet the restriction and are planning a work session to discuss the issue further.