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Pleasants Landing owner makes third bid to legalize staircase on his Lake Anna property

Posted on Wednesday, June 6, 2018 at 6:58 am

Michael Vallerie, owner of Pleasants Landing, has a vision for an ice cream shop on the ground floor of this structure and an office for his business upstairs. The supervisors have denied him a permit to use the building twice, citing illegal staircase and a deck.

Once again, Michael Vallerie is asking for county officials’ blessing.

Vallerie, the owner of Pleasants Landing at the east end of Lake Anna, will ask the Louisa County Board of Supervisors on June 4 for the third time to grant him a special exception so he can operate an office on his property.

The board declined to give Vallerie such a permit twice in 2016, citing pending code violations on the property. Since then, Vallerie has taken his quest to the Louisa County Board of Zoning Appeals and Louisa Circuit Court.

The court denied Vallerie’s request for relief on May 8 on technical grounds.

Vallerie needs an exception from the county’s setback regulations, which forbid building a structure within five feet of the property line on land adjacent to Lake Anna.

Shortly after Vallerie bought the commercial property in December 2015, he built a stairway and deck onto a two-story structure near the water’s edge to give him access to the second floor. There was no interior access to the upstairs. If there had been exterior stairs before, they had been removed.

The steps and deck protrude into the setback, a fact that soon caught the attention of Louisa County building inspectors. Since then, Vallerie and county officials have battled before public boards and in courtrooms over this issue.

Vallerie says he needs to be able to see the stairs from the marina building just east of the office structure. If he has to relocate the stairs to remove them from the setback area, he won’t be able to see if the wrong person is trying to gain access to the second floor.

This may be an issue if Vallerie ever holds large events on the property. The board gave him a conditional use permit in January that allows multiple events with up to 500 people each year during the summer and fall months. Vallerie decided not to host any events this year after the board restricted the number of events with amplified sound.

“Guests attending the event will attempt to use this stairway to gain a better view of events on the stage, creating a unsafe situation on a set of stairs that is supposed to be off limits to the public,” Vallerie wrote in a request letter to the supervisors. He added that some people may mistake the second floor for a “first aid station.”

Several code violations, some concerning the office structure, are pending in Louisa General District Court. The county filed charges of failure to comply with a stop-work order, performing construction work without a permit and use of a building without a certificate of occupancy. They are scheduled to be heard in court on July 10.

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