Business park added to growth overlay zone

Maps showing the current Ferncliff growth area overlay zone (at right) and the zone as it existed before Ferncliff Business Park was added (at left).

The Louisa County Board of Supervisors voted May 17 to add Ferncliff Business Park to the growth area overlay district, correcting an oversight from their February decision to strengthen county land development rules.

Supervisor Fitzgerald Barnes (Patrick Henry District) had asked to leave areas in the Three Notch Road (Route 250) corridor designated in the county’s comprehensive plan for future industrial growth out of the growth overlay. He argued residents should have a right through the conditional use permit process to challenge a neighbor’s decision to develop their property.

But by leaving the business park out of the overlay, officials would have subjected companies that want to locate there to a CUP requirement. That can be a time-consuming and expensive process, and it seemed unnecessary when the land in the business park is already zoned for industry.

The overlay districts include areas of the county with the greatest potential for development. Within those areas, most new construction other than single-family homes is subject to architectural design rules, like a requirement to use brick as a primary material in buildings. But the revised zoning code also provides developers in those areas reduced building setbacks and more land uses allowed by right. 

For example, a gas station in the Ferncliff growth area along parts of Three Notch Road (Route 250) will require a conditional use permit from the supervisors, while a gas station within the overlay district at the corner of Route 250 and Courthouse Road (Route 208) will not. The conditional use permit process enables the board to turn down a project if it doesn’t meet with community support.

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