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BY DAN McFARLAND
After a last-minute modification, Orange County supervisors have approved the proffers presented by Village Motorsports, ending a long and often heated discussion regarding the Unionville business and its use of a 2.67-acre section of its property.
The motor sports dealership began as a feed store and small engine repair shop in 1997. At that time, a portion of its land was rezoned from limited residential to general commercial, with certain proffers attached.
Business owner George Carter had been using the unpaved rear portion of his property for overflow parking for special events until county officials informed him that using the residentially zoned land in that fashion violated zoning regulations.
Carter's attempts to get that portion of the property rezoned commercial met with stiff resistance from his Village Road neighbors, who opposed noise, traffic and what they saw as Carter's lack of compliance with the existing proffer limits.
The original proffers called for Carter to buffer his property, but detractors claimed he had planted only a single tree. Carter's attorney, Clark Leming, said that buffering trees were planted, but died.
When the new rezoning request was denied, Carter offered modified proffers.
The issue for supervisors at their Tuesday meeting was whether to accept those modified proffers, which opponents felt did not go far enough, or to continue with the 1997 proffers, which lacked some restrictions the Village Road residents desired.
When District 2 Supervisor Jim White mentioned his constituents' concerns about proposed operating hours on Sundays, Leming pointed out that the original proffers did not limit Sunday use.
After consulting with his client, Leming further modified the proffers to limit Sunday operations to between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.
White, who had suggested a 3 p.m. Sunday cutoff, said the modified proffers were nevertheless better than the original ones and moved for acceptance.
Supervisor Shannon Abbs commented, "So you are saying the choice is getting punched in the face or punched in the gut? Where do you take the punch?"
White responded, "I would only say that, if we take action that, in effect, leaves the old proffers in place, that is not a good solution. Much of the issue that has arisen is because of either the wording or enforceability of the old proffers. Given those two choices, neither of which is perfect, I think we are at least taking a step in the right direction with the new ones."
The board voted 4-1 to accept the modified proffers, with Supervisor Lee Frame voting no. Frame had said earlier in the debate that although he is pro-business, "I am not sure that I am anxious to help businesses that don't seem to take into account the concerns of and their impact on their neighbors."
Attorney Leming said he expects several pending lawsuits in the matter to be dismissed in light of that vote. "The county attorney and I are discussing how to go about that," he said.
In other action, the supervisors voted unanimously to grant a special-use permit to allow Rikki's Refuge to use two donated trailers as office space. A total of 22 speakers from as far away as Richmond and Alexandria spoke in favor of the request, with many citing the difficulty of volunteers forced to complete grant requests and other paperwork while working on picnic tables with many intruding paws.