Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Nottoway Board Strongly Opposes Proposed Zoning Changes.

With exquisite logic and mincing no words, the Board of the Nottoway Homeowner's Association has reached out to the Board of Mayor and Aldermen to strongly oppose the proposed zoning changes for T4R and T5R areas. The Board of Mayor and Aldermen retreat where the proposed changes will be discussed is this Friday, February 10.  

See previous discussions of these proposed zoning changes here:  

Major Proposed Zoning Changes, A "Public Hearing", and Nobody Came   

Germantown Delays Final Vote on Zoning Changes

Bars and Liquor Stores? in "transitional" T4 zoning?  

Zoning Changes Tabled-- To be Discussed at Retreat 

Nottoway is a gated Planned Unit Development on the south side of Poplar at Poplar Estates. It abuts a T4R (transitional) area which is included in the mixed use Gill Properties Travure development, part of the "Western Gateway" area of Smart Growth.    

Here is a schematic of the zoning designations in the area: 

Although Travure currently has plans in place, Gill Properties could always choose to discard their present plans and reapply under any new zoning changes that are passed; alternatively, Gill could sell Travure, and the new developer could apply under those changes. The proposed changes could have serious adverse effects for Nottoway and any future T4R areas in our City.  

The complete memorandum sent by the Board of the Nottoway Homeowner's Association to the aldermen is linked here, and is worth reading (or skimming) in its entirety: 

Nottoway Memorandum To Board of Aldermen   

A summary of the issues involved has been provided to Shining a Light by a Nottoway Homeowner's Association Board member: 


If you own a single-family residence in Germantown - especially one located adjacent to undeveloped property - you should be aware of game-changing amendments to the Germantown SmartCode that are currently under consideration by the Mayor and Board of Alderman (BMA). 

Germantown's Director of Economic and Community Development (DECD) has proposed amendments to the City's zoning regulations that would effectively eliminate transitional zones between single-family residential subdivisions and adjacent high-density commercial development. 

Currently, the only types of buildings (or "uses") that are permitted within 150 feet of a single-family residential subdivision (these 150-foot-wide buffering strips are called "T4R" or "T5R" transitional zones) are residential buildings and parking facilities. The DECD proposes to amend the zoning code to allow commercial developers to place office buildings - and a wide variety of retail buildings - within T4R and T5R transitional zones. 

When read in conjunction with the DECD's proposed amendments to the City's current encroachment rules, DECD's proposed T4R and T5R use amendments would allow the following types of commercial properties to be located within 50 feet (or less) of a single-family subdivision: open air restaurants serving alcoholic beverages; neighborhood stores (such as pizza shops, donut shops, liquor stores and convenience stores); two-story office buildings; and bed-and-breakfasts. Astonishingly, the DECD's proposed amendments would also allow a "bus shelter" within these transitional zones. 

These proposals fundamentally change the character of T4R and T5R transitional zones by placing commercial properties -- with their concomitant noise, traffic, odor and light pollution -- within transitional zones that were intended to serve as a buffer between residential and commercial properties. 

As the Germantown zoning map reflects, there are large tracts of land in the city that are currently zoned "R" (Residential) but are subject to rezoning. Thus, the proposed amendments should be of grave concern to any Germantown single-family homeowner who lives adjacent to relatively undeveloped property and who values his or her serenity, security and property values. Although the DECD has publically characterized the proposed amendment merely as a "clean up" of the City's zoning regulations, the proposed amendments seek to effect significant and substantive change, particularly with respect to permitted uses in transitional zones. 

The BMA will further reflect on the DECD's amendments at its retreat on Friday, February 10, and the proposed amendments likely will come before the BMA for a third reading in the near future. 

The Nottoway Homeowner Association has strongly opposed the proposed amendments (see the linked Memorandum from the Association to the BMA) and urges other potentially affected Germantown homeowners to lodge their objections with the BMA. 

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