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Board denies fair appeal for parking space

By Alex Bridges -- abridges@nvdaily.com

The Shenandoah County Fair Association must keep event parking within the space it has after the Woodstock Board of Zoning Appeals sided with the town zoning administrator.

The board voted 5-0 at its meeting Tuesday to uphold Zoning Adminstrator Brent Manuel's determination that Woodstock's zoning ordinance does not allow event parking on land zoned for low-density residential use, according to town clerk Angela Clem.

The board held a public hearing on the association's appeal of the administrator's determination. Several neighbors and other town residents spoke at the hearing, some in favor and others against the appeal which, if approved, would have allowed the fair to let event-goers park closer to an adjacent residential community.

The fair sought to extend event parking into 6.4 acres of property owned by the association adjacent to the fairgrounds off Ox Road. The main fairgrounds property also is zoned residential but has been in use before the town created its ordinances and thus grandfathered in the event site.

The association's general manager, Tom Eshelman, explained before the meeting the organization wanted to expand parking space to the former apple orchard land it owns. Eshelman also spoke at the hearing.

Those residents speaking against the appeal were Alma Hottle, Josh Holloman, Robert and Dorothy Ferguson, Burgess Dellinger and John and Erna Horne.

Town residents Tim French and Dennis Wagner spoke in support of the fair's appeal.

The fair association can file an appeal of the board's decision to the Shenandoah County Circuit Court.


Let me think about this....was the fairground there before all those houses were built in what was an apple orchard? Before you complain about the fairground then why did you buy or build your house there when you knew the fairground has concerts, tractor pulls, people and noise? Then you want to complain about the rocks and dust from the road. Geez maybe the fair association would buy you out! The only major event in this county.

Come on, if they own the land they should be able to park on it.

Before roaming off into the wilderness of personal attacks, it is important to check the legal facts.

Dates are important. The land in question and other real property land was acquired long after the initial R-1 zoning was cast in concrete. There has been no change in that zoning, regardless of what appears on the "wish list" maps of the state-mandated updates to the Comprehensive Plan which show on the Internet.

You may have been fooled by the term "grandfathering" as has been mis-reported by the local news media. It is a term that is determined as a defintionn of a process, not by waving a magic wand. And, it definitely is not appropriate to provide that as a label for non-enforcement of zoning for whatever reason.

In short, then, "grandfathering" runs with the land, not with the corporation that might acquire that land.

When Burgess Court and Henry Drive were developed, the land to the West and South was entirely a producing apple orchard. Under "grandfathering", a new owner would be allowed to continue growing apples. "Parking" or any other commercial activity is not one of the definitions of "Apples".

By your argument, if the corporation managed to purchase all the land in Woodstock, it would be allowed to conduct any current commercial activity anywhere in town.

To repeat then, the term "grandfathering" cannot be applied to a corporation. It applies only to real property - land and buildings.

Now, if you insist on treating this as an emotional issue and have access to the Internet, I invite you to use GOOGLE to search for these two words at the same time:

realityisfree peons

Maybe we will get more rain so that everybody can cool down.

It should be obvious that some unfavorable uses of land can make life unlivable for neighbors. Glue factories, hog farms, and sewages disposal plants are best located in remote areas far away from people.,

Land use planning in Virginia is controlled by local officials under guidelines set by the state. A very good summary is described at this link:


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