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Posted January 17, 2013 | comments Leave a comment

Warren County: Plan for rest home hits snag

Developer wants to see if facility can connect to town water, sewer lines

By Alex Bridges

A controversial plan to build a rest home in a rural part of Warren County hit a delay this week.

The developer wants to see if the assisted living facility could connect to Front Royal's water and sewer lines.

The Board of Supervisors on Tuesday planned to hold a public hearing on a request for a conditional-use permit for an assisted living facility at Harmony Hollow and Harmony Orchard roads near U.S. 522. The board canceled the public hearing at the developer's request. The Planning Department has not yet rescheduled the hearing.

The developer, Betty West with Glenwood Homes LLC, asked for the delay to give her time to ask Front Royal about the availability of water and sewer, according to county Planning Director Taryn Logan.

West proposes to build an 18,000 square foot rest home limited to 36 occupants on 10 acres. A condition with the permit includes a requirement that the applicant submit proof of an adequate water supply to the Planning Department.

The issue of water use by the proposed facility has raised concerns by neighbors whose properties rely on wells.

Town Manager Steven Burke said Front Royal has received information from the county about the request.

"Our Environmental Services Department is reviewing it to see if it's sufficient to make a recommendation before council," Burke said.

Front Royal does provide water and sewer to some users outside the town limits in the area of the proposed facility.

"There is infrastructure in the area that services the 4-H center," Burke said. "We have to determine what volume of utility service they're requesting and then determine if there is capacity to meet that need."

The Planning Commission voted 5-0 to recommend the Board of Supervisors approve the permit as requested with the additional conditions. Some of the requirements as recommended by the commission include a restriction on the height of light poles and hours of use.

However some neighbors oppose West's plans. A letter dated Jan. 9 from Harmony Manor Estates resident Carole L. Conner to the county administration indicates the proposal violates the covenants of the subdivision. According to Conner, the covenants restrict property use to single-family dwellings limited to 2 ½ stories tall.

Conner also states in the letter that such a facility would lead to more vehicles on Harmony Hollow and Harmony Orchard roads, neither of which can support heavy traffic. The lighting as proposed would also disrupt the neighbors of the property, Conner states.

Another condition of the permit restricts the use of the 10-acre property only for an assisted living facility. A letter dated Jan. 13 from resident Waller H. Wilson and distributed at the supervisors meeting states that the other Harmony Hollow neighbors in the fall signed a petition that argued for a rest home, instead of West's earlier proposal to build houses on the property. Wilson states that West agreed to the idea of the petition.

However, according to Wilson, West has since changed her plans and may seek to build houses on the property in addition to the assisted living center. Wilson urged supervisors to put strict language in the permit should the board approve her request.

Contact staff writer Alex Bridges at 540-465-5137 ext. 125, or abridges@nvdaily.com

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