Warren County park moving forward

By Alex Bridges

FRONT ROYAL — Warren County’s proposed Rockland Park took another step toward completion this week.

The Planning Commission approved a site plan for the Woodland Playground — an amenity for the larger park project near Fishnet Boulevard and Rockland Road. Planning Director Taryn Logan provided information about the project to the commission on Wednesday. Staff and the commission visited the site earlier in the day.

The playground will be comparable to one at Sherando Park near Stephens City, Logan said. The proposed disc golf course is in the vicinity of the playground.

Commission Chairman C. Douglas Rosen called the area beautiful. “It’s gonna be pretty.”

The commission conducted a comprehensive plan review for the public park at its January meeting. At that time, the commission found the park to be in compliance with the Comprehensive Plan, Logan said.

The county contracted Land Planning and Design Associates Inc. to develop a master plan for the park in 2006. The county conducted a citizen survey and a series of public meetings to gather input for the project. The master plan was divided into four phases based on priorities.

The county now proposes to build the playground and a shelter on the site. Staff found that the site plan meets the requirements for setbacks and parking space. No lighting is proposed. In response to a question from the commission, Logan said that the park would likely have a sign posted informing people of the hours it is open because there are no lights planned.

Landscaping will be needed around the perimeter of the parking lot. Logan said that even though woods surround the site, the parking lot needs landscaping. She told the commission she would work with the design firm on the landscaping element.

Approval of the site plan is contingent on the final approval of the erosion and sediment control plan by the Virginia Department of Transportation and the Building Inspections Department. Logan said the county is working with VDOT to upgrade the road entering the park site.

The playground is estimated to cost $250,000, according to information from the county. A shelter and parking lot is expected to cost $75,000. The third phase of the Carson Trail will cost approximately $125,000. The recreational access project that would improve the road into the park will cost a total of $600,000. The county will pay $150,000 of the cost while the Virginia Department of Transportation will pay the remaining $450,000.

Also at the meeting, planners:

  • Held a public hearing on a request to change the zoning ordinance section pertaining to non-conforming signs. No one spoke at the hearing. The modification aligns county regulations with recently approved changes to the state code.
  • Authorized county staff to advertise for public hearing a request by Tareq Salahi for a conditional-use permit for short-term, tourist rentals at 440 Scenic Overlook Drive. Salahi needs the permit because his property is zoned for agricultural use. Salahi didn’t comment when given the opportunity. The hearing will be held in April at Salahi’s request.
  • Authorized staff to advertise a public hearing on the fiscal 2015 Capital Improvement Plan.
  • Authorized staff to advertise for public hearing a request to change the zoning ordinance section on height limits as they pertain specifically to telecommunications equipment shelters and antenna arrays

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