Planners revisit rezoning request, look broader

An old proposal to rezone land in north Strasburg near Va. 55 has prompted town officials to look at the bigger picture.

The Planning Commission on Thursday discussed the possibility of changing the zoning of dozens of acres near Capon Road and Borden Mowery Drive, south of the North Shenandoah Industrial and Business Park. The land in question is zoned agriculture/rural residential that allows for some housing development.

The idea came after a landowner revived a request to rezone parcels in the same area, said Economic Development and Planning Manager Kimberly Murray.

Paul Rush II, a partner with landowner Robert Lake, told the commission that he filed an application in 2006 or 2007 seeking to rezone several parcels he owns – approximately 12 acres off Va. 55 totaling about 12 acres. The land lies on the southwest side of Va. 55 near Capon Rush.

Rush recalled that he wanted to rezone the properties to a district that would allow townhouses or duplexes. He said several other landowners wanted their nearby properties rezoned at the time. Town Council decided then to table all the requests because it were revising the Community Plan. Council never revisited the requests.

“I’ve been waiting ever since,” Rush said.

No active application for rezoning any parcels in the area has been filed, Murray said.

The town mailed notices recently to 17 property owners whose land falls into the area up for discussion. In addition to Rush, only two other property owners – Virginia Finfrock and Joyce Price – attended the meeting. Finrock and Price own property on Colley Block Road just south of Lake’s property.

Rush said he paid the application fee with his initial rezoning request. Rush would likely need to resubmit an application should he choose to request a rezoning, but Murray said he would not need to pay the fee again.

Murray said Rush approached her about his rezoning request last year around the time the town adopted the new Unified Development Ordinance. Town Council suggested the commission discuss Rush’s request.

Commission Chairman Bob Flanagan asked Rush about his intentions.

“I’m trying to get a feel of what can be done with the property,” Rush said, adding that he wants to sell the land, which he bought when the town annexed the area, to a developer.

Rush can either submit a rezoning application for his properties or the town can go through the process to rezone Rush’s property and others in the area, Murray explained.

Rush can build a few houses on his property because the zoning allows for one residential unit for every 3 acres, Murray explained. Rush said he and Lake would like to rezone the property to a medium-density district that allows for more residential units. Medium density would allow for up to 12 units per acre, Murray said.

Rush recalled that his plans initially called for the construction of 66 townhouses. About 3 acres of his property cannot be developed for housing because power transmission lines run through the land, Rush said. Much of that land would have been used for a road, Rush added.

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