Drainage concerns remain over retirement home plan
MOUNT JACKSON – The Mount Jackson Town Council approved a zoning request for development of a potential retirement home, but worries persist regarding drainage issues associated with the site.
The council voted 4-1 in favor of the rezoning, with Councilman Dennis Andrick as the lone dissenting vote. Councilman Donald Pifer was absent from the meeting.
Given the rezoning, People Inc. can move toward applying for a special-use permit to build a retirement home for low-income individuals on the lot.
Both Andrick and Mayor J.G. “Bucky” Miller took up the issue with the property’s stormwater drainage problem. They both said they’ve seen water collect on the site after storms and asked company representative Bryan Phipps what he and the company plan to do about it.
“It was really eye opening to see how much water comes through and stays in that piece of property for a long time,” Miller said. “My concern is that you’re going to be able to move water, but you’re going to move water and make it someone else’s problem.”
Phipps said People Inc. commissioned an engineer to design a preliminary stormwater management plan, which would entail pumping the water out from the property out the back end, or rerouting it around the property and away from the neighbors.
However, there is a catch-22 with the situation.
Phipps said he and the company are uncomfortable investing heavily in engineering plans without assurance of being able to develop. Likewise, town officials are reticent to move forward with the process without a more detailed stormwater management plan.
“We’re unable to really move forward with full blown engineering plans until we’re relatively confident that we’ll be able to build on the site, which is really the need for the rezoning push,” Phipps said. “Right now, we’d be essentially engineering a site that we don’t have firm control over.”
Despite the relative impasse, the process can continue to move forward given the rezoning. Phipps said the company will work toward commissioning a stormwater management plan for the site to be presented to the Planning Commission to acquire a special use permit.
Regardless of current issues on the site, Phipps added that the property has no stormwater management plan, so at this point, something would be better than nothing.
The planning commission is set to meet at 7 p.m. Oct. 3. Council is set to meet at 7:30 p.m. Oct 11.
Contact staff writer Jake Zuckerman at 540-465-5137 ext. 152, or firstname.lastname@example.org