Planners put off action on rezoning

Rezoning a piece of property north of Front Royal could affect traffic on U.S. 340-522, warn state transportation officials.

The Warren County Planning Commission decided recently to table action on an application filed by 707 LLC to rezone a 10-acre parcel at 6986 Winchester Road from agricultural to industrial use. The property owners sought to rezone the site to make the land more marketable, Planning Director Taryn Logan said. The owners have not proposed a use or identified a developer for the property, Logan said.

The commission held the public hearing on the request last week but delayed action to its meeting next month at 707’s request. No one spoke during the hearing, Logan said.

The delay should give owners time to talk with Virginia Department of Transportation officials about the application and to clarify concerns raised with the request, Joseph Biggs, a managing partner with 707, said.

The Virginia Department of Transportation reviewed 707’s rezoning request. VDOT Land Development Engineer Arthur “Bobby” Boyce pointed out in a Dec. 8 email to Logan that the application doesn’t include a proposed use for the property, making it difficult for the agency to conduct a thorough review with estimated traffic data.

“Some of the allowed uses under industrial zoning may generate a significant amount of vehicles with a large percentage of trucks,” Boyce said. “This may have a negative impact on this section of US 340/522 which is carrying 17,000 trips per day and 15% heavy vehicles.”

VDOT advised Logan that any improvements and entrance locations on U.S. 340-522 should follow the county’s corridor transportation plan and the state’s access management regulations. The developer would need to install an entrance into the property with auxiliary lanes that meet VDOT minimum commercial requirements. VDOT recommends that the existing entrance on Cabell Road serve as the access point, lined up with a crossover on U.S 340-522. The intersection would need a right-turn or deceleration lane as well as a longer left-turn lane. The developer also might need to install a traffic signal, VDOT advised.

An entrance at the location might require a traffic signal if it meets warrants set by the Federal Highway Administration and the Uniform Traffic Control Devices, VDOT warns. The state would require a traffic-signal agreement and bond from the developer of the entrance connection to cover 100 percent of the average cost to design and build the device. However, VDOT recommends the developer offer to install the signal as part of voluntary conditions with any development of the entrance.

The developer should build a joint-use entrance to serve the parcel and the Jett estate to the south of the crossover at state Route 675 if additional access is needed along the front of 707’s property, VDOT advised. This entrance also would require a right-turn lane for access.

The Lord Fairfax Health District also commented on the proposed rezoning. Walter Bailey Jr., senior environmental health specialist at the Warren County Health Department, advised that any facility built on the property would need to connect to Front Royal water and sewer system. The department does not object to the rezoning as long as a safe and adequate sewage disposal system and an approved water source are available for the proposed use, Bailey said.

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