FRONT ROYAL — Sheetz can put a gas station in Linden after Warren County leaders who — against the wishes of nearby residents — agreed Tuesday night to a rezoning in order to keep a school bus stop.
The Warren County Board of Supervisors voted 3-1 at its meeting on Tuesday to reconsider its previous denial of a rezoning request. Dudding Commercial Development LLC sought to rezone approximately 6.45 acres from agricultural to commercial use for a Sheetz convenience store and gas station. The property lies on Apple Mountain Road north of Interstate 66 in Linden.
The developer also included in its plans a school bus loop that would replace an existing stop. Some opponents have said they don’t want the bus stop where the developer plans to locate it.
Chairwoman Cheryl L. Cullers, Happy Creek District Supervisor Tony F. Carter and North River District Supervisor Delores R. Oates voted in favor of a motion to reconsider and approve the rezoning request. Shenandoah District Supervisor Walter J. Mabe voted against the motion. Vice Chairman Archie A. Fox did not attend the meeting.
Board members made no comments before they voted on the rezoning.
Carter made the motion that the board reconsider Dudding’s rezoning request “finding that the rezoning is appropriate for the public necessity and it’s good zoning practice.” Oates seconded the motion.
Earlier in the Tuesday meeting during the the public comment period, supervisors heard again from area residents, some for the third time, urging members not to reconsider the rezoning. Some people reiterated their concerns about the impact Sheetz could have on traffic, safety and the environment in the surrounding area. One resident said she believes Sheetz plans to build a larger truck stop. The Sheetz would operate close to the Linden exit on Interstate 66.
Supervisors voted in February to deny the rezoning request after hearing overwhelming opposition to the proposal by Apple Mountain Lake residents. Carter, Fox and Mabe voted in favor of a motion to deny the rezoning request. Cullers and Oates voted against the motion. Carter’s vote allowed him to bring back the matter and to have the board reconsider its earlier decision.
Shortly after the board's initial action, the property owner who planned to sell the land to Sheetz advised school officials that he would no longer allow the division to use the site as a bus stop.
This spurred not only a search for a new bus stop site by county and school system officials but also Carter’s push to have the board reconsider the rezoning request. The search came up short, according to Carter.