County BZA welcomes new members

The Rappahannock County Board of Zoning Appeals convened in recent days with two new members — Steph Ridder replacing David Konick, who was not re-appointed, and Bill Tieckelmann filling a seat left vacant by Jennifer Matthews who is moving out of the area.

The Rappahannock County Circuit Court announced the appointments July 9, effective immediately.

The BZA panel held public hearings on several special use applications. The one that most engaged the members involved a tourist home permit application by Flint Hill resident Jennifer Scherschel. In a lively debate the board considered whether a permit should “run with the land” or with the permit holder. 

In the first instance, an existing permit would convey to new owners of the property in perpetuity  if original conditions were met. In the second, the permit would expire when the property changed hands; new owners would have to re-apply if they wanted to maintain the permit.

BZA vice chair Ron Makela moved to approve Scherschel’s permit application, on the condition that the permit not convey. Scherschel revealed that she and her husband have the 5,000-plus square foot house on the market.

Scherschel asked, “What’s the disadvantage if the permit does convey?”

Member Chris Bird said that neighbors fear the effect on their own properties if permits are conveyed. “If an owner [requesting a permit] has to deal with neighbors and [face] the BZA, they may be more inclined [to follow the rules],” Bird said.

In the end, the BZA voted four to one in favor of Scherschel’s permit running with the land. Makela cast the dissenting vote.

Sean Harrigan and Virginia Baker applied for a special use permit to use a garage apartment on their Grinton Lane property in Flint Hill as a tourist home when not being used by guests or family members. 

The Rappahannock Planning Commission, at its July 15 meeting, voted not to pass along a recommendation of approval or disapproval to the BZA. The planners were concerned that building permits did not exist for the garage apartment. But in between the planning commission and BZA meetings, the county health department located the permits.

During the public hearing, neighbor Garrec Giebel said he did not have any complaints about the application, but wanted to go on record about his concern about visitors to the tourist home using the steep driveway shared by Giebel, Harrigan/Baker, and another party.

Giebel said that the Harrigan/Baker driveway is the first turn-off on the road, but as it is poorly marked, people often pass it by and get stranded trying to navigate the roadway above the couple’s turn off.

On the upper part of the road, “four-wheel drive is needed,” Geibel told the BZA.

“We want to be good neighbors,” Harrigan said, promising to improve signage, meet in person with guests, and require them to arrive during daylight hours.

The BZA voted five to one to approve the permit.

The BZA voted unanimously to table the special use permit application for a tourist home filed by Neighborly Enterprises, LLC in Amissville because the applicant did not attend the meeting.

They also voted unanimously to approve Robert and Elizabeth Easterday’s special permit application for a family apartment. The couple proposes to build one 183 square foot apartment within 151 feet of the principal dwelling for Mrs. Easterday's parents.

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