Ocean View P&Z recommends ordinances to council

The Ocean View Planning & Zoning Commission last week voted to recommend a number of proposed code amendments to the town council.

The commission voted unanimously to recommend an ordinance to town council that would amend the Ocean View Land Use & Development Code by adding “Woodworking Shops” as “Special Exceptions” in GB-1 and GB-2 General Business Districts.

Jeff Clark of Land Tech Land Planning told the commission he has a client who has started the process of trying to get to build a commercial woodworking shop.

“What I would like for you to consider is this, the way this is written is as a special exception,” said Clark. “If someone who wants to build a woodworking shop has to go to the Board of Adjustment, pay $550 to say, ‘I want to build a woodworking shop as defined in your code’ and then go through the process…

“I would propose you would consider making some permitted use — if you have a woodworking shop that keeps this definition. If you step outside of this definition and do something more exotic or noisy… Of course, you may go to the Board of Adjustment, because that’s really going to impact the neighbors.”

Town Solicitor Dennis Schrader noted that a woodworking shop is permissible in a residential zone, as a “home-based operation,” with the condition that there can be no more than one non-resident employee.

Clark said he was concerned with the length of the process to amend the code and hoped that the commission would recommend a change to the council.

“I think the special exception is simply just an added level of protection to this Town and its citizens,” said Public Works Director Charles McMullen. “I don’t think that it’s that much of an imposition to the applicant in that issue. It’s simply a meeting before the Board of Adjustment, and then the next step would be before the Planning & Zoning Commission.”

The commission did not alter the proposed ordinance and voted unanimously to recommend its approval to the town council as written.

The commission also reviewed an ordinance to amend the Ocean View Land Use & Development Code by adding “Wildlife Education Centers” as special exceptions in GB-2 and GB-2 General Business Districts.

The proposed amendment was drafted after Josh Mueller of Barn Hill Preserve — a business that offers educational animal programs while focusing on conservation education for diverse audiences — contacted the Town about potentially opening a new location within Ocean View, adjacent to the Salted Rim restaurant.

“I think what everyone has to understand here is… Do we want to recommend that something of this nature be permitted as a special exception in the GB-1 district, which is everything along State Route 26? Do we want to say it should be included in the GB-2 District, which is anything outside of the area of the main portion of the town?” said McMullen.

Schrader added that the primary purpose of a “wildlife education center” is education, not to serve as a zoo.

“It’s not intended to be a petting zoo. There are educational programs that must be associated with the operation of the business. The other thing I’d like to point out to you is we don’t know what necessarily will be the proposed animals — spiders, fish, snakes… But the intent is to keep them confined in an enclosed building in order to have the educational opportunities presented. Secondly, there is to be a fence around it.”

He added that such facilities would also need to comply with state and federal regulations, as well as those of the town.

The commission unanimously voted to recommend the amended ordinance for town council’s approval.

Also at the May 23 meeting:

• The commission voted unanimously to recommend an ordinance amending the official Zoning Map of the Town of Ocean View by re-designating enumerated parcels in accordance with the 2015 Comprehensive Land Use Plan.

• Kent Liddle, who had previously served on the commission, was sworn in for his return to the commission, which will hold its reorganizational meeting next month.

• The Ocean View Board of Adjustment also met on May 23 and unanimously voted to approve an application submitted by Chris Dominic and Barbara Calkins, related to their home on Hudson Avenue. The couple purchased the 1895 home in the 1990s and have been spending their time improving it over the years.

• At the meeting, the board said farewell to Vice-Chair Jim LeGates.

“I would like to thank him for his service to the Town, his honest interpretation of the Code, his ability to inquire and ask questions that were pertinent in order to make sure that the relief being provided to people was justified,” said McMullen. “I wish him the best in his move back to ‘the other side,’ as I like to call it. We’ll miss him.”

“I’ve enjoyed it,” said Legates. “It was an honor to serve the community… We leave with mixed feelings but will be back visiting with friends and family.”