By Carol Vaughn —
The Accomack County Planning Commission in two 6-3 votes Wednesday approved rezoning and a conditional use permit for a townhouse development near Captains Cove.
It now goes to the Board of Supervisors for consideration. The board must hold a public hearing before voting.
CCG Note LLC requested the county conditionally rezone 24.41 acres, the former Hastings/Mariner farm on State Line Road, from residential to village development and applied for a conditional use permit to build a 140-townhouse and commercial mixed-use development there.
Water and sewer service would be provided by Aqua’s facilities in Captains Cove.
Planning commissioner voting against recommending approval of rezoning the property and the conditional use permit were John Sparkman, Roy Custis, and Chairperson Angela Wingfield.
Voting yes were Lynn Gayle, Kelvin Pettit, Brantley Onley, Leander Roberts, Robert Hickman, and Adair Tyler.
The votes came after two public hearings Jan. 12, which were continued at the Feb. 9 meeting, followed by discussion at a Feb. 22 work session.
Captains Cove residents at the hearings spoke in opposition to the project, citing concerns about traffic and the added burden water and sewage facilities, among others.
The planning commission also approved waiving a requirement that proffers be delivered 14 days prior to commission action.
The county recently asked for a proffer tying the rezoning to the site plan.
As part of the proffers, the owner agreed the commercial part of the development will consist of businesses intended to serve residents, such as retail, office, and child care businesses.
The planning commission will be presented each proposed commercial use before a building permit is issued.
Another proffer is that residences will not be used for short-term rentals as long as CCG Note LLC retains ownership.
Additionally, the owner agreed to contribute $430,000 to the Greenbackville Volunteer Fire Department for a new ambulance and a building to be constructed on 1.5 acres on Fleming Road. The donation will be paid at the rate of $1,038.65 for every lot sold in Sections 12 and 13 of Captains Cove and in the townhouse project. The owner will pay a lump sum to the fire department if the townhouse lots are not sold within seven years of the rezoning.
The owner also agreed to donate $10,000 to the Ripken Foundation for STEM in Accomack County Schools.
Energy Storage Facility Advances
Acoustic and landscaping specialists addressed questions the commission had raised about a proposed $45 million, 80-megawatt, battery energy storage facility in Wattsville.
Scout Energy LLC, a subsidiary of Jupiter Power LLC, proposes to build and operate the battery.
The company applied to rezone for industrial use 11.6 acres now zoned agricultural near the intersection of Chincoteague Road and Fleming Road.
It also applied for a conditional use permit.
The facility if approved will be connected to and function alongside Delmarva Power’s 69-kilovolt substation, across Chincoteague Road.
The county could receive at least $3.6 million in revenue over 25 years, assuming a revenue share ordinance, an attorney for the company said at the Feb. 10 meeting, when hearings were held.
Eight people spoke against the project then; some were concerned about noise and others about safety.
Engineer Justin Puggioni, of DNV, Wednesday discussed the results of an acoustic study and demonstrated the noise level the facility could produce.
The company says noise from the facility will not exceed 55 decibels, measured at the boundary with adjoining parcels.
That meets the county noise ordinance’s more stringent nighttime limit for residential districts, despite the fact properties to the north, east, and west are zoned for business, according to the presentation.
The noise will be lessened by a 16-foot sound-absorbing wall.
DNV does not expect the project to cause adverse impacts.
“We do expect people to be able to go about their daily lives as normal with this project in operation,” Puggioni said.
Landscape architect Bill Mahar showed a plan using native plants and a masonry wall to screen the project.
Some commissioners spoke of concerns, but the majority said the commission should move forward and directed staff to prepare a recommended motion for the next meeting.
Pettit said what he heard made him think the project will not negatively impact the community, but added, “On the other hand, we have to consider the community, whether it’s factual or perceived.”
He said he is leaning towards approval.
“I’m not really for it because of the zoning, what’s on the ground. It’s pretty much residential, I believe … and putting an industrial business there just doesn’t seem right,” said Wingfield.
Others noted by-right uses also could result in noise.
“I could buy that land from them right now and put in a nightclub … They could put in a racetrack,” said Tyler, adding, “My concern is not sound or safety; my concern is the zoning piece of it — and this property seems to be a low-impact addition to the county that is not incongruous with what else is going on in that area.”