Goat Farm Going to Board

Goat Farm Going to Board

New plan approved by Planning Commission.

<bt>The Planning Commission unanimously approved a revised development plan by the developer of the Goat Farm or Corbin Property. The seven-acre parcel has become a test case for how well the county can enforce its rezoning agreements, and has sparked changes to county procedures for saving trees.

The Board of Supervisors rezoned the area on the corner of Gallows and Idlywood roads to allow 14 houses. Part of that rezoning included tree preservation areas.

Construction workers removed some trees. There is a dispute between the developer, John Batal, and County staff about whether or not the county's Department of Urban Forestry approved the removal of some of those trees after the Board of Supervisors approved the tree save plan.

In spite of the tree removal which was one of the reasons for granting the rezoning, the county was unable to rescind the rezoning.

The county stopped issuing new permits for work on the site, but work continued for a time under permits which had already been granted.

The Board of Supervisors would not allow any further movement on the case until the developer filed a "Proffered Condition Amendment."

The developer filed this amendment part of which states that he will plant more trees and larger trees than had been proposed in the original development.

The Planning Commission held a public hearing on Sept. 14 and rendered its decision on Oct. 6.

"We began this case with a regrettable incident. What we have here is a remedy," said Commissioner Ken Lawrence (Providence).

Lawrence noted that while the issue has obviously cost the developer financially, it has also cost the county in time the staff had to spend working on the case.

He noted that the new procedures being developed in response to the case could end up strengthening the county's procedures.

"I believe these costs are not without the prospect of return," he said. "A whole new approach to tree saves is in the works."

Area residnets who spoke at the public hearing suggested that the language in the new proposal was still too vague.

Lawrence asked that the developer continue to refine the proffers prior to the public hearing before the Board of Supervisors.

"We are prepared to make further changes to the proffers, yes," said Frank McDermott, attorney for the developer.

A public hearing before the Board of Supervisors is scheduled for Oct. 17. To register to speak at the hearing, call 703-324-3151.