Different time zone?

JGFitzgerald -- January 13th, 2009

The Harrisonburg City Council voted a few minutes ago, an hour into the first regular meeting of 2009, to turn down a rezoning request. It was a three-to-two vote along party lines.

Stay tuned.

9 Responses to “Different time zone?”

  1. Renee says:

    Interesting – I’m guessing you mean because the Council is known for always approving rezoning requests? For those of us that don’t have a long history of following City Council meetings, can you please explain a little more?

  2. Karl says:

    Joe, you could see this unfolding during the discussion. I think this could be an early trend as Dave and Richard are voting on stuff they already saw at the Planning Commission level.

    An interesting vote considering that area is already littered with R3 zoning and it’s just a hodge podge of uses going on. Seems the council and staff would like to use spot zoning in reverse to make that area what they want.

    Renee, should be obvious that Joe was commenting on the perception and then last nights reality that there would be a 3-2 split on council between the new and old members.

  3. JGFitzgerald says:

    More simple than that, Karl. Last night at the council meeting, something happened that has never happened before. Not once. That’s news.

  4. Renee says:

    I see. Didn’t know that had never happened before, thanks!

  5. Actually, changing this was the main platform of both Baugh and Wiens, with Kai Degner joining in, although not having it as such a main concern. Both Richard and Dave served on the Planning Commission and regularly saw the Council overturning their recommendations and going against the city’s plan on the basis of all kinds of special requests by developers and whomever. They both stated that it was frustration with seeing this that primarily motivated them to run. While Kai was not on the PC, he is clearly in sympathy with their concerns, and now those views are getting shown where they count. This is pleasing, and fortunately not surprising. It would have been disturbing if the expectations of the voters on this matter had not been fulfilled.

  6. Jamie Smith says:

    It was my understanding that the PC had approved this so what we had was a continuation of the council overriding the PC. Is this incorrect?

  7. Karl says:

    Jamie is right, PC had recommended approval.

  8. John Marr says:


    I’ll start this off by saying that I could be entirely wrong about this, in fact I hope I am. If anyone has a better understanding of how this works please let me know. With that said, here goes…

    I don’t know the exact details of this particular example, but it is entirely possible that PC approved this plan without entirely supporting it.

    What I mean is that CC can approve a developer’s plan with or without PC’s seal of approval. Since PC and the developers both know that CC may approve plans without PC’s approval it creates a unique situation.

    When a developer brings their plans before PC, PC will make recommendations and suggestions of how to make that particular plan work better for the City. Depending on the situation a developer may incorporate all of PC’s ideas or just a few. However because the developer is willing to alter their plans, PC may offer their approval depending on how many of their recommendations are implemented.

    As you can see, getting approval from PC does not guarantee that the plan is 100% perfect from the City’s standpoint. It may just mean that it is closer to what works for the City than the original plan.

    In the past there have been instances when a developer’s plans were likely to be approved with or without PC’s approval, so PC would grant approval in return for a few changes in their plan. Essentially PC took what they could get from the developer. I would guess that our new CC knew that is what was happening in this case and did not approve the plans.

    I hope that is correct, and makes sense. As I said before, if anyone has a better understanding please correct me.

    Hope that helps.

  9. John Marr says:

    Kai contacted me to share that PC had approved the plan by a very slim margin (4-3).

    He also pointed out that information regarding the PC vote may be found here on page 61: http://www.harrisonburgva.gov/fileadmin/user_upload/cityclerk/files/Agendas/January_13__2009_agenda.pdf

    (Sorry, I’m no good with inserting links, hopefully someone who is a bit more tech savvy will take pity and edit a link into the post.)

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