BOCC denies Sorrels Road land use change after public outcry

COUNTY – County commissioners approved four changes to the Future Land
Use Map (FLUM) when the Washington County Board of County Commissioners
met in regular session Thursday; however, one request was denied after
objections were given from the public and denial was recommended by the
Washington County Planning Commission.

Odom was seeking a change classification of his property at 1776
Sorrels Road from low density residential to agriculture/silviculture.
Odom made the request to have the land use change and the issue went
before the Planning Commission, which subsequently recommended denial. A
third-party planner was called in to evaluate the request due to Odom
being a sitting member of the Planning Commission, but that planner did
not give a recommendation either for or against.

was granted permission in 2020 to erect a pole barn with a bathroom,
office space, and room for four employees. Since that time, a few
businesses have started running out of the barn, including an e-commerce
business, a fabrication company, and a racecar mechanics shop. 

say the activity has led to an increase of traffic, noise, and safety
concerns and told commissioner that the land use change would exacerbate
the issues.

Chris Kneiss, who lives directly across from Odom, told commissioners the safety concerns are a “serious issue.”

a safety standpoint, the traffic has tripled,” said Kneiss. “We have
children that ride their bikes up and down the road. I have told them to
stop because of the safety issues.” Kneiss also stresses the area is
residential rather than commercial, and he and fears allowing the
requested change would mean more commercial businesses would crop up.

Retired Judge Allen Register lives near Odom and says the noise is a large issue and urged commissioners to deny the request.

moved out to this area for the quiet,” said Register. “The noise is
said to not happen after 5 p.m. or on weekends, but it does. I was on an
evening walk and thought that an airplane was about to crash above me,
but it was actually the revving of the racecar engines. Those of us that
live there because it is quiet ask that you deny his request.”

also addressed the board, stating the fabrication business had moved to
a different location but the e-commerce business would remain, as would
the racecars. Odom stated the issue wasnÂ’t about the land use change,
rather the “current climate of America.” 

either believe in our founding document where everyone has the right to
the pursuit of happiness and to recognize their unalienable rights [or
we don’t],” he said. “Right now, it appears that neighbors have more say
about what goes on the property of those who have saved and worked to
bring to life their version of the American dream.”

Tray Hawkins called for a motion to forward the request to the
Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) due to the proposed property
change being considered a large-scale amendment. Commissioner Todd
Abbott made the motion, but it died due to lack of a second. Ultimately,
the request was denied.

four locations that did receive approval on a request to change from
agriculture/silviculture to low density residential were: 3000
Woodymarion Drive (4.71 acres), Dauphin Drive (1.93 acres), Fanning
Branch Road (3.89 acres), and Holmes Valley Road (1.20 acres). 

other business, FEMA Coordinator Kevan Parker presented bids for paving
projects. Commissioners awarded those projects to C.W. Roberts which
came in as the lowest bidder for each group of work. Those projects and
bids were as follows: $1,601,741.45 for Clark Lane East, Lisa Lane,
Suggs Road North, Walnut Circle, Pine Forest Road, and Mayhaw Lane and
$2,359,669.46 for Alton Lane, Roland Road, Suggs Road South, and Harmon
Road. Commissioners also approved advertisement for the paving of Carter
Circle, Old Mill Road, Jessie Way, Shackelford Road, Houston Road East,
and Farrell Nelson Road.

other items, commissioners approved an increase in rental pricing for
county-owned community centers and the agriculture center. Officials
state this will “subsequently aid” in paying for a maintenance assistant
position. The positionÂ’s duties will include cleaning the buildings, as
well as cutting grass and maintaining the outside of the buildings.
Community center rental fees will increase from $160 to $225, and the ag
center fees will increase from $300 to $500. The prices reflect the new
cleaning fee.

also gave County Engineer Cliff Knauer the greenlight to issue a notice
to proceed for work on Culpepper Landing. The park will be closed to
the public beginning November 8 to allow for construction of a new boat
ramp and kayak/canoe launch area. The park is expected to be closed for
120 days to complete the project.

Kevin Crews was on hand at the meeting to present a plaque to the board
in appreciation for their support of the Washington County SheriffÂ’s
Office Rodeo. The county allowed use of by way of use of the Equestrian
Center, an offering Sheriff Crews said was paramount to the rodeoÂ’s

allowing us to use the equestrian center, we are able to raise a large
amount of funds for our biggest event of the year,” said Crews. “The
rodeo is our largest fundraiser that goes toward the toy drive for
underprivileged Washington County children and families. We cannot thank
you enough for your help in making it an event that does so much to
reach our goal.”

Finally, Clerk of Court Lora Bell was approved to pay vouchers for the month of September totaling $6,716,988.34.

The Washington County Board of County Commissioners will meet again in regular session at 9 a.m. on November 23.