Second try at expansion for 84 Lumber

Owners of the Clarksville-area location of building supply company 84 Lumber were rebuffed last year when they tried to add approximately 8 acres of land to expand the facility. County officials denied the company’s requested conditional use of the parcel on the grounds it was too small.

Having taken steps to remedy that problem, the Pierce Hardy Limited Partnership has again applied to the Sussex County Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) for a conditional use to expand its sales and storage facility just southwest of the intersection of Routes 26 and 17.

This time, the application for the conditional use references some 23.1 acres, currently zoned as AR-1, the county’s agricultural-residential district. The application was to be addressed at the commission’s regular meeting on Thursday, March 10, at 7 p.m. in Georgetown. (Results of any discussion at the public hearing were unavailable at Coastal Point press time.)

The roughly 23 acres referenced in the 2005 application were part of the same 78-acre parcel from which the previous 8-acre parcel had been purchased, according to Bob Bossard, the manager for the Clarksville location of 84 Lumber.

In the end, the company purchased the entire 78-acre parcel to allow for the expansion. But immediate plans for the use of the land remain essentially unchanged, Bossard said, not involving any of the land beyond a small percentage.

In fact, Bossard said only 5.8 acres of the land is to be used for general expansion of the location, including storage of its building materials stocks and any other functions required by the business.

Despite the efforts to assuage the concerns of county officials with the larger parcel, the company is not expecting entirely smooth sailing through the application process. They’ve already been on the receiving end of some negative feedback from the business’ neighbors, according to Bossard.

“Yeah, everybody,” Bossard said when asked whether anyone had objected to the idea. Particularly, he said, the neighboring property owners to the west have expressed concerns about how close the expansion will take 84 Lumber’s facilities to their property. It will be closer than it is now, Bossard agreed, and, “They don’t like it.”

The neighbors’ concerns have centered on traffic, noise and aesthetic impact of the expansion, he said. “But we’re trying to work with them to put up the best aesthetic barrier we can,” he noted.

Despite the opposition, Bossard said he is relatively confident the efforts the company has made in the last year will address the county’s concerns over the size of the parcel. Asked if he believed the new application would go through the process successfully this time, Bossard said, “I believe it will.”

The public hearing at the March 10 P&Z meeting is, however, just the first of several steps required to obtain permission for the expansion. The application is also due to go under the oversight of the county council itself, reportedly at the council’s April 12 meeting.

The reaction of the commission and council to any objections by neighboring property owners will remain to be seen until the respective hearings on the application.

Also up for public hearings at the March 10 P&Z meeting were:

• The application of Oneida Justice to consider the conditional use of land in a GR General Residential District for a contractor’s equipment storage building and yard to be located on a 2.67 acre parcel lying northwest of Road 362 (Parkerhouse Road), 0.4 mile south of Road 368.
• The application of Edward and Darlene Gartside to amend the Comprehensive Zoning Map from an AR-1 Agricultural Residential District to a C-1 General Commercial District for a 1.61 acre parcel of land lying east of Route 20, a.k.a. Road 382, 800 feet south of Road 383.
• The application of Lynn Nicole Santarelli to consider the subdivision of land in an AR-1 Agricultural Residential District by dividing 4.04 acres into two lots, and a variance from the maximum allowed cul-de-sac length of 1,000 feet, located north of Road 365, 480 feet south of Road 368.

The results of the hearings on these applications were also unavailable at Coastal Point press time. The next meeting of the county Planning & Zoning Commission is set for Thursday, March 31, at 7 p.m. in Georgetown.