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New life for old VFW: rezoning public hearing open

New life for old VFW: rezoning public hearing open

Gordonsville VFW_rezoning application

The Orange County Planning Commission is accepting written public comments on a rezoning application for the former Gordonsville VFW post on Route 231 on the edge of the Town of Gordonsville.  Comments are due by Feb. 23. 

The Orange County Planning Commission is accepting public comment on a rezoning application that would convert the former VFW building and property in Gordonsville into a farm-based business and destination.

Hop On Enterprises, of Charlottesville, is seeking to rezone approximately six acres just outside the Town of Gordonsville from General Residential (R2) to Agricultural (A) for a pick-your-operation, craft brewery and farm winery.

The rezoning request represents a less intensive use than what the property’s current zoning permits.

The applicants, listed in the documents as Andre Xavier and Jon Craig, operate Hop On Cville, a transportation company that drives groups to wineries, breweries and other locations throughout the region.

In their project narrative, the applicants lament the disrepair that has befallen the “iconic” Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 7638, and hope to leverage their experience in the hospitality industry to bring the property back to life by, “redirecting its purpose with a dedication to agriculture and greenspace.”

The property on Route 231 south heading toward Keswick, includes the post building, an outdoor pavilion, concession stand, baseball field and parking lot. The applicants indicate they plan to maintain the existing structures and ball field, while adding cold storage and production space.

The applicants plan to transfer the grassy pasture behind the hall into cultivated agricultural space that will incorporate multiple outdoor seating areas, rows of pick-your-own berries and scattered fruit trees.

With the agricultural zoning designation, the applicants plan to operate a craft brewery and farm winery. Walking trails will wind throughout the property and the existing forested areas are expected to remain. “With the ability to serve craft alcoholic beverages, we can and continue the legacy of the property by being a meeting place for all,” the applicants write.

The applicants estimate the business would create 7.5 full-time-equivalent positions. If the project is approved, their current Cville Beverage Tours business would relocate its headquarters on-site. Such a move would bring sales tax revenue and a fleet of 15 tour vehicles that also would be taxed in Orange County, the application noted. The bulk of taxable revenue, they note, will be from selling beers, cider and wine crafted on site.

In their project narrative, the applicants acknowledge the noise impact on neighboring property owners, since the site is in the middle of a residential neighborhood. They plan to add a privacy fence and plant large evergreen trees along the fencing to mitigate noise and maximize effectiveness.

Written comments to the planning commission should be no more than 500 words on a single sheet of paper and can be submitted by mail to Sandra Thornton, 128 W. Main Street, Orange, VA 22960; or by email to sthornton@orangecountyva.gov. Comments must be received by noon, Tuesday, Feb. 23. Application materials can be viewed at orangecountyva.gov. For more information, call (540) 672-4347 or email zoning@orangecountyva.gov.

The planning commission expects to consider the application at Thursday, March 4 meeting and ultimately will make a recommendation to the Orange County Board of Supervisors.

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