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Planning commission recommends denial of MAPAG special use permit

Planning commission recommends denial of MAPAG special use permit

With a 3-1 vote, the Orange County Planning Commission voted Thursday evening to recommend denial of a special use permit for the Mid-Atlantic Fireworks Guild to test and discharge fireworks on a series of long weekends on a 127-acre property on Woolfolk Lane in District 2. 

The proposed special use permit has prompted considerable interest among county citizens, with nearly 90 local letters submitted in opposition. Nearly 40 letters of support have been submitted, with most coming from out-of-county and out-of-state MAPAG members and several from residents near the subject property.

The commission formally closed a public hearing process that began months ago, though the application has since been modified, requiring a readvertised public hearing. 

At Thursday's conclusion of the second public hearing--with chairman Donald Brooks unable to attend--commissioners cited concerns about the special use permit process, complaints about previous fireworks demonstrations, the perception of spot-zoning (if approved) and a lack of tangible financial benefit to the county as reasons to recommend denial. Only District 5 commissioner Jim Hutchison supported the special use permit application. 

The application advances to the Orange County Board of Supervisors with a recommendation for denial. The board will schedule a public hearing before final determination. 

This story will be updated for the Sept. 10 issue of the Orange County Review.

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