Planned use developments are welcome in Halifax County after Halifax County Board of Supervisors adopted an ordinance establishing a Planned Use Development District when they met Monday evening.

This unanimous decision followed a public hearing in which no one spoke for or against the matter.

Planning and zoning administrator Detrick Easley told supervisors he’s “pretty excited” about this opportunity.

“We’ve talked about growth, and this really helps with growth,” said Easley.

With this ordinance, he said developers could now approach the board with plans for mixed uses on the same property. For example, he said, commercial properties with subdivisions in the back are planned use developments.

Permitted uses in a planned use development, according to the ordinance, include single-family dwelling; two-family dwelling; multiple-family dwelling; churches; schools; professional offices; clubs and lodges; parks, playgrounds and noncommercial recreational facilities, such as golf courses and tennis courts; neighborhood commercial retail and office uses that meet local shopping and business service needs; public utilities; off-street parking as required by this chapter; accessory uses and structures clearly subordinate and incidental to the permitted principal uses and structures; and home occupation.

Uses permitted with a conditional use permit include community centers, childcare centers, adult day care centers and facilities, activities and operations that are provided by a duly constituted unit of government.

When approaching supervisors with a planned use development, Easley said, “They will have a site plan of what’s going on the property.”

Applicants must meet with Easley and any other county official he deems appropriate, prior to submitting a rezoning application for a PUD, at which time the applicant must provide general, schematic plans for the development.

After all the preliminary development plans are provided, applicants should file a final development plan with the board of supervisors.

Vice chairman and ED-7 supervisor Garland Ricketts made the motion to adopt an ordinance establishing the planned use development-zoning district, which was seconded by ED-2 supervisor Ronnie Duffey, and unanimously approved by the board.

In other action Monday, supervisors unanimously amended an ordinance to allow second homes on a single parcel, mobile and manufactured homes and processing of agriculture products.

Easley said some of the amendments were in an effort to “clean-up” the ordinance, but the main change was to allow a second dwelling on a single parcel.

He said requests to do that have increased in the past five years. Currently, the ordinance does not allow a second dwelling on a single parcel causing people to subdivide land. Now, families can add a second dwelling with a family affidavit.

The affidavit, which shall be signed by the owner of the tract and the immediate family member, identifies the second dwelling to a qualifying family member and their relationship to the owner. A member of the immediate family is defined as any person who is a natural or legally defined offspring, including stepchildren, sibling, spouse, grandchild, grandparent or parent owner, as stated in the ordinance.

It also states structures in an agricultural district can be used for farming and agriculture operations which processes raw agricultural products into a finished product, if issued a conditional use permit.

A public hearing also was held on this matter, but no one spoke.

Also Monday evening, supervisors heard an update on the COVID-19 pandemic from Dr. Scott Spillmann, director of the Southside Health District, who participated electronically.

He said as of Monday, Halifax County had 2,695 cases of COVID-19 since March of 2020 with a “good amount” of hospitalizations and 73 deaths contributed to COVID-19.

The health district director also said the county’s positivity rate had decreased to 5.2%. He also said the county had been “fortunate lately” with no outbreaks.

As far as COVID-19 vaccinations, Spillmann said 10,035 Halifax County residents had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine as of Monday morning, while 6,065 were fully vaccinated.

“That means a third of the population 18 and older have been vaccinated,” said Spillmann.

“We have a long ways to go,” he added.

The health district director also spoke of his efforts to get FEMA to Halifax County to conduct vaccination clinics similar to the ones hosted in Danville’s J.C. Penney’s.

“The objective is to vaccinate everyone,” said Spillmann.

The goal, he said, is to get 75% or better of the population vaccinated by May in hopes of achieving herd immunity.

Chairman and ED-3 supervisor Hubert Pannell told Spillmann he has seen that people are beginning to remove their masks.

But, Spillmann said, “It’s important that we don’t let our guard down.”

He reminded the public of those who work in careers where they have to wear respirators for 12 hours a. He suggested the public find a well-fitted mask and to change it regularly.

“Please continue to wear your masks and stand six feet apart. It really does make a difference,” said Spillmann.

Pannell also asked Spillmann what he would say to African Americans who may be weary of getting the vaccine after providing statistics that say only 33.9% of African Americans have been fully vaccinated while 63.5% of white individuals have been vaccinated.

The chairman also said African American females also are receiving vaccines at a much higher rate than males. He said 57.8% of Black females have been fully vaccinated.

“We are doing our best to get our black and brown brothers and sisters vaccinated,” said Spillmann, who also noted that it’s harder for those who live in a rural area due to connectivity issues.

He also said that he has been in talks with the Danville chapter of the NAACP to get more community organizers to help get individuals vaccinated.

“It is discerning,” said Spillmann, who also said, “Women take better care of themselves. So, I urge all you guys to take better care of yourselves.”

He urged everyone to go to vaccinate.va.gov or call 1-877-VAX-IN-VA to sign up to receive an appointment to get vaccinated.

“Help yourself and help your neighbors,” Spillmann concluded.

Supervisors also completed the following Monday evening:

• Unanimously agreed to adopt a resolution proclaiming Saturday, April 17 as community clean-up day;

• Unanimously agreed to adopt a resolution recognizing the 100th birthday of Elizabeth Overton;

• Unanimously agreed to authorize county staff to complete the funding application for a USDA Community Facility Loan and Grant Fund for a front loader refuse truck following a public hearing in which no one spoke;

• Received an update from Jay Craddock with the Virginia Department of Transportation who said phase one of the Route 501 should last 40 days.

He said during phase two, southbound 501-traffic would be re-routed through Route 610, while they continue work on Route 501 for 132 days.

Craddock said during phase three, northbound 501-traffic would be re-routed through Route 610, and it should last 148 days.

The estimated date of completion is May 5, 2023.

• Received an update from Craddock on the county’s six-year pavement plan who suggested they pave White Lane, Talley Loop and Wild Turkey Run next, and the board took no action on the plan;

• Approved and authorized an agreement for the current fiscal year’s operations of the Southside Health District, which includes local funding of $228,049;

• Tabled discussion of the VA Loggers Association tax exemption request until further study allows for replacement of lost revenues as a result of the exemption;

• Denied a tax exemption request from Discovery Quest, LLC;

• Discussed a request from Chairman Pannell to consider naming the administrative building or the board of supervisor’s meeting room for Martin Luther King, Jr., and some supervisors suggested naming a roadway or bridge may be more appropriate; and

• Received an update on the courthouse renovation project from Otis Vaughan, building official, who said they’re “back in business” with Halifax County General District Court and juvenile and district court being operational Monday in their new home.

Ashley Hodge is the editor for The Gazette-Virginian. Contact her at ahodge@gazettevirginian.com

Ashley Hodge is the editor for The Gazette-Virginian. Contact her at ahodge@gazettevirginian.com