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Foundation seeks to rezone property
For headquarters, multi-sports complex

Sunday, September 22, 2013

By DEBBIE HALL - Bulletin Staff Writer

The Children of America Educational Foundation Inc. has filed applications with Henry County to rezone industrial property.

The foundation wants to rezone property at 901 Hollie Drive, the former Compton Wood Products Inc. building in the Patriot Centre industrial park, from Industrial I-1 to Limited Industrial I-2, according to its applications.

The zoning application states that the property mainly will be used as office headquarters for the foundation and as an indoor sports facility that will be a full service multi-sports complex.

The building, which also has a small attached office area, will be the site of some activities to raise funds for the organization, according to the application.

The Industrial I-1 designation is for manufacturing, warehousing and shipping facilities. An office complex is not a permitted use in that zone, according to county Planning and Zoning Director Lee Clark.

If the property is rezoned Limited Industrial I-2, the primary use can be an office building.

There is a “big difference between a primary use and an accessory use,” Clark said. “Every one of the manufacturing or other industries in the Patriot Centre have an office, but the office is a secondary use,” not the main use.

The foundation also has applied for a special use permit needed for the more than 80,000-square-foot industrial building and 15-acre site to be used for a sports complex, entertainment facilities and dance hall (including live music), according to the application and Clark.

Garland Smart owns the building, according to Roy Simon, president of the foundation. Simon said Thursday that he planned to pay $1.9 million to buy the building.

Clark said Virginia law and county ordinances allow for an application to be filed by the contract purchaser of a property, but the application also requires the owner’s consent. Smart has consented to the foundation’s application, Clark added.

Each application — one for the rezoning and one for a special use permit — cost $120, Clark said.

The applicant (in this case, the foundation) used a money order from Kroger to pay the full $240, he said.

Clark said the form of payment was memorable. “I have received money orders for payment before, but it is rare,” he added.

Foundation officials have said they plan to offer incentives to youth to stay in school. The foundation plans to hold a concert in the summer and have other activities to help pay for the initiative, Simon has said.

As owner/operator of the building, Simon will determine the mission, goals and objectives of the sports complex, the application states. Those goals and objectives will be accomplished by “providing state-of-the-art sports opportunities” for children and families, including individuals, school teams, the local college and any youth-serving organizations. Sports may include soccer, baseball, field hockey, dodgeball, lacrosse and others, the application states.

The foundation plans to use the building to generate other revenue by allowing it to be used as a venue for activities such as parties, meetings and community events, according to information submitted to the county.

Fundraising activities planned to be held on a weekly basis include arts and crafts, Patrick Henry Community College soccer team fundraising for winter gear, dances with live music, religious gospel shows (monthly), community churches and basketball games, concession stands, a telethon call center to raise funds for the foundation; vendor cookoffs with prizes; classroom spaces; musical performances; and race car drivers sponsorship for foundation, the application shows.

Further details on these plans were not included.

In the application, the foundation states it will use 40 percent of its donations, grants or other proceeds for operating costs and 60 percent for its Reach For Success incentive and mentoring programs.

The county planning commission will consider the application at its Oct. 9 meeting, Clark said.

The Henry County Board of Supervisors then would hold a public hearing on the proposed change during its Oct. 22 meeting, and the Board of Zoning Appeals would consider the request for a special use permit at its Oct. 23 meeting.


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