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Foundation withdraws rezoning application
Wednesday, October 23, 2013
By DEBBIE HALL - Bulletin Staff Writer
The Children of America Educational Foundation (CAEF) has withdrawn its application to rezone industrial property and acquire a special use permit.
The Henry County Board of Supervisors was scheduled to hold a public hearing on the rezoning application Tuesday after Roy Simon, founder of the CAEF, asked to rezone the more than 80,000-square-foot former Compton Wood Products building and a 15-acre tract at 901 Hollie Drive (Lot 7) in the Patriot Centre from Industrial I-1 to Limited Industrial I-2.
Simon said the property would be used to house the foundation’s headquarters.
However, in an Oct. 21 letter to Lee Clark, the county’s director of zoning and planning, Martinsville attorney Robert A. Williams wrote that he represents the foundation, and on its behalf, requested that the applications for rezoning and a special use permit be withdrawn.
“As I indicated to you, I think there were several things that were added that should not have been included,” wrote Williams, of the Williams, Luck & Williams law firm in Martinsville.
He did not elaborate in the letter and declined to elaborate when contacted Tuesday.
“I can’t discuss clients’ business,” he said.
Williams said in the letter that the foundation will make an application at a later date and with the appropriate changes. He did not indicate a timeline for those changes or when a new application would be filed.
“We will do that as appropriate,” he said Tuesday.
Williams, who also is chairman of the Martinsville School Board, said the fact that he is representing the foundation does not mean that the foundation is working with the city school division.
His representation “has nothing whatsoever to do with city schools,” Williams said. “I’m representing them in my capacity as an attorney.”
Foundation officials have indicated their headquarters would offer programs to youth, including a mentoring and tutoring program, with classrooms built and a teacher hired for each group of 10 participants; a full-service indoor multisport complex; and a financial incentive program to help keep at-risk students in school. Students enrolled in the incentive program would receive monthly stipends ranging from $100 for seventh-graders to $600 per month for seniors who stay in school.
The foundation stated in its application that the property would be used for fundraising activities such as weekly arts and crafts, community church basketball games, a telethon call center, cookoffs, musicals, plans for seeking sponsorships from race car drivers, entertainment, and dances with live music in several genres.
According to Clark, the rezoning was needed because the building’s current Industrial I-1 designation is for manufacturing, warehousing and shipping facilities. The I-2 designation includes buildings that see primary use as an office building.
The Planning Commission did not recommend that the supervisors approve the zoning application.