Bedford County planning commission tables decision on proposed airport zoning

By  | 

BEDFORD Co., Va. (WDBJ7) -- Planning commissioners have deferred action on a proposed change to Bedford County's zoning ordinance, designed to accommodate the growth of airports. The action was taken after a public hearing on the matter was held Tuesday night.

While two small airports have operated in the New London and Moneta communities for years, Bedford County planners were recently asked to modify the language in their zoning ordinance to specifically address airport uses. The change was requested after Liberty University submitted plans to modify the airport in New London, which it recently purchased.

Bedford County's director of community development, Gregg Zody, has been working to craft language and a framework for possible airport zoning.

“My struggle is trying to balance the rights and wishes of the current property owners to continue enjoying their property and yet try to accommodate Liberty University’s desires," Zody told WDBJ7.

Liberty University submitted a rezoning request back in March. Zody said school leaders initially expressed interest in extending and expanding the runway at New London, continuing their flight program, rebuilding structures, and selling fuel.

The proposed airport zoning district, according to Zody, will allow LU to carry out its plans.

“I think it’s reasonable to allow them to have a general business office if they want to, small scale business repair services," Zody said.

The zoning proposal also includes the potential for car rentals and a snack bar, according to Zody. He said the language carries restrictions to exclude hotels and restaurants.

“If the airport would allow just hotels and dormitories, then that would just change the character of the area," Zody explained.

Bedford County's planning commission plans to hold a second public hearing on the proposed zoning change at a later date, after concerns are addressed with county staff.

Copyright 2019/WDBJ7. All rights reserved.