Board of Zoning Appeals Approves Authority’s Variance Request

Board of Zoning Appeals Approves Authority’s Variance Request

June 25, 2014


​The Board of Zoning Appeals (“BZA”) for Bedford County approved the Bedford Regional Water Authority’s (“Authority”) request for a zoning variance at the BZA’s June 24th meeting. This variance request was for replacing the water intake building at Smith Mountain Lake.

A presentation given at the meeting stated “According to the Virginia Department of Health, once a plant is regularly exceeding 80% capacity, plans are to be put in place for the upgrade of the facility to facilitate an increase in capacity. Plus, the recent reversion of the City of Bedford requires immediate increase in capacity”.

The Authority requested four variances:

  1. Minimum front yard setback
  2. Minimum side yard setback
  3. Maximum lot coverage
  4. Utility service within 100 feet of existing residence

At the BZA meeting the Authority gave a presentation on the intake project, the board was able to discuss the proposal, and a public comment period was also available. The only person who spoke at the public comment period was Jerome Zizzo, resident and president of the High Point Property Owner’s Association (the community association that owns the property where the intake is located.). He stated that his house is the one next to the intake building, and this new building did not bother him. He also said that he saw this as a positive project for the community.

One of the main reasons for asking for multiple variances is that the lot for the intake is 3.13 acres but 2.88 acres are under water. The Authority is further limited to remain within the easement area granted to them on this lot by the High Point Property Owner’s Association. It is also imperative to keep the existing infrastructure operational during the construction. Therefore there is a very small footprint for the actual building to be constructed. However, since the Authority has such a small area of land to construct the new building, every effort is being made to take advantage of existing infrastructure and to minimize disturbance of the rest of the area, which also serves as a community parking area/boat dock access.

“The intake project is a great example of how the Authority works with the community to ensure that both the Authority’s and community’s needs are met in a mutually beneficial way,” said Brian Key, Authority Executive Director.

This new intake will allow the Authority to take out more water from Smith Mountain Lake. This corresponds with the Authority’s approved permit that allows an average annual daily flow of up to 6 million gallons a day to be taken from the lake.