So we’re “moving forward”, but it was a long way in coming. Observe:
6 February 2003 – Submitted Special Exception.
7 March 2003 – called Department of Zoning and Evaluation (DZE) to ask if the packet had been given a number yet. The lady who answered looked it up and said that it had not finished being reviewed, but that all the pieces were there. (i.e. checklist complete) I mentioned it had been a month since submission and that I was told it was only a month-long review process. The lady said that it normally was. I asked if she thought it was due to the snow. She said that she would like to say that that wouldn’t make a difference, but it probably did. She suggested I call back in a week.
12 March 2003- called DZE. The SE had still not been given a number – no other information available.
17 March 2003 – called DZE. Woman on the phone said it was listed as “deficient.” She said we should have gotten a letter from the County – I told her we had thus far gotten no letter. I mentioned that the month review period was more than passed, and it had not been listed as deficient only a week earlier. The woman suggested I speak with Yet Another County Official. I was put through to his voicemail and left a message.
18 March 2003 – Yet Another County Official returned my call – I was not at my desk – he left me a message. I returned his call, and we spoke. He asked if we had received a letter from the county regarding the deficiency and seemed surprised we had not. He mentioned that the SE was deficient for two reasons. The first, that the tax map had a different acreage than our SE. (15.5 vs. 16.7) I mentioned that the tax map had been known to be in error, and we had addressed this problem. The second issue he mentioned was that this SE required a variance due to article 2-414.4 of the Zoning Ordinance. I told him that we had already addressed the issue of the variance in our statement of justification. He said it sounded like we had done our homework and that he would be in touch with his superiors. He said the determination must be done by the Zoning Director. He said he would call me back either at work or at home that evening when he had more news.
19 March 2003 – Having not heard back from Yet Another County Official, I called him. He mentioned that he had no news for me, but that he was certainly working on it. I told him that we just wanted to do whatever we could to make the process smooth, and asked that he call me if they needed any additional information or help. He said he would, and gave no indication of there being any items the County required from us.
– Feeling like the County might be able to stall and stall without giving our SE a number, I called Supervisor’s Aid in County Supervisor’s office. I summarized my conversation with Mr. Yet Another County Official, and asked her if they could indeed stall indefinitely. She said they couldn’t. She then added, however, that County Official 3 had called DZE to follow-up on the SE since it had been longer than the month review. He was told by County Official 4 that she was waiting to hear back from “Our Nextdoor Neighbor” on some issue. I told County Supervisor’s Aid that I was not aware that the DZE had tried to contact any of us for any reason, and that Yet Another County Official had certainly not led me to believe that they needed to contact us for anything. I told County Supervisor’s Aid that I would see if “Our Nextdoor Neighbor” had been out of town.
– I called “Our Nextdoor Neighbor” and he said that no one had tried to get a hold of him. I gave him the DZE phone number, and told him apparently County Official 4 was trying to get a hold of him for some reason. “Our Nextdoor Neighbor” mentioned that he found that strange, considering he signed me as his agent in this matter. He also didn’t recall his contact information being on the SE. I agreed.
– I called County Supervisor’s Aid back and told her that “Our Nextdoor Neighbor” had not heard from anyone. I also mentioned to her that I was the agent. She agreed that that was odd, and told me she would let me know if she had more news.
20 March 2003 – “Our Nextdoor Neighbor” called County Official 4 and left a message indicating that he had heard she needed to get a hold of him, and to please give him a call back.
21 March 2003 – I called Yet Another County Official. He said he had no news for me yet, and that our SE was now in the hands of his supervisor, Ms. Ruffner, and Mr. Langdon. He said that they had found the section in the statement of justification that referred to the variance for “Our Nextdoor Neighbor”‘s driveway. I told him that I had heard someone had tried to contact my neighbor, “Our Nextdoor Neighbor”, and I was wondering if it was normal procedure not to inform the agent of such a thing. He assured me that he was not aware of anyone trying to contact anyone, and that if they were, I would be the only person they would contact. He said even if they needed to contact the engineer, they would advise me that they were doing so. I thanked him, and wished him a nice weekend.
25 March 2003 – “Our Nextdoor Neighbor” let me know that as of today, County Official 4 never returned his phone message.
– I called County Supervisor’s Aid to let her know that Yet Another County Official indicated that they did not need to hear from us, and the County Official 4 never returned his call. She is going to speak to County Official 3 about it today and let me know.
26 March 2003 – I received a voice mail from County Official 4. She said County Official 3 told her we had some questions on our application. She checked with Virginia today and she said we were in pretty good shape. Everything is ready to be accepted at this point, it should be accepted today or tomorrow at the latest. She said we should be processed accordingly. She asked me to call her back if I had any particular questions.
– “Our Nextdoor Neighbor” also received an voice message from County Official 4. She apologized for the delay getting back to him; she wanted to look over the SE to see if anything was needed. She said it looks like we have everything they need to proceed; the SE will probably be accepted today or tomorrow – and given a case #. She said, as far as the variance he would need because of the proximity to the railroad, that would just be stated as a condition of the SE (i.e. I would request a variance before the Board of Zoning Appeals at the time I’m ready to apply for my house to be built on a specific location).
– I called County Supervisor’s Aid to thank her for her help and support. She was happy to know that things were moving along. She told me that we should be getting a planning commission number, and a date when it will go before the Board.
– I also called Yet Another County Official to thank him for his help on our case.
Done and done! Oh, what’s that? No problem with the acreage? Nothing about the variance? That’s what I thought. Am I having a home brew this evening? You bet I am. (By the way, this text was provided by Jeano, my astute and persistent better half)