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York Point Rezoning: Supervisor George Hrichak, the Lone "No? Vote
This is the fourth article in a series on the board of supervisor?s decision.
By Shelby Mertens

Hrichak imageYork County Board of Supervisor George Hrichak, who represents the county's 4th District, was the only supervisor to vote against the York Point rezoning on June 17.
Hrichak's vote was overruled by the majority of supervisors who supported the plan to rezone the neighborhood to a new R33 residential district, which stripped York Point residents of their agricultural rights.
Hrichak voted against the rezoning because he thought a compromise could be reached between oyster farmer Anthony Bavuso and the residents of York Point.
"Ideally, an agreement of sorts between the Bavusos and the neighbors I believe should have been worked out," Hrichak said during his closing remarks at the June 17 meeting.
Hrichak said the truth is somewhere in the middle and that establishing performance standards would have been a better way to regulate agricultural activities without completely prohibiting it.
"If we wait and work out some performance measures, that would put the operation more in line with what the neighbors are looking for," he said.
Performance standards are requirements, or expectations, that landowners must meet in order for the activity to be allowed. The county already has some performance standards in place. The York County Planning Commission proposed several performance standards at the May 14 public forum. The Planning Commission did not recommend the board of supervisors rezone York Point.
Some of the proposed performance standards for aquaculture included: a 100 ft. minimum lot width at the shoreline, 100 ft. minimum separation between the site of workboat docking and offloading activities to adjacent properties, and outdoor storage only in the rear yard and not within 25 ft. of the property line. The proposed performance standards for agriculture operations included a minimum two-acre lot area, 100 ft. setback from the residential property line for any fenced confinement area for livestock and a 25 ft. minimum separation from any property line.
Hrichak believes the performance standards would have satisfied those York Point residents who were concerned about the sight, smell and noise of the aquaculture operation.
The York Point neighborhood was split in half over the rezoning, according to Hrichak. He said the goal should have been to resolve that number to make all the residents content.
"It's a neighborhood issue," Hrichak said. "(You have to think) what would make both sides in the neighborhood happy." Hrichak also brought up the fact that Bavuso is currently involved in a lawsuit against York County over whether the county's special- use permit requirement is in violation of the Right to Farm Act in the Code of Virginia. Depending on how the court rules, Bavuso may be allowed to continue his oyster operations regardless of the rezoning, Hrichak said. The rezoning ordinance passed by the board allows businesses that operated lawfully prior to the change to be "grandfathered," which means if Bavuso wins his case, he would still be allowed to continue his operations while the rest of the neighborhood is barred from farming.
"If the court rules in his favor he could be allowed to operate, but nobody else in the neighborhood will. That's a possibility," Hrichak said. ichak pointed out the longterm effects of rezoning York Point and the impact it will have in the future.
"If we rezone it to R33, future generations will not have that opportunity (to farm), even though this one property (Bavuso) would be able to continue to use aquaculture in that neighborhood," he said.

 





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