Our Zoning Request - more info

This is the original engineering map prepared for the rezoning application.  Click on the map to open a larger version in a new window.

Basically, the engineers and zoning suggested that we rezone a portion of the property that was NOT above the cave. The Western (left) "triangle" shaped lot is zoned agricultural, the Eastern (right) square lot is zoned C-3 Commercial. The Northeastern corner is the only useable space that is not over the cave. The Southeastern corner (as you know if you've driven along Old Quarry Road) is on the other side of a protected creek and it's practically vertical. We chose that location because it would use the driveway already in place, parking is easily accessible, it's relatively flat, and it has beautiful tree cover.

It may be a bad negotiating move, but I'm not afraid to admit that the plan we submitted to the engineer was MUCH less dense!  We drew in 31 buildings, and he drew in 56!  He was confident that the density was still not excessive and we might as well ask for as much as possible, and negotiate it down if necessary. Frankly, we don't like it and think it's too dense. We'll NEVER build that tight in that space. The whole point was to have trees and shade and gardens.

He drew it with 20 "Bunkhouses", 32 "Cabins" and 5 "Yurts."  Capacity there would be 154 to as many as 234 people. Frankly, we don't even LIKE that idea!

Here is what we originally proposed: (Click to see a bigger map.)

Here we show 11 "Bunkhouses", 17 "Cabins, and 3 "Yurts".  Capacity there would be 83 to 128 people.   For us to even fill THAT space would require us to be about FIVE times more people than we have now.  Our map isn't to scale correctly, the engineer drew them at the size we designed them - and so could fit a LOT more.  But that's not really what we had in mind!  If you deleted every other one from the engineers map (25) you'd be at the 31 we planned for - and there'd be space between them!

(The bright green dot is a open pavilion and the grey is potential parking space.)(The blue square with lines is the greenhouse, the little red rectangle is a barn, and the big green square is crops. The brown lines are walking trails. None of those are at issue.) 

And, quite honestly, while we're willing to live in closer quarters than many Americans, we still think 234 people in that space is just TOO much.

Many of the people that come to visit us are here for as little as a few hours or a weekend - up to maybe a month. We can accomodate short-term visitors with other options. The C-3 zoning category already allows us to have a hotel, a campground, an RV park - and a church - without asking anybody for permission.  In fact, we can have a gas station, a convenience store, a residential treatment center, a hospital, an amusement park, a school, a bank, a gun store, a winery, a fast-food restaurant, a vehicle repair shop and more - and NOBODY gets a hearing to say otherwise. Those are ALL pre-approved uses in a C-3 district.  (Don't believe us, see page 95-98 here.)

We want to be good neighbors and not cause any problem for anybody. Let me say again, this Farm is NOT a rehab or a half-way house or a homeless shelter. This is a RESIDENTIAL CHURCH - and we expect that means that people will act like you do when you go into a big cathedral - you mind your mouth, keep your voice down, and act respectful.  Even if they don't particularly care about Jesus - people just know that it's not a place to goof around and act stupid.

If you're reading this and you don't like us and don't want a church in your backyard, I'm sorry to tell you but you don't really have a choice. We're buying this property no matter what. We're already occupying the warehouse space in the cave. We fully intend on having church services there. A church is a pre-approved use of this property. We're going to proceed with the farm, the greenhouse and other plans for the land. The only difference is whether a few people are going to be living there and working the farm - or driving in every morning from somewhere else. There will be much LESS traffic on the road if they already live there.

OK, all of that said, what we're trying to communicate is that OUR original design wasn't nearly so dense and we have no intention of building out to the limits of what was drawn up.  We're open to some adjustment with Zoning as necessary.  We WANT green space.

If what freaked you out about this was the human waste composting idea, go to this page.  We think everybody ought to do it - and if we did, it would save 31% of the drinking water produced in America.  Don't say you want things to get better and then stop the folks that are actually TRYING.  It should require a permit to poop in drinking water!  But that's what folks are doing every day. Then it cycles back after being chemically treated and you drink it - or poop in it - again.

If you're on the county or city council or other board, let me ask you this question that has been bugging me.  Why did you vote into place "Green" building incentives that reduce fees - as if it's a good thing that should be encouraged - but then make it such a hassle to get permission to build in any of the ways that would GET the incentives?  Why do we need a PUD to get permission to build smaller-than-normal houses, but then we get points on the Green building checklist for doing so?  If it's a good thing and should be encouraged, then why get special permission and have to pay zoning/variance fees (and fight neighbors) to do it?!  Composting toilets are ON the "Green" checklist!  Recycling gray water is ON the checklist!  And why aren't there penalties for folks building 10,000 square foot houses for TWO PEOPLE to live in?  Please give me a call if you have a good answer for any of those.

We have Open Houses scheduled for Thursday, August 20th from 6-8pm, Saturday, August 23rd from 2-4pm and Saturday, August 30th from 2-4pm.  We welcome any interested parties to come out and meet, ask questions, get a tour and have a snack. We have some really great folks here that we'd like you to meet.

NEW UPDATE - 8/25/15

In discussion with the Zoning office, we've redrawn the site plan to be more like what we originally intended.  It lowers the density by over half and reduces the number of people on the land back down to what we originally has asked for.  (I know that's a bad sentence. I'm in a hurry. My Mom has been dead for over 20 years and I can still hear her telling me not to end a sentence in a preposition!)

Here is the new map as submitted:

We're NOT going to have a Zoning meeting on September 1. We're still on hold because of a required water supply study, an engineering report to the Dept. of Natural Resources about our plan for water treatment, and a highway study.

We'd still like ya'll to come visit at the Open House on Saturday, August 30th from 2 to 4pm.  Maybe we'll have more as we get closer.  Pretty soon we'll have the exit lighting and other things in place and start having church services out there.  Everybody is invited!