A major site plan for the revitalization of a grocery store in Afton was approved by the Nelson County Planning Commission last week.

On Dec. 18, the planning commission approved a major site plan for a grocery store and apartments at 1889 Avon Road in Afton submitted by Justin and Olivia Shimp. Philippa Proulx, North District representative, voted against the motion. The approval came with the condition confusing language in the application be changed. Proulx said she had issues with the submitted site plan, including language issues between “studio” and a “one bedroom,” the boundaries of the property, and whether or not different state department approvals are based on the current site plan in front of the commissioners.

“I don’t know how the health department makes their determinations, but what they were looking at is not the same as what we are looking at,” Proulx said.

Justin Shimp addressed her concerns, including her major concerns of health department approval.

“The health department has and reviewed the site plan and permit, and they are prepared to sign off on it. So it’s kind of their call, [...] as far as studio or one-bedroom, it’s really their domain to sign off on that. They will review that — they have reviewed it — and I have correspondence that they’re prepared to sign the site plan. It’s not an issue. They have reviewed all of them. They have seen this one too,” Shimp said.

The plans, which included rezoning and a special use permit approved by the Nelson County Board of Supervisors in January 2019, include a grocery store previously run called Anderson’s Grocery, an existing building with three bedrooms, and a new building with four different apartments. The Shimps are hoping to open a local, green-style market where Anderson Grocery used to run and provide housing in the county.

“The three-bedroom house is there and the store is there. He’s adding a four-bedroom apartment building and 475 square feet to the store part. So it’s five dwelling units total,” Dylan Bishop, director of planning and zoning said on Dec. 19.

The major site plan does not need approval from the board of supervisors. The project now has three weeks to break ground or the original special use permit from January 2019 will be declared expired.

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Erin Conway covers Nelson County for The News & Advance. Reach her at (434) 385-5524.

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