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There are cases in which Bedford County’s current zoning ordinance chases business out of the county, according to Lee and Stan Aylor. They presented that message to the Bedford County Board of Supervisors Monday night.
The Aylor brothers have owned Aylor’s Farm and Garden in Forest, located on U. S. 221, for three decades. They bought the property and got their business going there before the county had any zoning at all. When the county adopted a traditional zoning ordinance in 1998, their property was zoned commercial.
However, the ordinance contains two types of commercial zones and the one in which the Aylors’ business is located allows only offices. They discovered that recently when people who wanted to rent property from them for businesses found that they couldn’t because of the zoning. They Aylors’ business is grandfathered because it already existed before the zoning ordinance was adopted.
“Some of the people who wanted to rent property from us are now in Campbell County,” Lee Aylor said.
The Aylors property is adjacent to Forest’s convenience center. Lee Aylor noted that the property across the highway from them is in a zone that permits his type of business.
“It does represent a significant amount of tax money for the county,” commented District 4 Supervisor John Sharp.
The county is in the process of revising its zoning ordinance and one solution is to have one, rather than two, separate commercial zones. County Attorney Carl Boggess said that the supervisors could address this separately from the zoning ordinance overhaul, but it would be difficult to do it that way. Board Chairman Annie Pollard noted that work on the zoning ordinance had been put aside while the supervisors worked on the budget and promised to get back to it right away.
“It’s a shame that we drive away business opportunity,” Sharp commented after the meeting. “If we bring revenue to the Forest district [which Sharp represents], it helps every single citizen in Bedford County.”