After the Board of Zoning Appeals determined that they did not have the legal right to handle the Special Exemptions Application that had been submitted by Chip Hayes of Oakstone Land and Capital Company on May 13, the Planning Commission met with Hayes and Rance Frye to state that they had decided to create an R3 zone specifically for their project. This type of zone is not significantly different from an R1 zone, and it designated for high or medium-density housing. R1 zoning is designed for standard residential housing and prohibits homes under 800 square feet. Because Oakstone only builds tiny homes, R3 would allow them to build homes 299-799 square feet. This new zone is denser than R1 and would not allow them to build quite as many homes, but it would still allow them to proceed with development soon. This plan, however, will no longer be allowed to be put in place.
Legal counsel stated that this plan is not fully legal and that he will do a special training session with the Planning Commission so that they can create a plan that will not conflict with any laws and will still allow Oakstone to begin construction in a couple of months.
Frye stated that Oakstone’s primary goal is to create a safe, family-friendly environment that will increase the amount of revenue received from tourists. He added that he and his compatriots are “fully vested in being a part of the community for the next 30 years” and that there will be onsite development and management. Because this will be a higher-scale community, no wild parties will be allowed on the premises. They also plan to build a small amphitheater on the grounds where local artists can play, to refurbish the old bridge, and to redesign an old building on the site to look like an old whiskey house. Those who purchase homes from Oakstone may also enroll their homes in a rental program so that they can also receive profits from the project. Roughly two dozen people from local communities will need to be hired in order to maintain the grounds, and because the company is determined to maintain the quality of the development’s environment, they are willing to pay the money necessary to obtain the best of the best. Frye stated that he understands why not everyone is on completely in favor of the project, so to alleviate any concerns, he encourages those who are interested to tour or stay at one of Oakstone’s other development properties so that the community can see a completed example of what he and Hayes are planning to do in Lynchburg. Frye stated that he and Hayes want their service to be an asset to the community and “want to be a part of Lynchburg’s growth in a good way so that the county’s tourism is supported.”
Because Lynchburg’s occupancy will increase with the project, the revenue rate is projected to benefit substantially. Using the numbers from a similar development that the company did in Grundy County, Oakstone estimates that, if they built 80 homes on the site, the county will receive roughly $99,600 in property taxes, $85,395 in occupancy tax, and $283,768 in sales tax each year.