Liberty University, City Revise Industrial Zoning

Lynchburg, VA - No doubt, Liberty University is building very fast. The institution wants more independence over that growth, however.

Liberty has several hurdles to jump with the city before putting up a new building. Other institutions like Centra and Lynchburg College are behind the move, but Liberty is making a big push.

The city's ready to make changes. Council members were hammering out the details at a work session Tuesday afternoon.

It is a complicated process, which involves a lot of zoning rules. Liberty University sits near a highway, a train track and retail. The school wants new industrial zoning to fit its industrial location.

David Corry is general counsel at Liberty. For him, the school should have industrial zoning if it sits in an industrial section.

"It will be much better because we can know as a matter of right what we can construct on our campus," said Corry.

The city's listening. They created two types of zoning; named 'IN-1' and 'IN-2' - for industrial areas like LU. If passed, Liberty won't need special permission from city council to build.

"We can now just go to the building officials like any other commercial builder would do when they want to put something on property they own," said Corry.

"Approval of every building in terms of getting a building permit, yes, that makes sense. But, to get zoning approval for every building is what's the hardest part," Corry continued.

"They wanted a lot more freedom to grow inside the walls of their campus," said Laura Hamilton.

Laura Hamilton chairs the city's planning commission. She says there's been a lot of give and take talk between the city and university.

City council is looking at this Tuesday. But, Liberty getting the zoning it wants won't happen soon.

This issue will go back to the planning commission for another public hearing, and then back to council.