Items on the Wednesday, November 8 monthly meeting agenda for the Goochland Board of Supervisors ran the gamut from grappling with growth issues to expansion of by-right chicken keeping.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new Emergency Operations/ Communications center that included tours, preceded the supervisors’ meeting. During opening remarks, Goochland Sheriff James L. Agnew Board reported that he and others from county administration attended the 28th Annual Valor awards ceremony in Richmond where Cpl. Harrison Hankins received the Bronze award for actions taken during a December, 2016 motor vehicle crash. Goochland Fire-Rescue Chief Bill MacKay noted that this is the first time anyone can recall that a Goochland responder has been recognized this way.
Visit the Facebook page for the Goochland County Sheriff’s Office to view the body- cam footage of the incident. The county is blessed to have officers like Cpl. Hankins. He also served in the United States Marine Corps, and is another veteran whose skills, experience, and integrity strengthen our community.
Board Chair Ned Creasey, District 3, an early supporter of the state-of-the-art communications facility, missed the event due to ill health. Creasey also lobbied successfully for the inclusion of area Ham Radio operators in the emergency communications mix as a belt-and-suspenders measure should the metaphorical fan turn brown.
The new EEC/EOC came to be as the result of the vison of Maj. Don Bewkes, who translated ideas into a cardboard model that became reality. After Hurricane Isabel blew through Goochland in September 2003, it became apparent to Bewkes that the county needed an EOC that is a self-contained nerve center for the county in the aftermath of widespread emergency. Bewkes oversaw all facets of the design and construction of the facility, which was completed on time and on budget.
|Maj. Don Bewkes explains new equipment at EEC/EOC|
Large enough to house representatives of all county agencies involved in disaster response and recovery for extended periods of time, the new center was built with an eye towards expansion as the county grows. The facility includes many ingenious touches, like paint that permits walls to serve as whiteboard, and raised flooring for easy access to electronic cables.
The exterior of the new building blends into existing structures so well that some people do not believe it is new.
Back in the board room, the afternoon supervisors’ session began with County Administrator John Budesky congratulating Goochland native Justin Verlander for his Houston Astros’ victory in the 2017 World Series. Budesky said that the county would be honored to have Verlander and his new bride, Kate Upton, visit a board meeting. Kathy and Richard Verlander, parents of the star pitcher, live in Goochland and chair fundraising efforts for Goochland Pet Lovers.
Budesky thanked everyone who participated in the county’s fall festival for making it successful. He said that annual Christmas tree lighting will take place on Friday, December 1, starting at 6 p.m. The tree is located in the field opposite the intersection of Fairground and Sandy Hook Road in Courthouse Village.
On November 28, the audit committee will receive the certified annual financial report (CAFR) in a meeting at 1:30. Following the supervisors will hold special meeting to accept the CAFR. After that, the supervisors will hold a workshop with the school board to discuss their facility study, which is a part of the 25 year capital improvement plan, currently in progress.
Budesky said he is pleased with the turnout at this year’s town hall meetings and engagement of our citizens. “This is a great opportunity for us to hear what we need to hear and not what we want to hear,” he said.
During the monthly VDOT update, Marshall Wynn said that there is still no word on “the year” in which improvements to the Rt. 228/Board Street Road interchange will be advertised. Dates for upcoming gas line work on Manakin Road are not yet firm as no permits have been issued. Wynn opined that this is the wrong time of year for gas line work.
Beth Parker Ferguson, 2017 Goochland Christmas Mother, spoke to the supervisors about the program, which as been brightening the holiday season for the less fortunate in our community since before she was born. The Goochland Christmas Mother provides food, new clothing, toys, books, and other essential items to qualified Goochland County families with children, seniors age 60 and older, and disabled adults during the holiday season.
Ferguson, who has taught at Randolph Elementary School for 13 years and a lifetime member of the Goochland Volunteer Fire-Rescue, is the embodiment of community service. She personally knows many of the families who qualified for the means tested program “I’ve taught many of their children and see them at Food Lion. I had no idea they were struggling,” she said.
The Goochland Christmas Mother organization is grass roots compassion at its finest. Visit http://www.goochlandchristmasmother.org/ to find out how you can volunteer. If you have an extra bean or two, this 501 (c) (3) organization accepts donations year round.
District 4 Supervisor Bob Minnick vented his frustration at the statutory straight jacket the county find itself in thanks to the revised proffer law passed during the 2016 session of the Virginia General Assembly.
Following the public hearing on a rezoning case for a handful of lots near the intersection of Hermitage and Manakin Roads, whose fiscal impact on the county is still unclear. The rezoning application would create subdivision with two different zoning districts. GOMM has listened to the applicant’s presentation and still has no idea why it should be approved.
“The GA did us no significant favor with the new proffer law, and in fact did a tremendous disservice to county staff that wrack their brains to fit round pegs into square holes and does no favors for the developer community or our constituents. Based on the strict constrict of how I’m supposed to look at this, I have no idea how to judge the long term capital impact of this on the county.”
The board voted unanimously to defer action on this case until its March meeting, by which time, hopefully, the development impact model has been finished and adopted. It seems likely that action on the two major subdivisions forwarded to the supervisors by the November 2 tie vote at the Planning Commission will also be deferred.
Director of Community Development Jo Ann Hunter said that the goal of the capital impact model is to ease the burden of crafting development impact statements and speed the process.
Later in the evening, the supervisors unanimously approved expansion of by-right chicken keeping in R-1 zoning districts, which are predominantly in Districts 2, 3, 4, and 5. It precludes roosters and permits up to six female chickens, which shall not be permitted to trespass beyond the property line and must be kept in an enclosure of some sort—a fenced a yard would qualify. Coops and other enclosures must be behind dwellings and kept clean at all times. Trespass will be enforced by complaint to the planning staff.
Nancy Simpson contended that chickens provide an infinite amount of laughter. “There’s this sense of being back in nature and what Goochland is all about. They remind us that there are good things in our world. This is a good things for kids and all the way up to grandparents, to grow high quality protein.”