Saturday, July 9, 2011

Hot time

Summer in the county

Returning to work the day after delightful fireworks defied the drippy skies over Courthouse Village, the Goochland Board of Supervisors worked their way through a routine agenda at the July 5 meeting.

Citizen comment included remarks denouncing the county’s ongoing efforts to comply with the state Urban Development Area (UDA) mandate. Community meetings are scheduled for July 19 at 7 p.m. at Centerville Company 3 and 6p.m. on July 21 in the board meeting room just before the July meeting of the planning commission. County administration does seem to be paying attention to citizen input on this so plan to attend one or both meetings.

Opponents of the UDA mandate contend that it is a part of something called Agenda 21, a scheme to concentrate populations so they are more easily controlled. Regardless of the rationale behind creation of UDAs, the Commonwealth has better things to do with its time and money than poke its nose into local land use matters.

A school board candidate asked that the projected date for presentation of the 2011-12 school budgets be moved back from January 26, 2012 to permit review by the incoming school board. County administrator Rebecca Dickson said that date was set by advertising deadlines, but it is believed that something will be worked out.

Business at the Goochland Drive In must be booming, because there was a complaint about the traffic it generates near the Hadensville exit on Interstate 64.

Dickson reported on a meeting with Powhatan officials about an application to draw water from the James River that they are preparing to submit to the Army Corps of Engineers. Concern was expressed by the board at its June meeting because the proposed intake facility will include a concrete bunker affair about 130 feet long and 15 feet high that will extend into a part of the James River little changed by civilization. Information submitted in June included a map with a rough location.

Dickson suggested inviting the Powhatan County Engineer to the the August 2 board meeting to provide more specifics. Rudy Butler, District 4 pointed out that the Goochland boundary is the high water mark of the James, so Powhatan may be building something on our territory and we need to know what it will look like.

Powhatan hopes to withdraw water from the James at this location to serve future commercial activity in the Flat Rock area.

The economic development consultants are working away, said Dickson, and will be back in the county next week to meet with stakeholders they missed on the first go round. A brief survey will be used to gather feedback from small businesses in the county.

About 6,000 people attended the fireworks on the Fourth. Derek Stamey, Director of Parks and Rec and his staff are to be congratulated for not cancelling. Our great deputies and fire-rescue volunteers also get credit for keeping everyone safe.

Maj. Don Bewkes of the sheriff’s office reported that there were no incidents of any kind at the fireworks! Part of the cost of the display was underwritten by the 623 Landfill. How many of you would be willing to chip in a few bucks to defray the cost in future years?

Interim treasurer Pamela Cooke Johnson updated the supervisors on her progress in cleaning up the mess in that office including implementation of a new policy on delinquent payments.

She took the time to recognize deputy treasurers Valerie Johnson, Dana Jordan, Tonya Proffitt and Leola Payne for their extraordinary service since the arrest of the former treasurer.

Johnson said that while most people have been kind and understanding, a few “stinkers” heaped abuse and anger on these women following the previous treasurer’s arrest. They stayed and did their job and are working hard to restore the reputation of the Treasurer’s office.

The Rivergate water pumping station on River Road has been handling more homes than it was designed to accommodate and needs to be updated, Dickson reported.

Sounds like the exterior of this building got far more scrutiny from the Design Review committee than its innards received from a functional aspect by the former county engineer. This pumping station was built only a few years ago when most of the new subdivisions along River Road were on the books.

Under another heading, the board learned that about $10,000 was refunded to a public water customer in the Centerville area when it was discovered that he had been charged the connection fee for a one inch line but instead had a five eights inch water line. Must the county dig up every existing utility line to get this stuff straight?

The supervisors recognized the team that worked hard to create the redistricting plan, which has received initial approval from the U. S. Justice Department. Primaries and other elections will be held as scheduled. That includes a primary on August 23 to select candidates for the newly created 22nd District seat in the Virginia Senate.

Dickson reported that the West Creek Medical Center is moving along and should be open next year. The Alligator Fuels project on Pouncey Tract Road, which has provided the ancillary benefit of extension of water and sewer lines to the northeast corner of the county, is also moving right along.

The board voted 4-1 to approve the purchase of a six acre parcel of land on Rt. 522 in Courthouse Village. James Eads District 5 was in dissent. No reason other than to provide an additional access point to the high school property was stated.

The board approved forwarding an amendment to the county’s comprehensive land use plan to indicate that the entire Bellview Gardens subdivision in Centerville is for residential use only. The last revision of the Comp Plan failed to recognize the existence of Bellview Gardens, which left a land use loophole that almost placed a large Goodwill store at the front of this community.

This is a long overdue measure and the reason that the board left itself the option to revise the comp plan to reflect existing conditions.

Ned Creasey, District 3, said that he has received complaints from constituents in the Gum Spring areas about degrading Verizon wireless service that has drastically slowed wireless internet service.

One gentleman said he can no longer work from home because of the drop in signal. A representative from Verizon will be at the August 2 meeting to address these concerns. Those experiencing wireless difficulties should contact their supervisor. (Visit the supervisor tab on the county website at for contact information.)

Citizen comment at the evening session included a reproach of the supervisors for keeping the malfunction in the treasurer’s office under their hats; complaints about the lack of a noise ordinance and failure to seek a way to protect residents from noisy neighbors and a request for more wireless towers to improve internet and cell phone service.

A proposed change on the collection frequency for personal property and car tax, from annually to two ties per year, was indefinitely postponed. The measure would have resulted in a one- time $2.1 million in tax revenues by moving some payments into a different fiscal year. Both the interim treasurer and commission of the revenue asked that the board postpone this action until 2013.

An application for a conditional use permit by S. B. Cox Ready Mix to operate a concrete plant on land zoned M-2 in the Lanier Industrial Park passed unanimously. A citizen questioned the need for the conditional nature of the operation contending that it should be a by right use in M-2, which is intended for intense industrial activity.

Butler concurred stating that many existing zoning ordinances do not reflect changes in the ways that many industries must now operate given more stringent environmental regulations imposed by the state and federal government.

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