Saturday, July 5, 2014

Supervisors' Digest July 2014

At the July 1 meeting of the Goochland Board of Supervisors it was revealed that a permanent traffic signal will be installed at the Hockett/Broad Street Road intersection “this fall.”

That’s the good news from VDOT—the state agency whose motto is “Oops!”
The bad news is that Ashland Road south of Rockville Road will be closed, “sometime in the next week or so” to vehicles weighing more than four tons, like big dump trucks hauling gravel from nearby quarries. These vehicles will be detoured onto eastbound Interstate 64 to southbound Rt. 288 to connect with Rt. 250.

Yes, boys and girls that means lots of big, heavy trucks will be making left turns at a place already known to be dangerous. The VDOT rep addressing the supervisors contended that “most” of the trucks are eastbound, so it shouldn’t be too much of a problem. Notice of this impending disruptive road work was not included in the VDOT report that appears in each month’s board packet. No word on how this will be enforced. The Sheriff’s Office does not have scales—or manpower—to set up on Ashland Road and weigh vehicles. 

During afternoon citizen comment, Adair and Roy Roper, who live on Manakin Road near Dover Hall, took the board to task for failing to enforce county zoning laws. Both Ropers-they spoke separately—contended that in the past few weeks two events at Dover Hall had attendance far in excess of the 400 person maximum allowed by the CUP granted last year that transformed the enormous private home into a commercial event venue.

Adair Roper said that on June 3, traffic generated by a Capital One affair at Dover Hall was so heavy that it took her more than 35 minutes to travel the three and one half miles from the Manakin/Broad light to her home. She said that drivers were pulling out and passing--remember Manakin Road is two lanes and narrow--and contended that emergency vehicles would have been unable to get through had there been a wreck. (Traffic studies included with the Dover Hall CUP application concluded that there was no need to build turn lanes for the site.)

Roy Roper said that an event at Dover Hall for the Lickinghole Creek Farm Craft Brewery drew more than 1,700 people. He said that he was told the county had somehow sanctioned that event. When Roy Roper complained to the Department of Community Development about the violations, he was told that the county does not have enough manpower to enforce zoning regulations.

Roy Roper further contended that county law states that CUP violations are a misdemeanor punishable by revocation of the CUP and a fine. The Code of Goochland reads thusly: The violation of any condition, restriction or guarantee arising from the granting of any use by special exception shall be a violation of this article and shall constitute a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not more than two hundred fifty dollars ($250.00). Each day such violation continues shall be considered a separate offense.
(Ord. of 4-25-90, § 7)

(Board Chair Manuel Alvarez, Jr., District 2, said that the county never suggested that the Brewery event be held at Dower Hall. It was a way for the Brewery to avoid the expense of a large crowd permit.) At the end of the afternoon session, the board went into closed session to discuss enforcement of zoning issues with the county attorney.

Mary Ann W. Davis was appointed at the new county assessor. She succeeds Glenn Branham, who retired at the end of 2013. Davis started work on July 1, the first day of the new fiscal year. Jeanne Bryant, Commissioner of the Revenue, who was appointed as interim assessor in April was thanked for her assistance.

A report on the EMS cost recovery program, which started last year, shows that $786,788 was collected to about mid-June. This program is ahead of expectations. County administrator Rebecca Dickson said that the billing policy has been adjusted so that statements now read that unpaid bills will not be turned over to a collection agency and only two notices are sent out. Of the money collected, only $70,000 was generated by co-pays.

Dickson pointed out that EMS cost recovery affects only users of EMS, unlike a tax rate increase, which applies to everyone. She said that the cost recovery revenue, roughly the equivalent of two cents on the tax rate, should guarantee three 24/7 EMS crews on duty in the county by September in addition to volunteer crews. She further explained that, in accordance with the wishes of fire-rescue volunteers, many of the new hires will be drivers to ensure that volunteer providers can get to emergencies.

The board voted to advertise public hearings for a number of ordinance revisions at its August 5 meeting. See the board packet on the county website for details.

Some of these address expansion of the Tuckahoe Creek Service District. A change in the allocation of taxes on TCSD residential property, which will cause no change on the taxpayer end, is also contemplated to further bolster debt service reserves.
Alvarez reported that Tommy Carter of Maidens, former Goochland Volunteer Fire-Rescue Chief was named one of the 2014 Hometown heroes by the Allen and Allen Law Firm of Richmond. Carter, who has been a fire-rescue volunteer since he was a teen-ager and still responds to emergencies, embodies the volunteer ethic of selfless commitment to community service.

At the evening citizen comment period, David Blakeny, who owns property on Millers Lane, wanted to know what the county policy is concerning revocation of CUPs when their holders ignore or skirt applicable regulations. He said that there needs to be a clear policy on this matter that Goochland citizens can understand.

Blakeny, alluding to the June 30 community meeting held at the Manakin Fire-Rescue Station about the Seventh Day Adventists intent to purchase the home and barn next to Dover Hall, asked the board to reconsider its guidelines for churches and other large gatherings in rural areas. The plan would convert the existing barn into a sanctuary seating up to 300 people with about 79 parking spaces. Residents of the area strongly oppose the proposal.

Blakeny thanked the supervisors for attending the meeting. Alvarez said that the Board believes its duty is to understand community reaction to issues. He said that the “great” citizen engagement at the meeting is what sets Goochland apart from its neighbors.

Following public hearings, the Board approved conditional use permit applications for a clean-up of the Moss Mine property on Shannon Hill Road and storage for asphalt chips on three acres of industrial property on Quarry Hill Road. (See board packet for details.)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is not the first time the county has had problems with enforcing the CUP's they pass. Some of the blame falls directly on the County Attorney's office for decisions made for one group or another