The Goochland County Board of Supervisors started its April 5 meeting by appointing County Attorney Norman Sales interim county administrator while it searches for a successor to Rebecca Dickson, who retired at the end of March. Sales, who has been county attorney since early 2010, worked closely with Dickson and is familiar with day to day operations of local government.
Sales is a graduate of Old Dominion University and the Marshall Wythe School of Law at William & Mary. His experience includes decades of service in the City of Richmond, culminating with the position of City Attorney, from which he retired before coming to Goochland. His skill, attention to detail, and gentle demeanor will keep things on course.
Board Chair Bob Minnick, District 4, said that the nationwide search for a new county administrator continues. The supervisors held two offsite closed meetings for the purpose in late March and have two more scheduled for April 11 and 12. Selecting the chief executive officer for the county is perhaps the most important task this Board has so far undertaken. It is appropriate and fair to conduct this search behind closed doors. The supervisors must be mindful of the trust that the citizens have placed in them as they complete this task.
Marshall Winn of VDOT reported that work on the Rockville Road box culvert replacement hit something of a snag when it was discovered that the old culvert was sitting on rock. The area is called “Rockville” for a reason. Mitigation activities are underway and Wynn is optimistic that the project will soon be back on track. He also reported that his son, Matt, plays catcher for the Richmond Flying Squirrels.
The eons old dispute between Goochland and Louisa counties over the exact location of the boundary between the two jurisdictions may be nearing its end. Following a ruling by the Virginian General Assembly, permitting the use of GIS to resolve the boundary, Louisa finally agreed to finish the task, if Goochland picks up most of the tab. According to a memorandum of understanding approved by the Louisa County Board of Supervisors at its April 4 meeting, both counties will collaborate on the location of the new boundary using a combination of GIS technology, property records, and traditional survey methods after which they will petition the Circuit Court to obtain court orders confirming the agreed upon border.
Goochland will pay the costs of engineers and surveyors up to $100,000. Louisa will contribute staff time and pay for its publication and notification costs. As Goochland tends to be conservative when budgeting for items like this, we hope the final expenditure is far less. It’s past time for this issue to be resolved and end confusion over emergency response; school attendance; and taxation. Given that Louisa is considering increasing its current real estate tax from 72 cents per $100 of valuation to 74 cents—Goochland’s is expected to remain at 53 cents—landowners might want to be in our fair county.
Goochland Assessor Mary Ann Davis reported that reassessment notices were sent to owners of all 14,759 parcels of land in the county in January. Appeals were made on 149 assessments, of which 55 were satisfied by phone. Of the remainder, follow up letters were sent resulting in value decreases for 53 properties; four assessments were increased; and 37 remain unchanged. The estimated total land value for Goochland, including minerals, is $5.1 billion. Currently, there are three outstanding appeals to the Board of Equalization, two residential and one commercial. That number could change as the deadline for appeals is April 15, which will be addressed at the BOE meeting expected to be held on June 10.
The Board approved a resolution permitting a rabies clinic at the corner of Sandy Hook and Fairground Road on April 17 from 2 to 4 p.m. A fee of $10 will apply to each cat or dog.
Authorization for the county administrator to execute a contract with the firm of PBMares for the fiscal year 2016 audit was approved.
The Board voted to proclaim the week of April 24-30 Hunger Awareness Week and encourage all citizens to participate in food drives to support local food distribution centers including the Goochland Free Clinic and Family Services’ Food Pantry and the Victory Christian Food Pantry. The proclamation noted that western Goochland is considered a “food desert” where populations live 10 or more miles form a grocery store in rural areas.
April was designated as Child Abuse Prevention Month. The county Department of Social Services and Goochland Community Partners who work to prevent or mitigate this scourge on society include: the 16th Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court Services; Goochland CASA; Goochland Free Clinic and Family Services; Goochland Branch of the Pamunkey Regional Library; Goochland YMCA; Goochland Council of Churches; Goochland Powhatan Community Services Board; Goochland Health Department; Chamber of Commerce; Goochland Office on Youth; and the public schools and parks and recreation department. Swaths of blue pinwheels around the county support this event.
The Board authorized what amounts to refinancing of a portion of water and sewer bond debt through the Virginia Resources Authority incurred about ten years ago for utility improvements in the Courthouse Village area. This will result in an annual savings of approximately $48,000.
During its evening session, the Board approved a conditional use permit (CUP) to permit Ragland Memorial Church on Sandy Hook Road to build an addition. A CUP was needed because the larger building will exceed the 10,00 square foot threshold in county ordinance.
A rezoning application to add a final 8.67 acres to Kinloch for a new entrance off of Hermitage Road and a few more exquisite home, was also approved. No turn lanes will be added and, at the last minute, the applicant offered full cash proffers on the lots, even though the application as recommended for approval by the Planning Commission, did not include this item.
A CUP for the latest iteration of property located at 12594 Patterson Avenue for use as a hardscape/pool supply business was approved. The change will add additional landscape buffers and business to the corridor near West Creek.
After considerable discussion with a wide range of entities that could be affected, an ordinance amendment addressing road usage for places of pubic assembly uses in agricultural and residential districts was approved. Going forward, places of public assembly must either directly abut a state maintained road, or be accessed by a private road that is not shared by other properties or uses.
This amendment contains generous grandfather provisions that exempt structures or uses in existence prior to July 1, 2016, which may be expanded or enlarged upon. The ingenuity of Goochlanders brings new land uses to the county that do not fit neatly into existing pigeonholes. This ordinance change should mitigate potential conflicts before they begin.
The Supervisors will meet at 7 p.m. on Monday, April 17 to vote on the proposed budget and set tax rates for calendar year 2016.