Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Highlights of November Board of Supervisors' Meeting

Goochland’s Board of Supervisors began its November 1 meeting by formally voting to permit Ned Creasey, District 3, to participate electronically from his hospital bed. Creasey reportedly was responding well to treatment and sounded chipper over the speaker phone as he made comments and voted.

-During public comment period, two Hadensville residents who own homes on the Royal Virginia golf course raised concerns about the sale of the property to a Charlottesville company that plans to close the course and place a conservation easement on the property so that investors can take advantage of tax breaks. They contended that the previous owner of the course spent a lot of money to put it into pristine condition. Employees of Royal Virginia, they said, have been notified that the course is closing at the end of November.

Closure of the golf course, they contended, will reduce the assessed value of their homes, and in turn, county real estate tax revenues.

These gentlemen suggested that the county take over the course and run it as a revenue producing enterprise. Petersburg, they said, runs a golf course and is pursuing an ABC license to make it more profitable.

After the meeting, County Administrator John Budesky said that the county may have no say about the conservation easement. The supervisors, who learned about the sale of Royal Virginia from the media, may try to arrange a meeting with homeowners to discuss the matter.

It seems unlikely that the Board has any interest in owning or running a golf course.

-Budesky thanked all who made the county’s Fall Festival on October 28 a success. He commended Derek Stamey, Director of Parks, Recreation, and Facilities Management and his staff for a job well done. Deputies, fire-rescue and other volunteers also contributed to a great day that was well-attended.

-Marshall Wynn of VDOT reported that the speed study on Mill Trace did not recommend a 35 MPH limit. Manuel Alvarez, Jr. District 2, said he was disappointed in the result. River Road West through Courthouse Village has a 35 MPH limit. Mill Trace is a residential road, where people run, walk, and ride bikes. Deer are a hazard there too. Deputies recently issued 11 speeding tickets in a two-hour period on that road.

Wynn said that a traffic study for the Rt. 250/Fairground Road area recommended additional signage be deployed. Really? Signs imply that drivers zipping along way over the speed limit pay attention to signs and can read English. A more visceral indication of an impending hazard, like a very low profile rumble strip, would do a better job of getting drivers to pay attention. The eastbound approach to Fairground Road is a blind hill, by the time you get to the top and are able to see traffic turning into the eastbound lane, it could be too late to slow down. But signs are cheap and easy to deploy.

Alvarez requested a copy of the Fairground/250 study.

Wynn also reported that another VDOT study found that the River Road/Rt.6 interchange “is not close” to needing a traffic light at this time.

-County Assessor Mary Ann Davis declared the recertification of property in the land use program a success. She said that 94 percent of the required forms had been received and an additional 117 were expected before the end of the day, meeting the November 1 deadline. Her staff kept up with the influx of documentation, and were calling those who had not submitted recertification forms. Bills for the $25 late fee will be sent out for those who do not comply.

-Goochland received the Virginia Recycling Associations 2016 outstanding rural innovations award. This honor recognizes the many recycling invitations sponsored by the county, usually under the direction of Leigh Dunn, curbside recycling and GARC coordinator, including electronic and curbside recycling and community shredding and tire amnesty events. (The next of these is scheduled for November 19 on the corner of Sandy Hook and Fairground Road in Courthouse Village.)

- Goochland Superintendent of Schools Dr. Jeremy Raley, presented an update on fiber optic cable being run along Rt. 6 from the county administration building to Byrd Elementary School.

Efforts to provide BES with high speed internet access have been disappointing and increasingly expensive. The fiber’s approximately $500,000 cost is funded mostly by a grant from USAC e-rate and $99,680 from the county. The fiber will also connect to the Company 4 fire-rescue station. Leasing cable from Comcast would cost more than $3 million over a twenty-year period. For an additional ten thousand dollars, the county will be able to run additional strands of fiber, which it will own, through the conduit. These strands would be available for lease by the county to service providers at a future time to recoup the cost and expand broadband west of Courthouse Village. Still in the planning stages, this fiber project holds great promise for extension of high speed internet into the communication desert of western Goochland.

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