Thursday, April 6, 2017

Highlights of April Supervisors' meeting

Blue pinwheels marking Child Abuse Prevention Month around the Dickson fountain

Goochland’s Board of Supervisors began their April 4 meeting with proclamations about Child Abuse Prevention; Hunger Awareness; and National Crime Victims’ Rights. Citizens are urged to support the food drive to restock local food pantries this month.
“What a caring county we live in,” observed Board Chair Ned Creasey, District 3. “People jump in and help each other. I am always impressed by what goes on in these local organizations.”

The public hearings for the proposed Goochland County FY18 budget brought no surprises and little comment on April 4. There were a few adjustments, including the addition of a principal planner to the Department Community Development for $89,000, and a transfer $9,100 from the fire-rescue cost recovery funds to the Fire-Rescue Association for a paid treasurer to improve its "processes".

Real estate tax rates will remain at 53 cents per $100 of assessed valuation, which represents a slight increase; the ad valorem tax will stay at 32 cents. Some fees were reduced, but cost recovery rates for EMS hospital transport will rise to levels charged around the region. For complete details, view the budget, which is available in its entirety on the county website A vote will be taken on the proposed budget and tax rates for calendar 2017 at a 3 p.m. Board meeting scheduled for April 18.

County Administrator John Budesky thanked citizens for their input during the budget process and comments at the town hall meetings. “We take all of these comments to heart and use them every day in our business decisions,” Budesky said.

After a well-planned weeklong detour on. Fairground Road, the central part of Goochland found itself in gridlock as surprise roadwork tied up another part of Fairground Road, Route 6, and Oilville Road at the same time.

Marshall Winn, VDOT representative said that he advocated doing this work at night, rather than during daytime hours, but was overruled by the contractor retained to do the actual work. Once again, VDOT—the state agency whose motto is “Ooops!”—has demonstrated its arrogance. Aside from inconveniencing everyone stuck in traffic, the road work could have hampered swift movement of emergency vehicles.

Winn said that there will be extensive roadwork on River Road West in Courthouse Village and Fairground Road in the next few months.

Given notice, most people would likely choose alternate routes to get to their destinations. Aside from sparing people the heartburn of sitting in traffic, the fewer vehicles that move through a construction zone, the safer it is for everyone. Winn said that contractors are supposed to give VDOT a “two week look ahead” of their work schedules. He will share that with the county to inform citizens. Facebook is probably the most effective way to get the word out.

A bit later in the meeting, Board Vice Chair Ken Peterson, District 5, pressed Bruce McNabb, VDOT engineer for its Ashland Residency, which includes Goochland, about the timetable for improvements to the Rt. 288/Broad Street Road intersections in Centerville.

At the District 4 & 5 town hall meeting a few weeks ago, McNabb said that, even though the project, had been approved and funded, it would not be completed before 2020. McNabb explained that VDOT’s “Smartscale” program approved a wide range of projects across the entire state and getting all of them done at the same time is a challenge. He also said that there will be a meeting in May with the Secretary of Transportation. McNabb suggested that an appearance at that meeting by someone from Goochland to reinforce the urgency of those improvements could speed up the process.

County Assessor Mary Ann Davis reported that 14,857 reassessment notices were sent to property owners in January. During the review period between January 13 and February 15, her office receive 244 inquiries. Of those, 58 properties were given a value decrease; eight were increased; 138 remain unchanged and 40 are still pending. There are currently four appeals—1 residential and three commercial— to the Board of Equalization, which plans to meet in June.

The supervisors referred an ordinance amendment to the Planning Commission which would make drive through restaurants by right uses in B-1, B-2, B-3, M-1 M-1, and M-2 zoning districts. Currently, drive through restaurants must obtain a conditional use permit.

Peterson explained that the CUP requirement slows down economic development. Objections to drive through restaurants are the same every time. He contended that, as it is not local government’s job to pick winners and losers, but to remove regulatory impediments to economic development. Businesses that want to locate in Goochland have done their homework and believe that they can operate profitably here.

Will this change open. the door to more burger doodles in the county, or perhaps lure a national coffee emporium here? A CUP request for Dunkin’ Donuts to build a drive through window next to Food Lion in Courthouse Village is in process.

Both the planning commission and supervisors will hold public hearings on the matter, providing ample opportunity for citizen input. If you have an opinion on this subject, let your supervisor know.

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