Tuesday, July 11, 2017

After the fireworks

In honor of Independence Day, the July meeting of the Goochland County Board of Supervisors was held on Wednesday the fifth.

County Administrator John Budesky thanked all who made the fireworks a success, especially the Goochland Sheriff’s Office, which safely handled a massive influx of traffic. Budesky apologized to those who were unable to access Courthouse Village as roads were closed after parking lots filled, and suggested that they arrive earlier next year.

The afternoon agenda was short, culminating with closed sessions to discuss the performance of the county administrator—undoubtedly his “annual review” at the end of his first year in Goochland—and to discuss the purchase of property for public use and not disclose information that would interfere with the county’s bargaining position.

Kathleen Kimmel, treasurer of Friends of Goochland Parks, gave a brief recap of the James River Rundown, a 120 mile paddling event held on June 24 and 25 that began in Lynchburg and concluded at the east side of Tucker Park at Maidens Landing. Vendors and an LL Bean outdoor class were highlights of the finish line. Participants, aid Kimmel, were favorably impresses with Tucker Park.

Ann O. Casey, Executive Director of Goochland’s amazing court appointed special advocate (CASA) unit thanked the supervisors for their financial and in kind support of her organization. Casey said that, due to the confidential nature of the work of CASAs, details of their cases cannot be shared. The daily dedication of these intrepid volunteers, said Casey, helps children caught up in the justice system through no fault of their own find safe and permanent homes.

Though one of the smallest non-profit organizations in Goochland, CASA has a huge impact on some of our most at risk children. (For more information, go to goochlandcasa.org)

Marshall Wynne of the Virginia Department of Transportation reported that preliminary work on improvements to the Rt288/250 interchange in Centerville is in progress and that he may have a better idea of completion in coming months. He also reiterated that Blair Road will be repaved this summer and a speed study will be done on Pagebrook Road.

In a follow-up to a policy change enacted last month to allow a deputy to supplement Worker’s Compensation payments with unused vacation time, the supervisors unanimously voted to amend the worker’s comp policy to allow all county employees to use unpaid accrued leave to supplement the two thirds of salary covered by worker’s comp for a maximum of 120 days. If the disability lasts longer than 180 days, the employee will receive only the two thirds covered under the worker’s comp insurance policy. The policy for sworn deputies approved in June remains unchanged.

Even though staff was asked to include the cost of expanding the worker’s comp policy to the supervisors, there was no mention of the cost of the newly adopted policy.

The highly touted state grant of $250,000 to Lickinghole Creek Craft Brewery announced in May, required Goochland County to match those funds. Under the agreements (see the board packet available on the county website http://goochlandva.us/ for the documents) the Goochland Economic Development Authority will act as the pass through entity for state funds. Goochland’s contribution will take the form of rebates of incremental increases in real estate and machinery and tools taxes for the next five years. Lickinghole, which expects to invest approximately $12 million in site and other improvements to expand its manufacturing capacity, will continue to pay local taxes on property and machinery and tools on values as of January 2017. Should Lickinghole fail to meet performance targets, including creation of 36 new jobs, outlined in the state grant, the arrangement is voided.

May the success of Lickinghole Creek Craft Brewery continue.

The new approximately 13, 941 square foot animal shelter is moving right along. The supervisors authorized Budesky to execute a construction contract with BFE Construction for up to $4,409,000 with an additional $592,000 appropriated to cover furniture, sewer connection, security system, special inspections, and project management. Completion of the new facility is expected to take 15 months.

A 15 month bridge loan of $1.2 million to Goochland Pet Lovers was also approved by the supervisors while this non-profit concludes its fundraising efforts. The county also committed $100,000 to this group. (See Board packet for construction contract details. No documentation of the GPL agreement was included in the packet.)

During the evening session, the supervisors approved a zoning change to allow Goochland Free Clinic and Family Services to operate emergency housing apartment on upper floors.

To no one’s surprise, the board approved a rezoning application filed by Drive Shack to build and operate a sports related entertainment venue with restaurants, event space, and other accessory uses on 13.6 acres just east of Rt. 288 and north of Richmond Audi in the eastern part of the county. Improvements associated with this will be a 60,000 square foot building. This is an excellent use for a somewhat unusual parcel of land.

Bob Minnick, District 4, which includes the subject property, said that Drive Shack has brought a lot of positive attention to Goochland. He also noted that the applicant and land owners worked well together as he moved for approval.

A conditional use permit was granted to the Boy Scouts of America to operate campgrounds, summer camps, rifle ranges skeet shooting ranges, and other places of public assembly at Camp Brady Saunders on Maidens Road.

The initial application was for renewal of a CUP for sporting clays shooting events, held annually in the fall as a fund raiser, which generates about $100,00 used to fund the camp. The application requested permission to hold up to three sporting clays events per year.

As the scout camp began operations before the county adopted zoning laws, most of its activities are grandfathered.

Board Chair Ned Creasey District 3, disclosed that his property adjoins the camp. County Attorney Tara McGee opined that Creasey did not have a conflict and was not bared from participating in the vote.

Another adjacent land owner stated that the noise of the sporting clays event is a terrible noise nuisance. She contended that it is not a camp activity for kids. A nearby resident pointed out that sound carries and gunfire has a terrible hard impact.

After a bit of discussion, the supervisors granted the CUP with a maximum of two sporting clays events per year.


Anonymous said...

County giving Lickinghile 250,000 is Ridiculous.
Just because the State is wasting tax payers money doesn't mean county has to.
I opened up a business in Goochland County didn't give me a dime.

Anonymous said...

Regarding the inability of some residents to access the Courthouse area to watch the July 4 fireworks; it would be interesting to know whether the "massive influx of traffic" that caused closure of the roads was from Goochlanders or visitors from other locales. Although, as a practical matter we can't (and shouldn't want to) restrict attendance at the fireworks to Goochland residents, Goochland tax dollars should not be spent on events that entertain non-residents to the exclusion of Goochlanders. If non-Goochlanders are getting the bulk of the benefit from our fireworks, perhaps Goochland should take a year or two off and let surrounding jurisdictions sponsor them.