Board Honors Blanton

Published 4:19 pm Thursday, April 21, 2011

CUMBERLAND – In the county and courthouse where he began his career upholding the laws of the Commonwealth, the Honorable Judge Richard S. Blanton stood and accepted a resolution of appreciation from the Cumberland County Board of Supervisors acknowledging his years of service to Cumberland – a place where he first learned the life-long sense of community and equal justice for all.

After receiving the resolution, Judge Blanton said, “I started my practice of law right here in Cumberland Court House 32 years ago… As a resident and native of Cumberland, this means a great deal.”

The resolution of appreciation was read by Cumberland's County Administrator, Judy Ownby, and presented by Board Chairman Van Petty in recognition of his retirement from the Circuit Court during the Board of Supervisors meeting on April 12.

Judge Blanton's father, Henry A. Blanton III, was a former Sheriff of Cumberland.

“Whereas, Judge Richard S. Blanton has earned the respect of the citizens of Cumberland County for his integrity, honor and principles; and whereas Cumberland citizens take great pride in one of their own having attained the honorable position of Circuit Court Judge…,” read Ms. Ownby.

While listening to the resolution, Blanton was flanked on the pew by Circuit Court Clerk Carol Ownby.

Blanton served in the United States Air Force from 1970 until 1974 and then went on to receive his undergraduate degree from Longwood College and was awarded his law degree from Marshall-Wythe School of Law from the College of William and Mary.

Throughout his career, Blanton has been active in Cumberland.

He first served on the Cumberland School Board in 1982 and then was the County's Commonwealth's Attorney and later County Attorney from 1984 until 1989. He was the County Attorney for Prince Edward afterwards and then became the Circuit Court Judge for the Tenth Judicial Circuit in 1995. He has served as Chief Judge since January 2009.

“Now, therefore, be it resolved that the Cumberland County Board of Supervisors acknowledges with gratitude and deep appreciation, the years of service to Cumberland County and its citizens by the Honorable Judge Richard S. Blanton …,” Ms. Ownby continued to read.

Patriot Ridge Interest

During the public comment portion of the meeting this month two citizens requested information related to the proposed Patriot Ridge Shopping Center and how the development is progressing?

After the comment segment, Chairman Petty requested that the County's Planning Director, Andrew Sorrell, give an update on the development.

The Patriot Ridge Shopping Center first received its rezoning in 2009 and since that time the economy has impacted the development's ability to proceed, he said.

“However, they have just submitted, at the beginning of this month, the necessary next steps in the zoning requirements and that is getting conditional use permits for the shopping center and then to adjust their zoning boundary line. And once the Board considers those for approval, then their next items are things that are required by-right, which are things that they don't have to have special permission for,” advised Sorrell.

Those things include platting of the subdivision, which include nine to 10 lots near Criss Road and Route 60 in the county's corridor area.

The primary component of the shopping center, he continued, is projected to be a grocery store that is yet to be determined as to which one and other components that are typically seen in a rural community shopping center.

“I think the applicant is gearing up to getting its ducks in a row this year,” he said. “Hopefully, as the economy begins to rebound we can get this project moving along.”

Sanderson Recognition

The Board also recognized the family of Eldridge Walton Sanderson.

The Board wished to record their sorrow over the passing of Mr. Sanderson in the form of a resolution. He had served as an elected member of the Cumberland Board of Supervisors from January 1972 until December 1991.

Ms. Ownby read, “Whereas, Eldridge Sanderson demonstrated his concern for the welfare and well-being of his fellow citizens by his actions both in his private life and through his voluntary service to various community organizations…”

Present for the resolution presentation were his sister Audrey Robinson, his wife, Ann Gracey Sanderson, and his two daughters, Ann Carol Sanderson and Ginger Marie Sanderson.

Building Fee Schedule Hearing

Later, the Board held a public hearing on an amendment to the County's code related to the section concerning the building fee schedule.

The need for the hearing was just to bring the text into conformity with that used in the Virginia Uniform Statewide Building Code.

The amendment changes text regarding the applicable fee to detached accessory structures, according to Ms. Ownby.

The Board approved it unanimously and there were no speakers signed up to speak.

Recreation Appropriation

The Board later authorized, after being in closed session for more than an hour, to appropriate $792 to the County's recreation department, which was obtained from recycling and a clean-up effort at the ball fields. The appropriation will assist with site work at the new field behind the community center on Route 60.

A citizen is volunteering the work and equipment being used to conduct the work and the money will go towards fencing, erosion and sediment control and fuel, according to Jill Matthews, assistant county administrator of finance.

Application Referrals

On a motion made by Supervisor Bill Osl, District One, the Board referred several applications to the Planning Commission for review.

They included: a conditional use permit application for Jones Chapel Baptist Church, a rezoning request to the Planning Commission from Clark Properties (Dollar General), rezoning request from Patriots Enterprises, a conditional use permit application for Patriot's Ridge Shopping Center, and a zoning ordinance amendment for minimum off-street parking as required to retain businesses.

Cumberland Green Team

Cumberland County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Amy Griffin introduced Catherine Fleischman and Angela Whittaker to the Board as members of the school division's green team.

The two teachers gave a presentation on the “green' projects that are taking place throughout the school system.

According to the information provided in the presentation, the green team is made up of teachers, administrators from each of the three schools and community members.

So far, projects include the building of a compost bin for the new community garden, the beautification project at the High School's bus loop (which included assistance from community garden clubs and master naturalists), recycling projects, a student energy and water review of the school complex, the construction of a greenhouse, a memorial garden, and new sustainability courses.

Most recently, members from the Green Team and students were on hand at Patriot Day to present to the community information on recycling and composting as well as hosting a table on renewable technology.

The group also works with the County's Recycling Taskforce, Ms. Whittaker noted, to plan and develop a recycling plan for the County.

The team's mission, they said, is to provide a meaningful student service learning experience in sustainability and renewable technology.