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PE To Update Comprehensive Plan

PRINCE EDWARD – County supervisors are going to take a comprehensive look at their comprehensive plan.

Supervisors, meeting Tuesday night, agreed with a planning commission recommendation to authorize the County Adminis-trator to enter into a contract with the Commonwealth Regional Council to update the plan with the department of planning and community development.

The update, required every five years, is projected to cost between $16,000-$22,000.

“The planning commission began their review at their June 2010 meeting…and thought there were a few things that needed to be updated and so they had made a request to the Commonwealth Regional Council to provide an estimate for updating our comprehensive plan for us,” detailed County Planner Alecia Daves-Johnson.

They returned three options, she detailed, providing three different updates and price ranges.

The commission recommended and the board approved a plan that keeps the existing comprehensive plan, but would strike sections that are outdated and attach new sections as needed.

Council's Acting Director and CEO Mary Hickman detailed in a March 15 letter: “This approach could save time and money in preparation and might give the County a document that could stand up to a legal challenge. However, this may create a plan that is hard to use and not very attractive.

It is expected to take 10-12 months to complete.

Other possible options were to readopt the current plan with no changes, but it was noted that with a lack of analysis of new elements, it may leave the County vulnerable to issues that may arise. Additionally, the County lacks specifics relating to future growth areas and could leave the County vulnerable to issues that may arise. A third option to develop a new comprehensive plan, projected to take 12-18 months factored a cost range of $23,000 to $28,000.

Ms. Daves-Johnson cited that the census results came back since June of 2010 and that the County is required to have an ur-ban development area designated as part of the comprehensive plan. The option approved by the board would provide that.

Highway Matters

A written update on highway projects was included in the board's packet. The report detailed:

*Crews will make shoulder repairs on Route 651 and that Route 660 over Spring Creek will be closed from September 19 to December 9 for bridge replacement. (Detour signs will be posted.)

*A speed study on Redd Shop Road was conducted and it was recommended that the current speed limit from Route 15 North intersection to Route 665-3.21 miles-be reduced to 45 mph. Approval of the request is pending.

*An engineering review was conducted and it was recommended that a requested Littering Is Illegal sign be placed along Route 15, approximately 1.2 miles south of Route 665. Installation of the sign is pending.

*A 750 feet distance plaque is to be installed following a traffic engineering review on the exiting side road warning sign and a Watch For Turning Vehicles sign will be installed on Route 47 in advance of the intersection of Route 671 for southbound traffic.

*A request to reduce the speed limit to 45 mph on Germantown Road is under review.

*A traffic engineering review was conducted on Route 775 following a request for Watch For Children signs. Study results are pending.

*A speed limit study was completed on Route 600 through the village of Rice and it was recommended that the 35 mph zone from the western intersection of Route 460 to the eastern intersection of Route 460 be retained. It was also recommended that the section on Route 600 from the eastern intersection of Route 460 to Route 617 retain the 55/45 mph speed limit. They also found that a Winding Road warning sign with a 35 mph advisory speed plate (installed August 26) was missing.

One speaker asked about locating a sign alerting for pedestrians and Children Playing signs in the Price Drive area; it was re-ported that the pedestrian signs were in the works and the board later approved a resolution seeking the Children Playing signs.

Public Comments

Ms. Daves-Johnson, speaking as a member of the Friends of the Appomattox River organization, thanked the board for their support to the Friends each year when they host the Navy EOD team from Yorktown. This year, she cited, they are working on Buffalo Creek and a site east of Farmville.

Another speaker asked about the process for getting Watershed Road paved. It was suggested that she may want to give the board input in the spring when they have their public hearing with VDOT and seek input on the six year plan for road improve-ments. Still, there is limited funding availability. It was noted that they haven't had a road paved in a long time.

“As I tell people, I won't give you false hope that it's gonna happen anytime soon because there are probably many roads ahead of you that have been waiting many, many years and there's very little transportation funding at all in the commonwealth of Virginia,” offered Assistant County Administrator Sarah Puckett. “And the funding comes from the state…”

In Other News…

*Lockett District Supervisor Robert “Bobby” Jones thanked the staff for putting together the in-the-line-of-duty program held the previous Sunday and thanked the staff for working like they have in the absence of two staff members.

“I know they've had to put in a lot of hours to make up for what these two people normally do and I know (County Adminis-trator Wade) Mr. Bartlett has really been putting in a lot of extra time and I'd just like to say…I appreciate it, and I think every-body else does-the time and hours ya'll have put in…”

Simpson thanked Ron and Maggie VanEps and Assistant County Administrator Sarah Puckett for their work on the in-the-line-of-duty memorial program and asked that Bartlett write a letter of appreciation to be placed in their personnel file.

Farmville District (701) Supervisor Jim Wilck also assessed that the display (on the wall outside of the board of supervisors meeting room) was excellent.

*Supervisors approved a consent agent agenda that included a resolution approving the Personal Property Tax Relief for 2011. The rate will be 40.5 percent of the assessed value for the first $20,000 of value of a personal use vehicle following state guidelines. The consent agenda also included a festival permit request for the Five County Fair.

*Supervisors held a public hearing and, with little input, approved a regional water supply plan. The plan factors Hampden-Sydney College's system, the Town of Farmville's water system, the Manor Golf Club, agricultural users, self-supplied homes and water systems that serve businesses and Twin Lakes State Park. The plan also factors projected future water demands to 2060 and weighs adequacy of existing water sources to meet existing and projected demands.

*Board members, following a staff request, agreed to seek grant funding from the Tobacco Commission's agri-business pro-gram to further update the cannery. The improvements, projected at $450,000, could add freezing equipment and frozen storage equipment. It could offer individual quality freezing and enhance opportunities for low acid food preservation.

The grant would only pay 90 percent of the cost of the equipment; the board would still need to approve a resolution prior to application.

*Supervisors have set a public hearing on a proposed hazard mitigation plan update for their October meeting. The updated plan was prepared for the seven-county region by the Commonwealth Regional Council.

*The board approved a resolution for changes in the Commonwealth Regional Council Charter, which must be approved by two-thirds of participating governmental bodies. Approval could allow additional entities to participate in the council, including towns with populations over 3,500.

*Supervisors advertised several positions including an alternate on the Piedmont Regional Jail Board (following a resigna-tion), the County's planning commission and the board of zoning appeals (which is a recommendation to the circuit court judge).

Supervisors designated Prospect Supervisor Howard “Pete” Campbell to serve as the alternate until an alternate is appointed to the Regional Jail Board.

*The board reappointed Simpson to serve on the Moton Museum Board and also selected an interim deputy animal control officer.

*Supervisors were presented with an assessment of County buildings following the earthquake and the close call of Hurri-cane Irene. Bartlett reported that they did not see significant damage in any of their buildings “even though there was some.” The County, he also reported, has earthquake insurance and has a deductible of $25,000. “We didn't see any of the damage that would come to that level,” he said.

None, he also said, looked like they were structural issues.

*A luncheon has been set for Wednesday at Hampden-Sydney College where board members are expected to discuss issues with legislators and prospective legislators. Among those invited are Delegate Jim Edmunds, Senatorial candidates Tom Garrett and Bert Dodson, a representative from Congressman Robert Hurt, the County School Board, Town Council and a representa-tive from Longwood and Hampden-Sydney.

*Supervisors also approved a list of priorities proposed by the board's legislative committee.

*Board members agreed to reimburse the cost for the public officials liability insurance for three of the eight members ap-pointed by the board of supervisors to serve on the Poplar Hill CDA. The cost is $100.13 for each of the directors for a year.

*Supervisors designated Chairman William “Buckie” Fore as the voting delegate to the Virginia Association of Counties an-nual meeting and Simpson as the alternate.