Changes Made To Residential District

Published 3:51 pm Tuesday, November 22, 2011

BUCKINGHAM – Following a public hearing on proposed changes to the Residential Planned Unit Development District, RPUD-1, supervisors unanimously approved the revisions.

Prior to the hearing on Tuesday night, Zoning Administrator Rebecca Cobb said the changes, for the most part, focused on septic systems. She explained that initially the RPUD required connecting to public water and sewer.

“We are loosening that up to say that if you have appropriate soils you can do a private septic system,” offered Cobb. “But we are requiring a 100 percent reserve for those systems.”

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Cobb noted that the planning commission held a hearing on the revisions during its September 26 meeting; and, recommended approval of the changes.

When Chairman Bill Talbert opened the floor to the public, no one commented.

Subsequently, Talbert closed the hearing and Supervisor John Kitchen led with the motion to approve the changes as presented.

Public Hearing Set For Tower

Following a report by Cobb on a special use permit request for a telecommunications tower, the board scheduled a public hearing for 7:15 p.m. at its December 12 meeting.

Cobb said the SUP request from National Communications Towers, Inc. proposes to locate a telecommunications tower off Route 60, approximately 3.6 miles east of Sprouses Corner, in the Curdsville Magisterial District.

The tower, explained Cobb, would be a 195-foot monopole structure with the ability to hold six carriers.

Cobb reported that the planning commission held a hearing on the request at its September 26 meeting and continued it on October 24 in an effort to hear more information from CityScape consultants regarding several concerns expressed by two citizens who spoke in opposition of the tower.

After CityScape discussed the issues with the planning commission, commissioners decided to follow CityScapes recommendation of approval, noted Cobb.

Public Hearing Set on Comcast Franchise Renewal

Responding to a request by Comcast Cable to renew its franchise agreement with the county, County Administrator Rebecca Carter said she believed a public hearing would be required.

County Attorney E. M. Wright advised that the public does have a right to comment on the terms provided by Comcast.

Providing that opportunity, the board scheduled a public hearing for 7:30 p.m. at its December 12 meeting.

Wright added that he would have some recommendations to offer at that time.

Legislative Priorities

Explaining that the Commonwealth Regional Council requested each locality present its prioritized legislative issues, Carter provided a list of issues that she felt placed the most financial stress on the county.

She encouraged supervisors to add additional legislative issues they may have to the list. However, after Carter shared her list, the board adopted the priorities as presented.

On the top of Carter's list was adequate funding for all state mandates including positions in offices of magistrate, sheriff, clerk of court, treasurer, commissioner of revenue and commonwealth attorney.

Next, she called for the restoration of the 13 percent reduction per pupil in state funding for public education. Additionally, she asked the state to provide recurring money for school-facility debt service on a per pupil basis and to establish a permanent revenue source and formula for distributing school construction and debt service funding to localities.

Continuing with education priorities, she requested Congress immediately fund the IDEA, Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, and NCLB, No Child Left Behind.

Carter's legislative priorities included assuring that the authority of taxing or non-taxing of machinery and tools remain with the local government. Noting that the issue seems to come up each year, she said it appears there will be more legislative attempts to take that authority away from localities

Additionally, Carter said the Comprehensive Services Act should provide that court-ordered children be classified as 'mandated' for the purpose of receiving state reimbursement.

She also called on the state to reassume the responsibility of the Line of Duty Act and its costs.

Carter's list included amending a section of the Code of Virginia dealing with the situs for assessment and taxation of personal property.

Her list concluded with ensuring that the state maintains the responsibility of financing highways and roads; and requiring VDOT to implement a plan with local governing bodies to establish maintenance priorities. .

Courthouse Streetscape Project Revised

Assistant County Administrator Karl Carter provided an update on the Transportation Enhancement Project for the Courthouse Area Streetscape. The update included a change order, which supervisors unanimously approved.

In September, Carter advised that the project was back on track and asked the board to approve a change that included a grass strip bordering the curbside along Route 60.

However, during the November 15 meeting, he said the streetscape committee was now proposing to eliminate the grass area due to maintenance issues.

Additionally, Carter said the committee was also seeking a change that would remove the proposed lights along the sidewalk in order to be able to include more sidewalk in the first phase of the project.

He explained that by eliminating the lights, which would be added at a later phase, the sidewalk could be extended from 800 to 920 feet. Carter noted that the plans include installing the conduit during the construction of the sidewalk.

Subsequently, Kitchen moved to approve the change order for the project.

CRC Charter Changes Approved

In October, supervisors, concurring with Supervisor Brian Bates, asked the county administrator to relay their concern about proposed changes in the Commonwealth Regional Council's charter regarding a variable fee structure. At issue was that although fees would vary, each member would have one vote.

County Administrator Carter reported, “The Commonwealth Regional Council Board has chosen to bring the matter back to Buckingham and Cumberland counties without incorporating their recommendations.”

Carter said she was told that those with concerns were contacted and now have a better understanding of the proposed amendments.

In turn, Bates moved to adopt the CRC charter as amended. His motion drew a unanimous vote.

MYER Request Fee and Bond Waivers

The county administrator presented a request from Manteo-Yogaville Emergency Response to waive the building permit fee and soil/sediment erosion control fees for a structure to house emergency vehicles and a Red Cross Field Office. Additionally, MYER is requesting the corresponding bond associated with the erosion control permit be waived.

MYER is seeking to provide a four-bay structure for its first response vehicle, two fire trucks, and office space for the Red Cross as well as a training site and storage space for supplies and equipment.

During the ensuing discussion, it was noted that fees are customarily waived for non-profit organizations but there was uncertainty about waiving the bond requirement.

Subsequently, Bates withdrew his initial motion to approve the requests. He then moved to waive the building permit fee and soil/sediment erosion control fees; and, requested the zoning administrator bring back a recommendation on the bond issue at the next meeting. The motion passed with a five-to-one vote, with Supervisor Joe Chambers opposing.

Health Care Cost of Inmates in Local Jails

Concurring with a recommendation by the county administrator, supervisors supported sending a letter to the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services urging the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services to issue regulations and/or guidelines that would prohibit states from terminating Medicaid eligibility solely on the grounds that individuals are inmates of a public institution.

Carter explained that currently when someone enters a local or regional jail, their Medicaid eligibility and/or any health insurance they may have had is terminated and they become the responsibility of the locality or region. She added that the locality/region must also be responsible for youth in juvenile detention facilities.

Noting that the expense is currently taken care of through the regional jail's budget, Carter said it eventually could mean the county/counties would have to put more money into the jail's budget.

Administrator's Report

During her report, Carter said she received a letter from VDOT's Lynchburg District advising that in order to provide a more direct and timely response on road maintenance issues, Kevin Wright, Dillwyn residency administrator, will now be the primary point of contact for county officials.

Carter reported that the board of directors for the Peter Francisco Soil and Water Conservation District has chosen to end its partnership with the Old Dominion Resource Conservation and Development Council, Inc.

According to a letter from M. Todd Smith of the PFSWCD, the decision “is primarily due to the eliminated federal funding through NRCS and restricted state funds.”

Carter shared a letter from the Auditor of Public Accounts for the Commonwealth of Virginia, about the review of the commonwealth collections and remittances for the year ended June 30, 2011, of the county's treasurer, commissioner of the revenue, and sheriff.

According to the letter, “The results of our tests found the constitutional officers complied, in all material respects with state laws, regulations and other procedures relating to the receipt, disbursement, and custody of state funds.”

Carter noted that the board packets included the draft conceptual plan for the James River Heritage Trail. She offered to relay any comments that supervisors may have on the plan for a multi-jurisdictional trail seeking to refocus attention on the James.

Supervisors concurred with Carter's request for authorization to submit a letter of opposition to the Wireless Tax Fairness Act of 2011, House Bill 1002 and Senate Bill 543. Carter explained that the initiatives would preempt state and local taxing authority.

Bates requested that copies of the letter be sent to Senators Webb and Warner and Congressman Robert Hurt.

On a bright note, Carter announced that the annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony would be held on Friday, December 2, 7 p.m., at the Courthouse.

Carter concluded her report by advising that the Virginia Association of Counties' Supervisors Forum would be held January 6 through 8 in Richmond. She said the forum, which is traditionally for newly elected supervisors, is also open to incumbents.

RFPs for Vehicle Work

Supervisor Chambers moved to task the county administrator with getting bids on work for all county vehicles. After Supervisor Kitchen seconded the motion, Bates sought a clarification on the motion.

Chambers explained, “Get the hourly rate, like we did-the same procedure as with the trash trucks.” He added, “So all the businesses will have a chance to get a fair share.”

Carter replied that she would like to work on the RFP, request for proposal, and bring it to the board in December to ensure that it is what Chambers wanted.

Chambers asked if she would bring the draft RFP to the next meeting of the transportation committee. Carter replied that she would.

The motion drew a four to two vote, with Bates and Monroe Snoddy opposing.

Resolution In Memory of Freddy Palmore

The board presented its memorial resolution honoring Frederick L. “Freddy” Palmore to the Palmore Family.

Before reading the resolution, Carter shared, “I served as county administrator under both Freddy and Mary. We had a good working relationship and also developed a very close friendship.”

After Carter read the resolution, Supervisor Chambers presented the framed resolution to Mary Palmore, who was accompanied to the podium by her four sons Ricky, J.D., Ronnie, and Paul Palmore.

Chambers offered, “He touched so many lives in this county and his legacy will live on.”

Freddy Palmore, a local businessman, served on the board of supervisors from May 1985 to February 1992. He was a Master Mason of George Lodge 32 in Howardsville for 45 years; and a lifelong member of Glenmore United Methodist Church.

In Other Board Action

Supervisors awarded the low bid of $3,985 from Collins Concrete for a 26-foot by 32-foot concrete slab for an equipment storage building at Gene Dixon Park.

Concurring with action taken by the Buckingham County School Board at its November meeting, supervisors adopted A Resolution in Support of Public Education in Virginia; and A Resolution in Support of Local Tax Relief and Education Reform.

The first resolution requests the Governor to allocate a fair share of the $544.8 million FY2011 budget surplus to K-12 public education and to begin to restore funds cut from K-12 public education in FY 2009, 10, and 11.

In the second resolution, the board requests that relevant parties work together to educate elected officials, administrators, and citizens on the urgent need to have Congress immediately fund IDEA and NCLB, so that the local tax burden is immediately lifted. Additionally, the resolution requests that Congress immediately reauthorize NCLB with the needed improvements.

With only one bid submitted for snow removal services, supervisors voted to award the bid to Talbott Wood Products. The bid cites a fee of $1,245 per event for county properties including parking areas, sidewalks, and steps; and, $1,245 per event to remove snow from all the county's solid waste sites.

The board adopted a resolution to commemorate and support the Bicentennial of the American War of 1812 in Virginia.

Supervisors agreed to close county government offices all day on Wednesday, November 23, and all day on Friday, December 23. Initially the offices were scheduled to close a half day on those two dates.

Referencing action taken by the board last month to approve the purchase of two computers to be used in fingerprinting children in the primary grades, Kitchen moved that the board appropriate $2,600 for the two computers and the respective software. The motion drew the board's full support.

The computers will be used by organizations and agencies that provide the fingerprinting for child-find identification purposes.

At the conclusion of the agenda, Chairman Talbert extended his appreciation to Ronnie Palmore for the “great job” he is doing as transportation director for the school division.

Talbert asked Palmore if he would like to comment on the new bus garage and maintenance facility.

Thanking supervisors for their role in the project, Palmore said the facility is wonderful and allows the mechanics to work indoors. “It is a wonderful building,” he reiterated.