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Wireless Tower Application OK'd

BUCKINGHAM – The December 12 board of supervisors' meeting included a public hearing on an application for a special use permit to construct and operate a wireless telecommunications tower on property off Route 60 in the Curdsville Magisterial District.

Following the hearing, Supervisor Danny LeSueur led with a successful motion to approve the special use permit.

In an overview of the request, Zoning Administrator Rebecca Cobb provided an overview of the request. She said the proposed 195-foot monopole tower would have the ability to host six carriers.

Cobb explained that the planning commission held its public hearing on September 26 but continued the case to its October 24 meeting in order to receive additional information from consultants with CityScape.

At that time, the consultants, in response to concerns that the tower was not needed because of an existing tower at Kyanite Mining, advised that the Kyanite tower could not serve the area that the proposed Rosney tower would serve. Subsequently, the planning commission followed CityScape's recommendation and voted to recommend supervisors approve the SUP request.

After Chairman Talbert opened the hearing, the only speaker was Elliott Harrigan, who identified himself as the owner of National Communication Towers. He said they had a PowerPoint presentation ready if the board would like to view it. However, the board declined.

Harrigan, noting that they have signed a lease with AT&T Wireless, said there were two AT&T representatives in the audience. He added that several other carriers have expressed interest in the site.

According to Harrigan, if the SUP is approved, the company, after obtaining a building permit, would probably proceed with construction in January or early February.

Hearing on Comcast Agreement Renewal

County Attorney E. M. Wright explained that Comcast was seeking renewal of its franchise agreement with the county. He said that even though they were not proceeding by way of ordinance, the agreement process still required a comment period about the service provided by Comcast.

When Chairman Talbert called for comments, no one responded.

Wright went on to explain that while reviewing the information on franchise agreements, they reviewed the county's cable television franchise ordinance in conjunction with today's federal code sections and regulations. That review prompted a re-tooling of the document, he added.

Subsequently, the attorney asked the board to set a public hearing on the revisions for its January meeting. In turn, the board scheduled the public hearing for 7:30 p.m. at its January 9 meeting.

VDOT

Kevin Wright, VDOT residency administrator, was back at the podium during the board's December meeting.

He told supervisors that after some changes within the department, he would resume being their representative from this point forward.

“I will not be able to attend every meeting every month,” explained Wright. He said his plan at this point was to meet with them at least quarterly. However, he assured that he would be available if they needed him.

“I'm glad to be back and look forward to working with you again,” stated Wright.

According to Wright, crews are working on brush cutting and are currently focusing on the Arvonia area.

“We are gearing up for our winter weather,” he shared, adding that all of the trucks were outfitted and ready.

He reported that Danny James has been named superintendent for the Dillwyn area headquarters.

“Mr. James is a very seasoned, experienced VDOT maintenance person,” said Wright.

After Wright's report, Chairman Talbert said VDOT needed to work on cutting trees that are leaning toward the roads and possibly endangering lives.

He added that during his years on the fire department, he has seen what happens when those trees come down from ice and snow or when they get older and their root systems give way.

Talbert asked if there was anything they could do as board members to expedite having trees that VDOT deems as safety hazards removed.

Wright offered, “It is certainly within our right, if it is imposing a danger to the roadway, and we find out about it.” He added, “So if you see any examples of that or even any general areas where you'd life for us to look, we'd be more than happy to take a look at those.”

According to Wright, if the tree did pose a hazard, the tree folks would get a contractor to come in and take the tree down.

Talbert told Wright he would get with him one day and show him some of the areas, such as one below Chestnut Grove Church.

Wright explained that they would take care of such trees if they were on highway right of way. He added, “If it is off of our right-of-way and is posing a danger, we can go in and take that tree down but that does not relieve the property owner of the responsibility for their tree falling across the road.” He explained, “It is not VDOT's liability if a property owner's tree falls across the road.”

The resident administrator assured Talbert that VDOT would be glad to work with the board on the matter.

Talbert responded, “I just want to help save some lives.”

Before leaving the podium, Wright told the board, “Anytime you need something don't hesitate to call.”

Water System Receives National Recognition

During her report to supervisors, Carter shared that the Buckingham County Water System is the recipient of a Water Fluoridation Quality Award from the U. S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC.

Buckingham was one of 22 water systems in the state to receive the award. Carter explained that the award recognizes water systems that met a number of stringent fluoridation requirements throughout 2010.

Delinquent Taxpayers Given Notice

Before publishing a list of delinquent taxpayers in the newspaper, supervisors agreed to first advertise that delinquent taxpayers have 60 days to pay up or their names would appear on that list.

When published, the list will include those taxpayers who owe real estate taxes from 1992 to 2008.

County Administrator Carter explained that anyone unsure whether they owe back taxes should contact the treasurer's office (969-4744).

2012 Meeting Schedule

Supervisors approved a proposed meeting schedule for 2012. With the exception of two meetings, the regular monthly board meetings will continue to be held on the second Monday of the month.

The exceptions include Tuesday, October 9, due to a holiday on Monday, October 8, for Columbus Day; and, Tuesday, November 13, due to Veterans Day on Monday, November 12 and the annual Virginia Association of Counties conference.

Transportation Committee Update

County Administrator Carter updated the board on the status of its action last month to develop a RFP, request for proposal, for maintenance and service work on all county vehicles.

Carter said the transportation committee has met and is working on some possibilities. She added that they were also contacting other localities for information on how they handle their vehicle maintenance and service.

“Hopefully the committee will have a recommendation ready for the January meeting,” stated Carter.

Legislative Updates

The county administrator provided an overview of some legislative concerns from the Virginia Association of Counties.

Among them, explained Carter, are proposals to place the responsibility for the secondary road system on counties.

Although the state is saying it would provide funding to localities for that purpose, Carter stressed that over the last five or six years they have seen how funding for state mandated services provided by the localities declines.

Carter said such mandates would necessitate increasing local taxes to meet the required funding. Noting the downturn in the real estate market, she reminded that Buckingham is facing a reassessment in the coming year.

Moreover, said Carter, last year's state budget reflected a $60 million decrease in funding for all local governments. She added that the state is balancing its budget on the backs of local governments.

Carter encouraged supervisors and taxpayers to contact legislators regarding the situation involving the secondary road system.

PVCC Annual Update

Dr. Frank Friedman provided supervisors with an update on Piedmont Virginia Community College.

He began by recognizing Vera C. Merritt, the county's representative on the PVCC Board. “She does a wonderful job,” offered Friedman.

Noting a huge increase in enrollment, Friedman said that this semester they were up to 5,700 students. However, he added that for the full year, they had almost 8,000 students taking credit courses at the college. Students from Buckingham represent about two percent of PVCC's enrollment, he stated.

“This fall, 15 of your graduates from last May enrolled with us,” shared Friedman, noting that almost half of the students from Buckingham take at least one of their courses on-line.

The college president reported that the opening of the Kluge Moses Science Building has allowed expansion of the health careers program.

Friedman, sharing from a survey of the 140 students who graduated from the college's career and technical program, said the survey yielded 125 responses. Of those, 119 have jobs and 99 are working in their area of study, he stated.

Talbert offered, “Thank you for all your good work.”

In Other Board Action

Supervisors appropriated $4,935 in grant money for the Clerk's Office of Buckingham County Circuit Court. The funds were made available through the Library of Virginia for the Virginia Circuit Court Records Preservation Program. In his memo to the board, Assistant County Administrator Karl Carter advised that the grant did not require any matching funds.

Responding to a request from Ellis Acres Memorial Park seeking a waiver on sewer and water fees for 2012, supervisors, with a motion by LeSueur, unanimously granted the request.

With another motion by LeSueur, the board unanimously approved waiving the erosion and sediment control bond for the Manteo Yogaville Emergency Response, MYER.

When making his motion, LeSueur said he felt that based on the service MYER performs for the county the bond should 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.

Supervisor Kitchen led with a successful motion to change the name of Ebenezer Lane to Archbishop Lefebvre Avenue. The road, which is not in the state secondary road system, leads to the site of the proposed St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary.

Before he adjourned the meeting, Chairman Talbert, a volunteer firefighter for 52 years, cautioned residents about using liquid petroleum accelerants to start fires in their stoves and fireplaces. He also reminded residents to make sure their chimneys are clean and in good condition. “Please be careful,” he added. “And, Merry Christmas.”