PE Rezoning Approved

Published 3:57 pm Tuesday, June 25, 2013

PRINCE EDWARD – Following the recommendation of the County's planning commission, supervisors approved a re-quest that will allow J.R. Tharpe Trucking Company to operate a truck yard use and construction sales and services use on a site off of U.S. Route 460 on Pisgah Church Road at the Evergreen Seed Company site.

The approved request includes rezoning the 10.99-acre parcel on Pisgah Church Road from A-1 to C-1.

The planning commission had recommended conditionally rezoning the property and approving a special use permit for the truck yard. However, County Administrator Wade Bartlett cited that “researching the special use permit, it is a redundant step. Once you conditionally rezone a property, you do not have to do a special use permit because conditional zoning is interchange-able with a special use permit.”

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Numerous speakers echoed support for Tharpe, including Rice Volunteer Fire Department President Andy Ellington. Elling-ton highlighted that the department had a called vote and that it was unanimous that they had no objections and support for them being their neighbor.

Vice President and Manager of J.R. Tharpe Trucking of Burkeville Tim Tharpe noted that the board had approved a rezoning of 15 acres in Rice in 2011 for the firm to expand their business.

“We recently changed our plans,” Tharpe told the board. “Instead of building a building on that property right now, we de-cided to purchase the Evergreen Seed property…It's a good property to expand our business, good location, and this was not an option back in 2011 when I purchased the other property.”

The company has 60 employees with an average pay of $35,000-$50,000 per year, own and operate 50 trucks, are licensed for Virginia, North Carolina, D.C., Maryland and West Virginia, and the bulk of what they do is contract hauling for Luck Stone.

Tharpe projected they would be at 260 vehicles per day, or about 10 percent of the maximum flow.

One concern expressed was that trucks would go through the village of Rice. Tharpe would offer that they have no reason to go into Rice unless somebody orders a load of rock or dirt or mulch.

“We're not going into Rice,” Tharpe said. “We come out, hit 460 and we move on.”

The conditional rezoning was approved subject to specific conditions. (What conditions would be used prompted some con-fusing discussion. Farmville District (701) Supervisor Jim Wilck, who made the motion, would clarify that it was subject to the conditions placed by the planning commission.)

Towering Hearing

The board also held a public hearing on a special use permit request from Greenland Development Group for US Cellular to construct a 195-foot wireless communication monopole (cellular tower) on a 5.04-acre parcel on Holiday Hills in Pamplin. It was noted that a four-foot lightning rod would bring the total height to 199 feet and a pre-fabricated concrete building would house the radio equipment at the base of the tower.

The planning commission had recommended approval.

Supervisors, however, discussed at length the option of having space for emergency services communications use. It was un-sure what the cost would be. Prospect Supervisor Howard “Pete” Campbell noted that the fire departments on the western part of the county have serious problems with the repeater they presently have which is on the east end of the county.

The board ultimately approved the request contingent upon planning commission conditions (with Campbell abstaining). The commission had recommended a continued agreement from US Cellular or the future owner to allow colocation of antennae and equipment from other providers during the life of the tower to be part of the special use permit application approval.

County Budget

While the hard decisions that go into budget development can take months, it only takes minutes to appropriate. Supervisors formally approved the annual resolution of appropriations for the upcoming budget year for the $53,874,191 budget.

In the same motion, the board also agreed to list the amount of funds specifically appropriated by the board by department or fund. Farmville District (801) Supervisor Pattie Cooper-Jones opposed.

The coming budget transition also marks the first time the school board will be permitted to carry over funds from one budg-et year to the next if expenditures are less than revenues received. It will be done by lump sum and not by categories.

In the past, Bartlett cited, they only transferred the amount of funds at the end of each month.

Now that they are going to provide a lump sum and allow the school board to maintain it, he recommended that only funds required to balance expenditures be allowed. “But then, after that, that I and the superintendent can get together, make a rec-ommendation to the board of how we would allocate the rest of the funds the remaining year on the transfer,” he said.

Six-Year Plan

There is little change from year to year in funding for road construction, which meant there was no need for a work session between Virginia Department of Transportation and County supervisors to tweak the six-year plan for road projects.

Still, public hearings go on for such plans.

Residency Administrator Kevin Wright, however, detailed some good news. While it isn't in the works for this year, more help is coming in the latter end of the six-year plan-to the tune of $377,481. The proposed plan includes zero funding for the next three years in its formula secondary state roads, but includes $101,635 for the 2017 fiscal year, $125,427 in 2018, and $150,419 in 2019.

For this year, though, there is only $49,896 to allocate, which goes to projects already in the plan.

“There is no way really to add another project to the plan and no work session was needed,” Wright detailed. “However, if you look through the plan you'll see that…by 2017, the governor's transportation bill, the funding is beginning to appear from that funding package and you'll see that there're actually formula funds for both secondary routes regular-what we call regular construction-and the secondary unpaved road fund. Both of those are beginning to come back into the picture in the last three years of the plan.”

He suggested coming back to the board this winter and having a good, productive workshop and talk about what roads that will be possibly added to the plan.

Among the projects on the plan: Back Hampden-Sydney Road, still under design and set for 2015; Aspen Hill Road, an un-paved road project where work is underway; rural rustic plans for Watson Boulevard with an ad date of 2018; Campbell Cross-ing Road, penciled in with a 2019 ad date; and the bridge over Sayler's Creek Road, with a projected ad date for 2015.

One resident presented a petition asking that Route 705 be paved. Of the 26 available people that have property or live on the road, 19 have signed the petition, with only one refusal.

Following the hearing, supervisors approved the resolution without change detailing the six-year plan and construction pri-ority list.

Project Updates

Prior to the hearing Wright presented an update on projects in the works as well as those currently on the secondary list. Spe-cifically, he noted:

*The Route 15 project (in front of Lowe's) is underway. It has a May of 2014 completion date. Route 601 (Aspen Hill Road) is underway and has an August 2013 completion date.

*Route 633 bridge over Bush River is scheduled for advertisement in December for construction.

*Twin Bridges Road (Route 623) has a January 2014 ad date.

*In 2015, the Back Hampden-Sydney Road (Route 643) is still on track. It is being designed and is moving along for a Feb-ruary of 2015 advertisement.

*The Saylor's Creek Bridge (on Route 619) is planned for replacement in 2015.

*The Route 622 bridge (Raccoon Crossing) is scheduled for 2016. Traffic will be detoured for a least a portion of the con-struction.

Wright also reported that they have completed all of their primary mowing and the contractor is working on secondary routes.

It was also cited that the board added Watson Boulevard to the six-year plan as a rural rustic (which means taking the exist-ing road that have little traffic and no anticipated growth and-with as little improvement as possible-essentially surface treat-ing the exiting road). It was noted that the board, however, did not approve a resolution designating it as a rural rustic at that time; a resolution was subsequently approved. Funding for the project, it was noted, is still a couple of years off.

Wright reported that bad places on Five Forks Road would be taken care of. They are working on advertising a small, maintenance project to do some rehab to the roadway and overlay it with a new layer of plant mix.

Leigh District Supervisor Don Gantt also highlighted damage by pine bark beetles on Route 630. Wright said he would pass it on to the superintendent to take a look. Wright encouraged anyone who sees a tree that can fall across the road to call 1-800-367-ROAD to report it on a customer service hotline. Campbell forwarded concerns over drainage problems on Dry Bridge Road.

Supervisors approved a request from a firm awarded the contract on widening Route 15 in front of Lowe's. The company would like to use county property for materials and equipment and staging. Bartlett noted they would like to place an office trailer.

The board agreed to authorize Bartlett to negotiate location and compensation for the temporary use of the coun-ty's/industrial development authority land. The County attorney had also recommended (and included in the board's decision) that the board require a release of a liability and that the contractor be required in writing to restore the property as nearly as practical to its original condition.

Vice-Chairman Howard Simpson asked about adding Greentown; Wright noted it is a good candidate for rural rustic option, but that there is no funding to add it this year to the six-year plan.

Moton Residence

It was reported that the boyhood home of R.R. Moton (Pleasant Shade) has been nominated to the Virginia Landmarks Reg-ister and for recommendation to the National Register of Historic Places. The Department of Historic Resources had sought comments from the Board regarding the nomination.

“The DHR is planning to present the proposed nomination to the Virginia State Review Board and the Virginia Board of His-toric Resources for recommendation to the National Register of Historic Places and for inclusion in the Virginia Landmarks Register,” Marc Christian Wagner, Director of the Department's Resource Information Division wrote in a letter to Wade Bart-lett.

Moton was one of the nation's prominent black educators in the first part of the 20th century, a summary in the board's pack-et noted. The R.R. Moton Museum in Farmville bears his name.

Supervisors agreed to authorize Bartlett to relay to the department the favorable consideration of the board.

Pond Discussion

Bartlett reported that, after an inspection of the new Route 786 from Virginia Department of Transportation on May 21, that “the County was informed on May 29 that all aspects of construction was deemed acceptable and the project was ready for ac-ceptance into state system.”

Supervisors, however, had one last great hurdle to work through: what is to become of five storm water ponds that were built as part of the construction. The issue was that once the transfer of the right-of-way is done to VDOT, they would responsible for maintenance, but-should the need arise to move the ponds for development purposes-it could be challenging to do so.

It could possibly take as much as a year.

Barring problems, there would be little expense in maintaining the ponds. While problems may be rare, it is a financial risk for the County to retain ownership.

The board considered retaining two of the ponds on the south side of Route 786, then turn the three on the north side to the state. A motion to do so died on a 4-4 vote, as did another motion from Wilck to turn them all over to the state.

Supervisor Wilck had raised concerns that maintenance can be high if something happens; he noted that he would prefer to turn them all over to VDOT.

“Why take on a financial risk if you don't have to?” Wilck said.

Gantt, however, noted if they needed to move one to put in an entrance that it would be tough. “You lose all your flexibility. Every bit of it is gone,” he said.

Following the lengthy discussion a second motion to turn over the three ponds to VDOT, and a substitute motion, the board agreed to turn over two ponds to VDOT and to keep three. The added pond, on a developable site, gives the property owner some flexibility as well.

That was approved on a 5-3 vote with support from Gantt, Chairman William “Buckie” Fore, Vice-Chairman Simpson, Hampden District Supervisor Charles McKay, and Jones. It was opposed by Wilck, Cooper-Jones and Campbell.

“In order for us to sell property out in that area, according to the engineers I've talked to, there's gonna have to be a second lane added to the lanes that are already out there-that guarantees that there will be a restudy of the water problem out there and that guarantees there will probably be a rebuild and possible relocation of those storm water things there,” Wilck offered before the final vote.

He added that there's going to be a cost, which is assessed is almost 100percent guaranteed.

In Other News…

*Under supervisors comments, Supervisor Cooper-Jones was pleased to see the turnout and encouraged attendees to return. Gantt encouraged those who have not made plans, that there is a big party going on at the Meherrin Volunteer Fire Department for July 4.

*Supervisors approved a consent agenda that included several appropriations.

The consent agenda also reflected the receipt of a $100,000 grant from the Department of Conservation and Recreation for the development of a regional storm water program. The County will serve as fiscal agent for the regional effort.

Supervisors later authorized the County Administrator to execute a contract with Joyce Engineering for regional storm water services not to exceed a cost of $100,000. If unable to do so, the board also authorized him to negotiate and execute a contract with the second highest rated firm.

*Supervisors made several appointments and reappointments. The board selected W. Parker Terry Jr. to fill an unexpired term on the planning commission to the end of the year; appointed Terry to the board of appeals for building code (a five-year appointment); reappointed Karen Schinabeck and Mattie P. Wiley to citizen positions to the Poplar Hill Community Develop-ment Authority; named Raymond E. Dowdy to serve on the Social Services Board; appointed Lisa F. Tharpe to the Southside Virginia Community College Board, and tapped Steven R. Kerns to serve as a new appointment to the Piedmont Senior Re-sources Area Agency on Aging.

The board also had four applicants to the County's Industrial Development Authority, ultimately appointing Tim Tharpe and reappointing Virginia Price. Each supervisor was permitted to vote for two candidates in the process; Tharpe received eight votes, Price five, incumbent Tony Williams two and Brad Watson one.

Board members also reappointed vice-chairman Simpson to the Poplar Hill Community Development Authority.

Supervisors reappointed James R. Ennis to serve as the County Attorney and Brian Butler, Morgan Greer and Bill Turner as deputy county attorneys from July 1 to June 30, 2014.

*Supervisors agreed to authorize the County's participation in a Virginia Tourism Corporation (VTC) marketing grant pro-ject with Farmville, Farmville Area Chamber of Commerce and Farmville Downtown Partnership. The County's portion, or $2,000, will come from the Tourism Department's special project fund in the current fiscal year.

*It was reported that the cannery opened June 3 to home users. There has also been a continuous stream of commercial users. Bartlett noted that they have a Virginia producer that produces 2,000 cases of 12 units each per week now outsourcing out of state, has contacted them. The producer does salsas and sauces.

Bartlett noted it would stretch their capacity to do that and was not sure if their existing facility could handle that type of de-mand. He offered it would support their existing grant application at the Tobacco Commission, which was tabled.

*Supervisors approved a Piedmont Court Services requested fee increase. Fees charged to offenders in the program will go from $100 to $125; and those involving indigents-impacting those that receive SNAP/Welfare or are on disability) increases from $30 to $37.50. It is projected to generate $18,000. It was noted that while the grant funds to operate the program has re-mained the same, costs have increased. During the budget process, Bartlett cited, they had to dip into the fund balance of the Piedmont Court Services fund approximately the same amount.

*The board, following an In The Line of Duty Committee recommendation, moved to add the late Sheriff Thomas Harrison Dickinson to the County's Memorial on Wednesday, September 11. Dickinson was killed by a train on September 30, 1915. The board approved a project budget of $3,500 (which will require the opening of a new memorial wall). Firefighters who gave their life in the line of duty will be listed on the right wall entering the board of supervisors meeting room; law enforcement officers will be honored on the left wall. The committee also recommended amending the criteria for those qualified for the honor by having the death commencing with January 1, 1900.

*Supervisors approved the purchase of a generator providing backup power for the facility that would be used as the Coun-ty's emergency operations center. Prince Edward received a 50/50 matching grant last fall (with each chipping in $50,000) and issued an invitation for bid for the purchase of a generator and the installation of a transfer switch.

It was noted that they contacted three highly recommended manufacturer's representatives for generators in Virginia and re-ceived one bid for a 100kW trailer-mounted generator from Carter Machinery Company for $66,782; and two bids for the trans-fer switch, the lowest of which was from Creative Electric for $15,745.

The price of the generator was less, Bartlett offered, than what the engineers had estimated they would get an 80kW unit for. Though he recommended they accept the bids and authorize him to enter into contract for each procurement transaction to com-plete the grant project, there was some concern over having received only one bid for the unit. Wilck suggested they table it and look for lower costs. He offered that he would make a point of contacting other people to get them some bids.

If the board rejected it bids, it was noted, they would have to re-advertise and go through the process again. They could not add additional bids to the one received.

The board opted to approve the bids, with Wilck and Cooper-Jones opposing.