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Exhibit A: Good citizenship and good government

The Prince Edward County Board of Supervisors’ latest regular meeting Sept. 11 provided an excellent example of what good citizenship and good government look like.

During a public hearing about proposed amendments to the county’s Sandy River Reservoir Ordinance, George Patton spoke. He is a citizen who lives on Gates-Bass Road on property that adjoins the county’s property on the Sandy River Reservoir. He had spoken recently to the board about some of the same issues he brought up during the hearing.

Patton mentioned how heavily traveled Gates-Bass Road is, “with people, with boats, with trailers and people doing drugs.”

He also talked about other activity.

“We had somebody come up into my property and use the bathroom in my woods right where we kept our kayaks,” he said. “My wife went out, as soon as that lady saw my wife, she got her stuff, got in her car and left. We could not get a license number. (People) go in the woods, do what they have to do in the woods. We should have a Porta-John there for this issue. People in their kayaks — men or women — a lot of times they have to use the bathroom, and they’re peeing in the water …”

“The other thing is too, which I brought up the last time, is the dry fire hydrant, and I’m not trying to be a hard-nose and stop everything from happening or kayaking,” he said. “We need to try to work something out for the (fire) protection of the people on Gates-Bass Road, Green Bay Road and then the surrounding area with the fire hydrant. If we could possibly get with the fire chief in Rice to come out and say, ‘OK, this has to be sectioned off. OK, they could park some cars here, they can park some cars here.’ But you’ve got to have access to park ‘em. It’s against the law to park in front of a fire hydrant in Virginia.”

Patton concluded his comments to the board by saying, “Ladies and gentlemen, thank you very much this evening for hearing me. I hope this can be worked out in a safe manner.”

After the last person had come to speak, it was clear the board had been attentive to Patton’s words.

Board Chairman and Farmville 801 District Supervisor Pattie Cooper-Jones said, “We’d like to say ‘thank you’ to all of you, that we definitely hear what you have to say, and I’m going to ask Mr. Bartlett to look at marking off just for the fire hydrant.”

County Administrator Wade Bartlett said research would need to be done on dry hydrants to make sure changes were implemented appropriately, and Cooper-Jones thanked him in advance for his follow through on her request.

Assistant County Administrator Sarah Puckett added that “we also talked about making the improvements to the area with signage and the barricade and the delineation of the hydrant and the parking areas, awaiting the board’s action tonight to determine what those regulations would be to place appropriate signage so that the public doesn’t have to come and seek the ordinance. We would make it more available, and that would be a time that we could try and delineate parking, signify the dry hydrant. As the gentleman has pointed out, we want to make sure that’s available to firefighters if it’s needed.”

Addressing another of Patton’s concerns, Bartlett also said, “Now if the board would like, we could, I’m sure, place a Porta-John down there. It’d cost us about $100 a month and all.”

He said details would need to be sorted out on placement, but the county could look into it.

Buffalo District Supervisor C.R. “Bob” Timmons Jr. heard Patton with regard to people trespassing on his property and doing other illegal things, encouraging him to continue calling the sheriff’s office.

“Please keep calling them because that lets them know that there may be a potential problem or there is a potential problem there,” he said.

He also noted that amendments to the ordinance — which the board later approved — would strengthen enforcement of laws and address other concerns Patton mentioned about congestion of trailers.

Board Vice Chairman and Farmville 701 District Supervisor Jim Wilck wanted more opportunity to hear from the citizens who spoke, and he asked them, “Could you give up a little of your time and let’s meet and talk about it and get your input in it?”

Understandably, he heard a positive response.

TITUS MOHLER is the sports editor for The Farmville Herald and Farmville Newsmedia, LLC. His email address is Titus.Mohler@FarmvilleHerald.com.