Board of Supervisors call for public hearings

Published 8:15 am Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Cumberland County Board of Supervisors met on Dec. 14 for their monthly meeting. During this meeting, two public hearings were approved to be scheduled to give citizens more information on possible changes.

The first public hearing came in light of Casey Littlefield’s presentation about raising the prices on permit fees. As the acting building commissioner for Cumberland County, Littlefield has experience with how the costs affect the department.

According to Littlefield, having a price of the permit is state law. The permit for the buildings gives the address and information to the city of the new address to have on file. The cost is to maintain the department, not to create a profit. However, the current price does not allow the budget to break even as they have to dip into the general budget to make it cost-neutral.

The current fee is 20 cents per square foot on the structure, with the trade permit being $50 per foot. Littlefield would like to see the cost raised to 25 cents and a $60 per foot for trade permit. He also wants to add decks to square footage instead of separate, which adds value and is cheaper for the customer. This plan will make the budget attainable in four years.

“With the new fees, we don’t want to be the highest, we don’t want to be the lowest, we want to be somewhere in the middle right where we want to be,” said Littlefield when comparing the new fees to current fees of neighboring areas.

The fees would increase over time, especially now that more builders are coming to Cumberland.

The second public hearing will be regarding the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission wanting to make part of the James River a scenic river which was presented by Dominique Lavorata. According to the state code’s definition, it means it possesses “superior natural and scenic beauty, fish and wildlife, and historic, recreational, geologic, cultural and other assets.”

The section in question is from New Canton to Columbia across the county’s tip. Making this a scenic river, according to Lavorata, will not affect landowners’ property rights adjacent to the site. Making it a scenic river would give citizens in the area more of a voice on what is done with the section of river in their area.

“What it certainly does not do is give the state control land use; it carries no land use controls whatsoever,” said Lavorata. “It does not commercially promote its scenic rivers.”

This will not add anything to the river, just showing that the river has scenic and historical significance as it is the location of the Monacan settlement and the Old Buckingham Church which was built in 1785.

OTHER BOARD ACTION AND DISCUSSION:

• Approved the audit presentation for the fiscal year of 2021 presented by Aaron Hawkins.

• Approved the Four-For-Life funds totaling $11,653.20 for expenditures allowable per the Virginia Department of Health. This money is the extra $4 on vehicle registrations that go toward emergency medical services.

• Approved the Cumberland County Elementary School to receive the grant of $200,000 for the 21st Century Community Learning Centers.

• Approved to appropriate the interest earned on the CARES Act funds amounting to $144.19 for the months of October and November of 2021. This money will be used for eligible expenses.

• Approved the Sheriff’s Department can use the $6,500, which is half the funds raised from donated RV and other donations to go into the budget for uniforms and equipment.

• VDOT gave an update about its preparation for snowstorms. They also have been cleaning Cedar Plains Road, cutting brush back. In the discussion to change the speed limit on Route 60, VDOT found no change necessary for the speed limit coming into town. Signage may be looked into to inform drivers of turning vehicles.

• Cumberland County Public Library announced that they have been approved for the Dolly Parton Imagination Library. This program gives children a book each month until they are five years old.