Board approves the sale of land

Published 6:13 pm Thursday, June 16, 2022

Despite opposition, the Buckingham Board of Supervisors voted Monday, June 13, to approve the sale of property to a developer after a public hearing.

The hearing and action dealt with 125.28 acres of land in Dillwyn that is currently recognized as an industrial park. Atlantic Investments Corp. intends to buy it for townhomes, single-family homes and light industrial and commercial businesses.

During the public hearing, eight residents spoke out against the sale. Everyone wanted to maintain the rural lifestyle that Buckingham County provides. Many feared that these townhouses and neighborhoods would bring in people from Richmond and other cities, changing the dynamic of the county.

“If we bring in people who can afford these homes, it is going to raise the median income for the county,” said Casey Davis of District 4. “This eventually is going to cause an increase in cost of goods for everybody else in the county. Think about us just shopping at Food Lion paying Food Lion prices now shopping at Wegman’s paying Wegman’s prices. That is going to put the cost out of the reach for some residents who have lived here their entire lives.”

While they understood this would bring the county additional revenue, those opposed to the plan asked for a different way to do so.

“If it’s an income conversation, I would ask the board to contemplate other opportunities to get income,” said Brian Davis of District 4. “I’m cognizant of the pressure you’re under for taxes… there are other ways to talk about money.”

The property in question has sat vacant for more than a decade. The goal for this project is to add a minimum of $15 million dollars to the county’s tax base within five years. Additionally, a new Virginia Department of Transportation approved road will be added from Wingo Road.

“I’m looking forward 10 years from now and hopefully this will be a good thing for the county,” said Supervisor Donald Bryan. “Nobody knows that until you try and if we don’t try to do something then we will be a sleepy little community and your taxes are going to steadily go up… You tasked us to bring money into the county and we’re trying.”

According to Supervisor Don Matthews, the developer is covering $2.2 million for the infrastructure. The total price of the project will be about $35 million. This could add 150 households to Buckingham County and the county’s schools are also down around 150 students.

“The price of everything has gone up and up and up and I think it’s important to diversify our income as well instead of leaning so heavily on the real estate tax base,” said board of supervisors Chairman Jordan Miles. “The last thing any supervisor right now wants to do is go up on your taxes. Inflation is at 8.5%, gasoline is going up, so it’s an effort to diversify our income without going up on your taxes.”

A motion to approve the project was made by Supervisor Bryan and seconded by Supervisor Don Matthews. The vote carried 4-3 with Supervisors Dennis Davis, Harry Bryant and Danny Allen voting against.

According to Miles, there will be a rezoning process so there will be future public hearings on the matter during future Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors meetings.

In other business:

• The board presented a Resolution of Memoriam for Robert Earl Bryant to his wife, Annie Bryant; son, Mark Bryant; and daughter, Lios Bryant. This resolution recognized him for his service to Buckingham and his work on the Buckingham Branch Railroad.

• Supervisors presented certificates to the Buckingham County Girls Basketball Team. The team had an undefeated James River District season and won the district and tournament championships.

• Galen Creekmoore and Gary Wood from Central Virginia Electric Cooperative gave a broadband update. The broadband should be up and available in Buckingham County by the end of the fall, and others on the CVEC plan can expect it by the end of the year. Those in the Regional Internet Service Expansion (RISE) coverage area are on a three-year plan to get the broadband installed. Anyone with questions can visit fireflyva.com or call (833) 473-3591.

• Scott Frederick of the Virginia Department of Transportation gave an update. He submitted the locations for the traffic speed readers discussed in the last meeting to Traffic Engineering for consideration.

• The second public hearing was held on amending the zoning ordinance regarding sign placement for public hearings. This change requires signs to be posted, but in the event they are not, it would not invalidate the application or ultimate actions taken by the planning commission or board of supervisors. No one signed up to speak. It passed unanimously.

• Supervisors voted to hold a public hearing July 11 for CASE 21-SUP298 on a special use permit for the purpose of operating a sawmill on Crumptown Road in Farmville.

• The board set a July 11 public hearing on CASE 21-SUP302 on a special use permit for an Airbnb bed and breakfast with six dry campsites on Mulberry Road in Buckingham.

• Supervisors voted to hold a July public hearing on July 11, for CASE 21-SUP303 for a special use permit for an Airbnb Bed and Breakfast, campsites and event center on Maple Top Lane in Buckingham.

• Reece Hammer gave a presentation from Solid Waste Recycling for a possible recycling program. This company makes it easier to recycle more items and keep them from landfills. The board voted to give permission to the county administrator and county attorney to create a contract for consideration.

• The board voted to allow the county attorney and county administrator to continue working on Commitment to Firefly for high-speed internet agreement

• Supervisors voted unanimously to approve the new tires on private property policy.

• Cody Davis, Buckingham’s emergency management coordinator, requested training funds for the EMS. Davis asked supervisors to appropriate the remainder of the fiscal year’s training reserve balance of $11,720 for $9,985 worth of training equipment.

• Donnie Bryan will step down after 11 years on the board after the August meeting. Anyone interested in the position can contact him by June 27 to be considered for nomination.

• The board voted to also honor the Buckingham County baseball team for its notable season, making it to the final four for the first time ever.