Buckingham County supervisors vote to correct years-long mistake

Published 8:57 am Wednesday, January 17, 2024

For years, the Buckingham County Recreation Department has used the property at 284 Industrial Park Road in Dillwyn. Kids play soccer there, while parents walk for exercise or watch younger siblings play on the playground. There’s just one problem: all this time, the county’s own operation has been violating its ordinances. 

You see, the area has been zoned neighborhood commercial and a playground/park area isn’t one of the uses allowed by right in such a zoning district. Once county staff learned of that, they put together a request to change the zoning, going from neighborhood commercial to recreational access. The request popped up recently in the county planning commission meeting, where members unanimously voted to send it to Buckingham supervisors. And that’s why on Monday, Jan. 8, supervisors, including chairman Joe Chambers and vice chair Dennis Davis, found themselves voting on the issue. 

“This happens to be in my district and I just want to say, this is one of the best things for the community that came out of the industrial park,” said District 2 Supervisor Cameron Gilliam, speaking about the park. “We have numbers of kids that practice there two days a week, Tuesdays and Thursdays, with soccer.” 

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Gilliam added that Todd Shumaker, director of recreation, does a great job with the department and he encouraged other supervisors to support the change, so as not to disrupt all the activities going on there.  

“We have to have some place for the kids to practice,” Gilliam said. “It’s close to the library, a lot of the parents walk the back road at night for exercise. We have a great playground back there where if one brother is playing (soccer), the other brother can be on the playground if he’s younger and whatnot.”  

Other supervisors agreed. After no one signed up for the public hearing, supervisors unanimously voted to approve the zoning change, so that the county owned property would be in accordance with its own zoning ordinance. 

Buckingham County keeps chairman 

Another change adopted during this month’s meeting involved the chair and vice chair, specifically the way they’re elected. Supervisors agreed to add an extra year, so that each chair and vice chair would serve a two-year term in the role, rather than just one. As a result, Joe Chambers remains as chairman of the board of supervisors for 2024, with Dennis Davis serving as vice chair.