By William J. Des Rochers
Fluvanna Field Officer
Fluvanna’s supervisors agreed to borrow up to $75.5 million to finance the construction of the new high school. Previously the Board borrowed $7.5 million for the project. Of that amount, approximately $61 million is dedicated for high school construction; the remaining portion would be for deposits and fees.
The actual amount borrowed will depend upon market conditions at the time of the sale, but is expected to be between $65-$70 million according to Mr. David Rose, the bond counsel. The county expects to go to the market the week of September 21st.
Supervisors also agreed to refinance $7.5 million of previous school construction debt in order to reduce interest charges to the county.
There was a lot of discussion regarding the size of the loan, particularly since the supervisors previously agreed to a maximum $71 million for on high school construction. Supervisor Don Weaver (Cunningham) criticized the county administration’s advertizing a $75.5 million cap on the borrowing since the Board never approved that amount. Rose’s later explanation of the loan package seemed to mollify the concern.
Supervisor Charles Allbaugh (Rivanna) offered to support a motion to lower the authorized amount, but no supervisor offered an amendment to reduce the limit.
Board Nixes Rezoning
In a somewhat surprising decision, supervisors denied a request by the Fluvanna-Louisa Housing Foundation to rezone a property in Fork Union that would have provided two units of affordable housing instead of the one that currently exists by right.
Citizens and local residents opposed the request – over fifty signed a petition against the proposal – charging that it could endanger the Omohundro well, which provides around one-third of the water to residents of the Fork Union Sanitation District.
Mr. Howard Evergreen, the director of the Foundation, told the supervisors that water safety was not an issue. According to Mr. Evergreen, the state health department had given its approval and he said: “If you don’t approve it [the rezoning], you are saying you know more than the state heath department”.
Moments later, he also told the Board: “If you want to turn us down, then tell us you don’t want affordable housing”. Supervisors did not tell him that, but did turn down the request 3-2. Supervisors Gooch (Palmyra), Ott (Rivanna), and Weaver voted against the request. Supervisor Booker (Fork Union) abstained since she is a member of the Housing Foundation.
Other Board Actions
Among other actions, the supervisors:
· Approved an application by Serenity Partners (Palmyra) to rezone 14.8 acres from A-1 (Agricultural, General) to I-1 (Industrial, Limited) for industrial uses in the Zion Crossroads area;
· Approved amendments to the county zoning ordinance so as to require a special use permit for private community water and wastewater treatment systems. The county lost a lawsuit filed by the developer of the Central Meadows subdivision and the amendments would correct the deficiencies the court found in the previous ordinance;
· Approved the Industrial Development Authority’s request for a name change to the Economic Development Authority;
The Board’s next meeting will be on October 1st, at 2:00 pm in the Courthouse.