By Teresa Gulyas, Greene County Field Officer
Despite the heat and rain, a large crowd turned out for the July 13 Greene County Board of Supervisors meeting held at the Raymond C. Dingledine III Performing Arts Center at William Monroe High School auditorium. Steve Catalano (At-Large), Board Chairman, opened the meeting by welcoming the public and setting the tone for a cordial discourse.
Dr. David Jeck, Superintendent of Greene County Schools, presented an abbreviated version of his presentation given at the June 22 Board of Supervisors meeting. He reiterated that the needs for facilities upgrades are well-documented. He detailed the timeline for the grant application and identified future meeting dates that the Board would be updated on the status of the application with the public hearing for approval of the loan anticipated for late November. He reiterated the scope of the project and budget estimates and referred to the documents posted on the Greene County Schools website.
Public comment was heard from 27 members of the community. With opposition coming from only two citizens, the vast majority spoke in favor of the Board supporting the move forward with the grant application. Citing safety as the primary concern and regional competitiveness a close second, remaining speakers were passionate yet reasoned in addressing the Board. Acknowledging appreciation for the Board’s past fiscal conservative fiscal management, others noted the limited window for such favorable financing opportunities.
The Board discussion revealed some continuing reservations about the application process and the need for better communication between the schools and the Board of Supervisors but verbalized support for proceeding with the loan application.
The Board appointed Supervisor Jim Frydl (Ruckersville) to serve on the project’s steering committee charged with defining the scope of the project and brining it forward when this issue comes for public hearing in the fall.
Water and Sewer Authority Ordinances
Background: On May 24, 2010 The Greene County Board of Supervisors held a special meeting to enact emergency legislation relating to water and sewer (See our blog post Secret Public Meeting). The special meeting provision in State Code dictates that public hearings (both Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors) on these ordinances (which were made effective immediately) has to be held within 60 days of the Board Emergency Action.
The Joint Public Hearing with the Greene County Planning Commission to consider revisions to the Greene County Subdivision Ordinance and Greene County Zoning Ordinance pertaining to regulations related to Water/Sewer Utilities and all applicable references (OR #10-002) began with a review of the changes made to the ordinance during the emergency Board meeting held on May 24. Property owners and their legal representatives, addressed the Board with concerns related to the ambiguous wording of the revised ordinance and the perception that it was rushed and shrouded in secrecy. Some questioned the timing of the revisions and warned the Board that adoption of the revisions will lead to litigation.
Public comments concluded with Neil Williamson, President, Free Enterprise Forum, recommending the Board get clarification from the County Attorney and to avoid using water and sewer regulations to limit development. He questioned whether it was in the county’s best interest to stay in the Rapidan Service Authority and encouraged the Board to act as a partner with land owners and developers to drive growth in the county.
The Planning Commission discussed the proposed revisions, considered the public comment, and expressed concerns over the rush to adopt the revisions. They unanimously opposed the changes in the ordinance.
The Board of Supervisors decided unanimously to have the County attorney review the proposed revisions and send the revisions to the Planning Committee for review.
After a brief public hearing to consider the proposed amendment to the Greene County Code regarding the addition of Chapter 31 – Water and Sewer – pertaining to the regulation of private water and sewer systems and the adoption of the Water and Sewer Service Area, the Board decided to bundle these with OR#10-002 and return all to the Planning Commission for further review.
The result of these actions, the ordinances passed in the emergency Board of Supervisors meeting on May 24th will become null and void on July 24th.