Fluvanna Supervisors Approve Riparian Buffers

By William J. Des Rochers, Fluvanna Field Officer

On August 1st, the Fluvanna Board of Supervisors voted to require riparian buffers in the designated growth areas of the county, as well as the rest of the county. The 4-1 vote (Chairman Shaun Kenney, Columbia, dissented) came despite warnings from critics that the requirement could have an adverse impact upon economic development prospects in the Zion Crossroads area of the county.

There are three categories of buffers: those for rivers (the Rivanna, the James, and the Hardware): 100 feet on either side; principal streams: 75 feet on either side; or, intermittent streams: 50 feet on either side. The Zion Crossroads area has both principal and intermittent streams.

Supervisor Joe Chesser (Rivanna), a strong proponent for economic development, stated that the issue was a tough one but ensuring clean water now will be cheaper in the long run than delay. A similar zoning text amendment to the subdivision ordinance passed unanimously.

Supervisors also took several other actions. They:

· Approved a $1.5 million contract to construct a new firehouse in Fork Union;

· Accepted a proposal by Robinson, Farmer, Cox to conduct an efficiency audit of the Fluvanna school system; and,

· Realigned the order of business when they conduct their public meetings.

The Board later reconvened to consider numerous water sources in the county and how they might be integrated into a comprehensive water plan for the county and especially Zion Crossroads. County community development director Bobby Popowicz listed six major sources of water for the county, and the gallons of water per day (gpd) that each could provide.

They are: Aqua Virginia (500,000), VA. Department of Correction (150,000 to 175,000), the “Thomasville” wells from the now vacant manufacturing plant (400,000), the James River existing unused intake (250,000), the James River Water Authority, jointly owned with Louisa county (5,000,000), and, the ECTI Raw Water intake (unknown capacity).

While much of the immediate focus is on the Zion Crossroads area, planners would like to see the entire county be part of a long term water solution and requested the supervisors to instruct them to develop a phased strategic water plan for the county.

While the supervisors did not act upon the staff request, they did direct staff to:

· Investigate water partnership options with the Department of Corrections.

· Continue review of the Aqua Virginia and any other water proposal received under the PPEA process.

· Investigate Carysbrook wells (“Thomasville”) and the County’s existing unused James River water intake to determine viability for potential county water needs.

· Set up an early September 2012 meeting between two Fluvanna BOS members and two Louisa County BOS members to discuss water planning issues; and,

· Coordinate a late September or early October 2012 meeting of the James River Water Authority to discuss current water opportunities.

Supervisors will not meet next until September 5th.


William Des Rochers is the Fluvanna County Field Officer for the Free Enterprise Forum a privately funded public policy organization.

The Free Enterprise Forum Field Officer program is funded by a generous grant from the Charlottesville Area Association of REALTORS® (CAAR) and by readers like you.  To support this important work please donate online at www.freeenterpriseforum.org

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