By Bryan Rothamel, Field Officer
What was once thought to be a long meeting went rather quickly as the Fluvanna County Board of Supervisors deferred two public hearings on Oct. 21.
Supervisors did approved a 21-acre commercial development at the corner of Route 53 and Lake Monticello Road.
The property is across Lake Monticello Road from Effort Baptist Church. The intersection had planned Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) improvements of putting a turn lane on Route 53, however recently the focus has shifted to putting in a roundabout to further improve safety issues.
The development, called Colonial Circle, will help make the roundabout happen. The owner proffered the right away for the road improvement. The county can then donate the land to VDOT and it would be considered a county match to VDOT funds.
The owner further proffered commercial space would be limited to 20,000 square feet until the roundabout was built.
Bob Ullenburch (Palmyra District) asked if the intersection is bad now, would a new development make it worse. Tony O’Brien (Rivanna District) calmed his concerns saying he felt the commercial spaces wouldn’t attract destination shoppers but residents who already use the roadways.
“I think it is a tremendous project here,” said Don Weaver (Cunningham District).
The supervisors also voted unanimously to loan another $9,000 to the Fork Union Sanitary District (FUSD). It wasn’t without concern from Weaver.
FUSD has continually borrowed money from the county and continually not repaid the debt. FUSD loans over the year are: $40,000 in 2010, $30,000 in 2013, $39,000 in 2014 and now $9,000 in 2015. In total, FUSD owes $118,000 to the county.
“When will we (FUSD) get on our feet? I don’t know, but we will in the future,” said chairwoman Mozell Booker (Fork Union District).
Last year, the supervisors raised the rates of FUSD to help repay the money. This past year the water system had increased revenues but unexpected capital expenses have sunk profits.
“It is going to take time. That’s reality,” said Booker.
Weaver responded, “That’s what bothers me; that is the reality.”
Ullenbruch countered that staff warned the first year projected revenues would be lower because higher rates lower customer usage early on. Then over time, customers will start using at previous levels.
“If we expected to break even [this year], this is on us,” said Ullenbruch. He also noted the supervisors didn’t pick the highest rate increase that would’ve recouped the funds quicker.
The expected James River Water Authority (JRWA) public hearings were deferred, without consideration. Those deferments turned the expected marathon meeting into what felt like just a short jog.
The JRWA opposition is mounting, especially in the eastern part of the county. The intake facility is proposed near Columbia. From there Louisa County Water Authority would construct a pipeline along the eastern border to bring water to the Ferncliff area in Louisa County.
The public hearings are expected to be held on Dec. 2 at 7 p.m. during a special meeting.
The next scheduled meeting is Nov. 4 at 4 p.m. At that meeting there may be a water infrastructure work session. While the Zion Crossroads water project was originally projected to be formally presented in October, that clearly has been delayed.
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