Editors note: The following is a media release from Louisa County – NW
The Louisa County Board of Supervisors expressed dismay regarding the County of Fluvanna’s denial of the James River Water Project Special Use permits. The project, intended to bring a sustainable supply of water to both counties, had been an ongoing effort between the two counties before Fluvanna’s Board denied the permits at its meeting last night.
“I’m disappointed, to say the least,” said Chairman Tommy Barlow. “Louisa has maintained an open, willing, and transparent effort to complete this project with Fluvanna as set forth in the agreements between our jurisdictions over the past few years. It’s unfortunate that Fluvanna’s Board did not honor their commitment to the project.”
Louisa’s vision with regard to economic development has been successful in the Zion Crossroads growth area, largely due to early investment in water and sewer infrastructure.
“Regionalized efforts to develop infrastructure are crucial to business development today,” said Economic Development Director Andy Wade. “We understand that, and this project would have given our neighbors in the region the opportunity to benefit from the same kind of growth Louisa has enjoyed at Zion Crossroads.”
The prospect of legal recourse remains on the table according to Mike Lockaby, who serves as Louisa’s attorney for the project. “Fluvanna’s attorney counseled the Board in open session that the agreement between the two counties obligated the Fluvanna Board to approve the permits. If financing or water needs were the basis for their concerns, those should have been addressed prior to their entering in the agreement. Those concerns have no bearing on the issuance of these permits.”
Louisa County’s Long Range Water Supply Plan estimates a peak water demand of nearly 8 million gallons per day by 2050, and the County is considering alternative sources of supply. This amount, along with Fluvanna’s peak demand, supported the withdrawal permit approved by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality.
“It’s unfortunate, but we’ll continue to evaluate options,” said County Administrator Christian Goodwin. “Our Board intends to capitalize on the proven capability of infrastructure investment to foster economic growth and create jobs. There is a strong potential for both counties to reap these benefits from the James River Water Project, but last night’s vote indicates that some in Fluvanna may not share this vision.”