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Public Voices Greene Scenic Byway Support

By. Brent Wilson, Field Officer

At the December 11th meeting of the Greene County Board of Supervisors everyone who spokeimage about Greene County pursuing Route 810 and Route 230 as a Scenic Byway were against the idea. Economic Development Authority Director, Alan Yost, asked that the Board advertise and hold a public hearing to give the public notice of the opportunity to discuss the issue.

So the schedule for the January 8th meeting included a public hearing on the Proposed Virginia Byway designation.

Virginia code dictates that public hearings must be advertised in the local paper in advance of the meeting. Due to an error at the Greene County Record, the required notice did not appear in the newspaper and therefore the public hearing could not officially be held although the meeting room was at capacity with citizens ready to speak on this issue.

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Alan Yost

The Board of Supervisors recognized that a large number of citizens came to the meeting to be heard on the issue so they went ahead with a “Public Comment” session and allowed the public to speak on the issue and assured them their comments will be added to the comments made at the January 22nd public hearing.

Yost thanked the Board for going forward with the meeting and presented several reasons why the Board should support the Scenic Byway resolution.  Yost indicated Scenic Byways are supported in the Comprehensive Plan, more tourists will improve the economy of the county, tourism tax revenue helps decrease the tax burden on the residents of Greene, and tourism doesn’t place demand on County services such as the school system.

In addition, Yost is working with Albemarle County and Madison County. Madison has already approved the Scenic Byway for Route 230. Albemarle is behind both Madison and Greene County in their process.

Yost indicated that Greene County would incur no cost with the program, there are no restrictions to what vehicles can use the roadway, Route 810 is actually rated by VDOT for 4 times the current traffic volume and it is estimated that a 4% increase will occur from the designation.

Finally, Yost referred to the editorial in last week’s Greene County Record which referenced  3,000 miles of Scenic Byways in Virginia.  Yost stated that he has been unable to find a county that regrets naming a Scenic Byway and a county can change their mind and remove the designation at any time.

Supervisor Dale Herring (At Large) asked Yost if  the designation would apply to the parts of Route 33 Bypass and Route 33 Business that connects Route 810 and Route 230 and was told they would be included in the proposal to Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT)  and that small sections of four lane roads have been designated when they connect other parts of a Byway. Chairman Bill Martin (Stanardsville) outlined the route as Route 230 to Route 33 Business through Stanardsville to Route 33 By-Pass West to Route 810 toward Albemarle County.

The presentation shifted to comments from the public of which 18 of 19 speakers spoke in favor of the Scenic Byway designation. One of the main issues brought up is the town of Stanardsville would benefit from tourism traffic which has been down since the Route 33 Bypass was built around the town.

The hope is that more traffic through town would attract more businesses to locate in Stanardsville. One thought was that if the Scenic Byway was adopted that possibly the southern portion of Route 810 would be better maintained.

The final speaker in favor of the Scenic Byway designation took off from the movie Field of Dreams by suggesting the Board to…. Approve It and They Will Come!

There was one speaker opposed to the designation.  His comments focused on the road conditions and narrowness of Route 810 at the southern end near Albemarle County was not safe or adequate for the increased traffic.

Vice Chair Michelle Flynn (Ruckersville) reminded everyone that the formal public hearing on this issue will be held at the next Board meeting on January 22nd. She assured those that spoke tonight would have their comments entered into the record as will any emails, phone calls or letters up until the next meeting.  Martin was pleased with the great attendance and encouraged others to come to the next meeting. At that point the issue was tabled until the January 22nd meeting.

Later in the meeting it was announced that Greene County has hired a new County Administrator – Mark B. Taylor – who holds the same position at Spotsylvania County and he will start in April.

Brent Wilson is the Greene 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 http://www.freeenterpriseforum.org

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Greene Supervisors Set 2016 Officers and Assignments

By. Brent Wilson, Field Officer

The Greene County Board Supervisors had their first meeting of 2016 on Tuesday, January 12th with two supervisors attending their first meeting. Eddie Deane, Supervisor at Large, decided not to run for reelection and the race for the seat was between Dale Herring and Bob Young.  Herring won the election 54% vs. 45%.

The Ruckersville District has been represented by Supervisor Davis Lamb who ran for reelection against Michelle Flynn, former Greene County School Board Chairman, with Flynn winning the election. The third race was for the Monroe District with the seat being held by Chairman David Cox. Although he technically ran unopposed, Donna Harlow ran as a write in candidate and collected a third of the votes.

Bill Martin Greene County Supervisor

Greene County Board of Supervisors 2016 Chairman Bill Martin

Supervisor Bill Martin was elected Chairman and Supervisor Michelle Flynn was elected Vice-Chairman. Martin’s first order of business was to propose revising the “Matters from the public” to have only 3 requirements – 1) speakers sign up in advance, 2) speakers will be allocated 3 minutes unless the Chairman grants more time and 3) the Chairman will monitor time and maintain decorum. This motion was passed unanimously.

The main business of the meeting was to reassign Liaison Functions, especially the 8 that had been assigned to Deane and Lamb. Supervisor Jim Frydl took the second position for the Central Virginia Regional Jail Board. Dale Peyton took the Parks and Recreation Dept., the Planning Commission, the Board of Zoning Appeals and the Thomas Jefferson Planning District. Flynn took the Jefferson Area Board of Aging, the Rivanna River Basin and Social Services Board.

Commissioner David Cox proposed reinstating a Board Liaison with the Emergency Services after being approached by several of the fire departments and the rescue squad. He had previously held this position when he first joined the Board. After debating if staff could provide this connection, it was decided to assign Cox as the liaison to the Emergency Services.

The final reorganizational issue discussed was the vacancy on the Planning Commission and Supervisor David Cox explained that there are three applicants for the position and the Board will appoint one of them at their second meeting in January. As a result, the Planning Commission will have only four members at their January meeting next week.

Brent Wilson is the Greene 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