Tag Archives: Dale Herring

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 County Relaxes Kennel Regulations

By. Brent Wilson, Field Officer

Currently a commercial kennel in Greene County must have 10 or more animals to operate as a business. For several years, officials have been reviewing this ordinance to decide how to become less restrictive.

In 2015, the Board of Supervisors asked the Planning Commission to review this issue and try to clarify the language. Since then, the issue has been studied by looking to see how other counties in Virginia handle this issue and even looking at how other states handle it. Issues that were addressed are the number of animals and the ages of the animals.

Last August, the Board of Supervisors voted to have the Planning Commission to propose imagechanges to the zoning ordinance and make a recommendation to the Supervisors. The Planning Commission proposed having two levels of shelters – small being less than five animals and large having five or more animals. Again, this only applies to commercial kennels.

Planning Director Jim Frydl outlined the proposal and explained that this revision to the ordinance only applies to kennels run as a business. The selling of several puppies or kittens does not qualify as a business and would not be included under the revised ordinance. Also, owners that keep any number of dogs for hunting would not fall under this ordinance.

In fact, recently there have been no kennels operating as a business in Greene County. The revision to the zoning ordinance actually would encourage commercial kennels to operate with less than five animals being allowed by right in A1, C1, B2 and B2 zones. Up until now, kennels had to have 10 or more animals to be legal. Kennels with five or more animals will be allowed in the same districts with a Special Use Permit. Frydl explained that a SUP is proposed for the larger number so that a review of the specific lot and other issues can be made.

Frydl also explained that the Planning/Zoning Department is a complaint driven agency. This ordinance does create any authority to regulate non-businesses. The perception is that the county is trying to be more restrictive but in fact just the opposite is what would occur.

However, the 20 speakers during the public comment section of the hearing seemed very concerned that since there are no kennels under the current definition (10 or more animals) then why are we trying to fix the situation?

Other comments were that too much government interference affects people who have a litter of puppies.

One speaker complained that too many city people have moved into Greene County. Many of the speakers asked that hunting dogs and pets specifically be excluded from the ordinance.

The supervisors then discussed the issue and agreed that the proposed change to the zoning ordinance would allow more and smaller kennels to operate businesses. Again the clarification was made that selling from a litter doesn’t make a business.

Supervisor Dale Herring (At-Large) reconfirmed that this zoning ordinance would only apply to kennels that are being run as a business and that the less than five animals would make it easier to have a business.

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Marie Durrer

Chairperson Michelle Flynn (Ruckersville) reconfirmed that under the new ordinance a person could have as many hunting dogs as they wanted. The one clarification from the proposed revision was to clarify that the kennel is “operating as a business”.

The revision to the zoning ordinance was approved by a 4-1 vote with Supervisor Marie Durrer (Midway) voting against the change.

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

Greene Supervisors Agree To Communicate Better

By Brent Wilson, Field Officer

At the November 8th Greene County Board of Supervisors the agenda contained a “General discussion of White Run Reservoir Project”. Normally the supervisors take actions or receive reports – a simple discussion is not the norm but it proved quite effective.

Vice Chair Michelle Flynn (Ruckersville) began the discussion stating that information regarding the Reservoir Project reported on social media that is not entirely accurate. The fact that the reservoir project  has been going on for 8 years has made it difficult, especially for new residents of Greene County, to keep up with project in terms of what has happened, why, what needs to happen and at what cost.

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 Michelle Flynn

While true that each meeting is available on line on the county website, Flynn explained that there is no one place to get an overview of the project.

Supervisor Dale Herring (At-Large) agreed that it is hard to understand how the White Run site chosen.  He agreed that there needs to be a summary of the project that highlights each step of the process.

clip_image004Supervisor Jim Frydl (Midway) suggested a narrative to summarize the project is needed and volunteered to do the draft of the document since he has been the supervisor who has dealt with the project from the beginning.

The general discussion evolved into how Greene County got to the point of needing a reservoir. According to Frydl, many rural communities haven’t invested in water resource and therefore water rates are artificially low and don’t pay for the operating costs let alone provide funds to expand their system. Even grants that are pursued say that Greene County needs to charge market rates for water.

Frydl continued to explain that the county is required to meet a 50 year supply plan as required by the Army Corps of Engineers. The first site reviewed was that of Carroll Morris’ property on Route 33 but the soil was not good for the dam. This led Greene to pursue the second choice which is the White Water location.

The cost of the project has been a topic of discussion for some time.  The cost is to be passed on via a rate increase for water and an increase in personal property tax that is to be done incrementally over time. Recently, there were reports of a robo-call indicating the Supervisors would vote on a tax increase at the November 8th meeting.  Such a vote was not scheduled and did not occur.

There is still much work on the project to be done – designs are yet to be completed, the dam layout has to be determined, once the specifications are submitted, cost estimates can be developed and the exact funding mechanisms will be determined.

Flynn felt that the uncertainty in the community supports the need for a summary to the public of what has been done and what has to been done. Herring agreed there is a lot of material related to the project over the years that needs to be summarized into a presentation to allow the whole history of the project to be understood.

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 Bill Martin

Chairman Bill Martin (Stanardsville) stated that the public wants to know how they will be forced to pay for the water supply. Martin felt that the Supervisors need to communicate better and pledged to be transparent in the process. He proposed a town hall meeting to review the history of the project and remind the citizens of Greene of the drought when the county nearly ran out of water.

Frydl indicated that doing a summary of the project would help citizens more easily understand what has happened to date. Martin thought that more needs to be done especially with the starting of live streaming of Supervisor meetings in December.

Martin asked for input from County Administrator John Barkley. He appreciates that the Board seems to be unified in wanting to provide easily understood information on the project. And while all of the information is available over the eight years of Supervisor meeting minutes, it is very time consuming to gather all of the information over the years.

Barkley recommended summarizing the history of the project and carrying forward the actions required to design, build, maintain the water supply. Frydl agreed with Barkley and reconfirmed that the dam is needed since the current water supply cannot handle new large users and thus significantly restricts the economic growth of Greene County.

Martin asked Barkley to look at a town hall meeting with the consultants once we are comfortable with the time line on the remaining tasks. Frydl offered to do an outline and to work with Barkley to develop a presentation for the public.

It is hoped that the summary would cover all the decision points over the project to date and link back to each meeting where the issue was discussed so that citizens could easily get the details of any particular issue. In addition, the tasks yet to be done with approximate times and cost should be estimated and updated as the project moves forward.

Live streaming of the Supervisor meetings start in December as a new way to get information out to the public.

In the end, the Board of Supervisors heard the concerns from the citizens of Greene County and the board is going to communicate better.

It sounds like how the system should work.

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