Tag Archives: Fluvanna County

Fluvanna Supervisors Approve Funding For Zion Water and Sewer Design

By. Bryan Rothamel, Field Officer

The Fluvawater-bib_thumb.jpgnna County Board of Supervisors approved funding for the final design of the Zion Crossroads sewer and water system during the December 7 meeting.

The Board approved $47,870 to complete the final design with Dewberry Engineers. Previously supervisors in FY14 approved funding of $575,000 for preliminary work on the Zion Crossroads water system.

That funding plus a supplementary appropriation of another $30,000 paid for preliminary engineering report,18 preliminary design task orders, an aerial survey and a ground survey.

The project is to have both a drinkable water line and a sewer line from the Fluvanna Women’s Correctional Facility down Route 250 to Route 15 and then turns down Route 15.

The current scope of the project will include construction of a water booster station, water main, elevated storage tank, wastewater pump station and a wastewater force main. With a 20 percent contingency, it is estimated to cost $9.52 million. The original estimate in the preliminary engineering report was $7.07 million for the same items.

Once the final design is completed, the project can move to bidding services and construction administration.

Supervisors approved a deer hunt at Pleasant Grove for handicap hunters. The Wheelin’ Sportsmen have conducted the annual hunt since 2013. The Fluvanna Sheriff’s Office will provide patrol during the event. The park will be closed from 2 p.m. until dark during the hunt. The date will be early January.

County staff suggested the Board of Supervisors encourage the Planning Commission (PC) and the School Board (SB) to flip their meeting weeks to improve the county’s planning process. Currently the School Board meets on the third Wednesday of the month. The Planning Commission meets on the fourth Wednesday.

Any applicant going through the PC currently submits an application then waits for the PC’s public hearing eight weeks later. Then the BOS has a public hearing, four weeks later. The process takes 12 weeks, at the quickest.

If the SB and the PC flip flop meeting weeks, the process could be sped up to seven weeks because the BOS and the PC could advertise their public hearings simultaneously and hold them a week apart. Staff estimated 75 percent of applicants would be completed in seven weeks.

If the PC needs two meetings to discuss issues, which happens about 25 percent of the time by staff estimates, the process would then be a similar timeline to the current one.

Staff recommends this change because it will make the planning process streamlined and easier.

The supervisors do not have a say in the other two boards switching their meeting times but can kindly stress the importance of a streamlined process. A quicker process makes the county more attractive to development and in return, increase the tax base.

Supervisors did change one meeting date. The board will next meet on Tuesday, December 20 because of the holiday season. The meeting is set for 7 p.m. in the Fluvanna Circuit Courtroom.


https://freeenterpriseforum.files.wordpress.com/2015/10/bryan-rothamel.jpg?w=151&h=151The Free Enterprise Forum’s coverage of Fluvanna County is provided by a grant from the Charlottesville Area Association of REALTORS®and by the support of readers like you.

Bryan Rothamel covers Fluvanna County for the Free Enterprise Forum

Fluvanna To Move Polling Station

Ballot-Box_thumb.jpgBy Bryan Rothamel, Field Officer

The Fluvanna County  Board of Supervisors will have a special public hearing on Jan. 6 about moving the Rivanna District polling station.

It is currently the Lake Monticello Clubhouse but because of planned renovations, the facility may not be accessible during a primary election, if held, and the general election.

The new proposed location is the Lake Monticello Volunteer Fire Squad Station (LMVFS). It previously served as the second precinct in the Rivanna District until 2010 when the redistricting eliminated the second precinct and shrunk the district size.

An interesting note, the LMVFS is located outside of the Rivanna District and is in the Cunningham District. While the voting districts are close in population, the Rivanna District is so small geographically because it mainly includes only area inside Jefferson Drive at Lake Monticello. The district is almost completely residential except for the Lake Monticello Clubhouse and Lake Monticello Marina.

The county ordinance (2-2-3) states, “Precincts shall be known by their respective polling places and shall be coterminous with the respective electoral districts.”

The state code (24.2-310) allows polling stations to be outside the precinct if within one mile of the boundary.

The Rivanna District boundary is less than half a mile from the proposed location.

The other options considered were Effort Baptist Church and Lake Christian Church. Both are also located in the Cunningham District and both are within a mile of the boundary lines.

Questions to the Registrar’s Office regarding the county ordinance went unanswered as Joyce Pace, the registrar, is out on vacation for a week.

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bryan-rothamelThe Free Enterprise Forum’s coverage of Fluvanna County is provided by a grant from the Charlottesville Area Association of REALTORS® and by the support of readers like you.

Bryan Rothamel covers Fluvanna County for the Free Enterprise Forum

Fluvanna Increases Tax Rates

By Bryan Rothamel, Field Officer

Fluvanna BOS_group2014_smThe Fluvanna County Board of Supervisors passed the budget on a unanimous vote for the second time in three years.

The budget season was without much fanfare besides the long work session that set up the final budget. No residents even spoke at the public hearing. The advertised budget of $68.3 million passed without further discussion on April 15.

The real estate tax rate goes from $0.86 (equalized) to $0.899 per $100 assessed. The personal property rate goes from $4.15 to $4.35 per $100 assessed.

Before the board passed the budget and corresponding tax rates, it did vote to de-fund five previously approved capital improvement plans totaling $505,000. That will help offset some costs for this year’s capital improvement plan.

LMVFD LogoThe bulk of the April 15 meeting was spent on a rezoning request from the Lake Monticello Volunteer Fire and Rescue Squad. The LMVFRS has purchased land adjacent to its current property in hopes of expanding the original building.

The current property is zoned R-4 and the purchased property is A-1. The plan is for the expansion of the building to straddle the property line. In order to do so, the county advises for the property in total to have the same zoning.

LMVFRS, in requesting the rezoning, offered proffers to eliminate the R-4 by-right opportunities of single-family dwellings, single-family attached dwellings and townhomes. The applicant did not proffer out multifamily dwelling.

Len Bozza, representative of the applicant, said he wanted to leave that option of a small multifamily building as a way to attract future volunteers. He said the volunteer organization could offer reduced rent to people who run a high percentage of calls.

The planned expansion of the building will only take up half of the six acres of the property. With the remaining three acres, a rental building of less than 10 units could be constructed.

Leaving that option almost stopped the rezoning. O’Brien moved to pass the rezoning but it couldn’t get a second.

Two neighboring residents were concerned with what the proffers left out. It also concerned three supervisors who were failing to second the motion. Bozza offered to proffer out the multifamily units. The rezoning then passed 5-0.

Supervisors will advertise an ordinance to allow participation in the Virginia Association of Counties/Virginia Municipal League  Virginia Investment Pool Trust Fund. To allow the county’s finance board to participate, the supervisors have to pass an ordinance, which requires a public hearing.

Participating in the investment pool will diversify the county’s investments and slight increase in revenue of county reserves. The net yield of the investment pool in February was 0.58%. The public hearing is scheduled for May 20.

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bryan-rothamel.jpgThe Free Enterprise Forum’s coverage of Fluvanna County is provided by a grant from the Charlottesville Area Association of REALTORS® and by the support of readers like you.

Bryan Rothamel covers Fluvanna County for the Free Enterprise Forum

Photo Credits: Fluvanna County, Lake Monticello Volunteer Fire Department

Fluvanna Supervisor Ullenbruch Not Running

By. Bryan Rothamel, Field Officer

Fluvanna County Supervisor Bob Ullenbruch will not seek re-election for the Palmyra District seat, despite speculation and reading into recent public comments.

Ullenbruch released the following written statement to the Free Enterprise Forum:

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Fluvanna Supervisor Bob Ullenbruch

Since I will be moving out of the Palmyra District at the end of my present term and moving to Cape Cod, I will not be seeking re-election to the Board of Supervisors.

It is a time in my life where I want to be close in proximity to my grandchildren and family. My parents are aging and other health issues with family members were defining factors in planning the move.

I would like to thank the members of the Fluvanna Republican Committee for the encouragement and ever continued support. I need to give the Committee time to recruit a viable candidate for the Palmyra District Seat.

Finally, I would like to thank my constituents. I have enjoyed serving the Palmyra District throughout my term and look forward to finishing the year.”

Ullenbruch ran as a Republican in 2011, defeating incumbent John Gooch.

Often times in board votes Ullenbruch has sided with fellow Republican Don Weaver (Cunningham District).

Now the Palmyra seat is wide open for the 2015 election. So far obvious candidates to run for the seat are not clear. Board of Supervisors meetings have been scarcely attended, even during the budget season.

The other Supervisor seat up for re-election this cycle is in Fork Union. Early speculation is the incumbent, Mozell Booker,  will seek re-election but she has not commented on the matter.

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bryan-rothamel.jpgThe Free Enterprise Forum’s coverage of Fluvanna County is provided by a grant from the Charlottesville Area Association of REALTORS® and by the support of readers like you.

Bryan Rothamel covers Fluvanna County for the Free Enterprise Forum

Photo Credits: Fluvanna County

Fluvanna Supervisors Talk New Taxes

By. Bryan Rothamel, Field Officer

After back to back shorter meetings, the Fluvanna Board of Supervisors had a meeting with full of informational presentations.

The Board of Supervisors are starting again to look at adding a business fee or tax. It is a subject that comes up every few years.

Fluvanna currently only taxes personal property and real estate for business, just like it does for county residents. There are three options the county can do to further regulate businesses: business directory, business fee or a business/professional/occupational license (BPOL) tax.

The directory option would require businesses to register with the county. The county would publish the directory for residents to peruse business in the locality.

The business fee would require businesses to pay a nominal fee yearly. The fee would be around $30, officials estimated. With over 600 businesses in the county, the county would only bring in $18,000 to $20,000 a year. It would require additional employee hours, creating a net loss for the county.

“It will be revenue neutral. It would probably cost us money,” said Mel Sheridan, Commissioner of Revenue. His office would be in charge of collecting money.

The BPOL tax would go on gross receipts of businesses. Albemarle and Charlottesville charge a BPOL tax. Supervisor Tony O’Brien (Rivanna District) owns a business in Charlottesville and he estimated he paid several thousand in taxes last year.

Ullenbruch2014Vice chairman Bob Ullenbruch (Palmyra District) said there are businesses in Fluvanna who fly under the radar and they do not pay business personal property tax. He suggested a directory or business fee would help correct some of this.

Sheridan said his office actively looks for businesses and makes sure to keep a list of businesses for business personal property taxes, however there are very few not on his list.

“I don’t think (business directory or business fee) would be a 100 percent cure,” said Sheridan.

Sheridan will give an update or ways forward in the first quarter of 2015.

Fluvanna’s biennial reassessment program, completing its first cycle, will increase property values by approximately 2 percent across the county.

“It might be five or six percent increase in a few years, but it won’t be a big swing,” said Dave Hickey from Blue Ridge Mass Appraisals, the company contracted to perform the reassessment.

Sheridan said, “I again want to compliment you for the decision you made a few years back (of doing the reassessment every two years).”

The previous reassessment was done with an effective date of Jan. 1, 2013. The time before that was the state maximum allowed at six years.

This most recent assessment will go in effect Jan. 1, 2015.Nichols2014

County Administrator Steve Nichols gave updates to the board on various projects. On January 15 VDOT will hold a public open house about the Route 15 and Route 53 roundabout.

Louisa County and Louisa County Water Authority will hold a town hall meeting on Dec. 16 about their pipeline that will run along the eastern portion of the county.

The state has cut localities money based on budget shortfalls. Fluvanna will not receive $59,000 in FY15 that it was expecting. At the first December meeting staff will give recommendations on where to pull money. The school budget may also be affected.

The Pleasant Grove House Museum and Welcome Center is now open. It is open for four hours six days a week and Saturday for six hours.

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bryan-rothamel.jpgThe Free Enterprise Forum’s coverage of Fluvanna County is provided by a grant from the Charlottesville Area Association of REALTORS® and by the support of readers like you.

Bryan Rothamel covers Fluvanna County for the Free Enterprise Forum

Photo Credits: Fluvanna County

Fluvanna BOS Approves 3 Communication Towers and Lafayette School

By. Bryan Rothamel, Field Officer

The Fluvanna County Board of Supervisors approved two applicants’ special use permits bringing three more cellular service towers and one school to the county.

The three cellular service towers is to fulfill a desire from the federal government to bring high speed internet and cellular phone service to rural areas. 52-Eighty, a cell tower construction company, wants to build three towers in the eastern portion of the county.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) made the area eligible for a $1.9 million grant to a company who was willing to expand service to that portion of the county. FCC wants 176 miles covered by the money.

T-Mobile won the reverse bid to provide the service to the area. 52-Eighty was contracted to build the towers.

The three towers are all east of Route 15 starting at Bremo Bluff, near the power plant. Another will be placed near the James River, still in the Fork Union area. The third location, in Kents Store, will be on land the tower company will purchase.

Each tower is permitted to be up to 199 feet. Over 200 feet requires to be lit.

The tower company will work with Fluvanna if tower space is needed as part of the county’s E911 radio upgrades. Towers will also be able to have co-location capabilities for other cell phone companies to place antennas on the monopoles.

The three SUP applications by 52-Eighty were approved unanimously.

Supervisors also unanimously approved Lafayette School, to be located in the Zion Station Industrial Subdivision on Route 250.

The private school is for 24 students who do not succeed in a public school environment. The facility has three classrooms encompassing elementary, middle and high school.

The school combines special education and therapeutic intervention. Two instructors are in each classroom with availability for therapy sessions when needed.

Lafayette School currently is in Charlottesville on Fontaine Avenue. The new Fluvanna facility is limited to the 24 students number and normal weekday, working hours.

Supervisors did ask if the hours were too limiting and were willing to expand to weekend allowances but an official of the school said it was not necessary. There is a provision to have school Board of Directors meetings once a month after school hours.

In other action items, the board approved changing their work session schedule to have a 4 p.m. work session on the third Wednesday of the month, when necessary, prior to the regularly schedule 7 p.m. meeting.

Previously, supervisors had work sessions on the first Wednesday, after the 4 p.m. meeting.

Supervisors also approved an FY16 budget calendar that includes setting two tax rates. The first, in February, will be because of a possible reassessment. A county cannot raise taxes through a reassessment.

The second will allow supervisors to raise taxes, which is a most likely considering the county’s financial picture.

The next Board of Supervisors meeting is Oct. 1 at 4 p.m.

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bryan-rothamelThe Free Enterprise Forum’s coverage of Fluvanna County is provided by a grant from the Charlottesville Area Association of REALTORS® and by the support of readers like you.

Bryan Rothamel covers Fluvanna County for the Free Enterprise Forum

Fluvanna/JABA MOU Fails to Advance (but does not fail)

By. Bryan Rothamel, Field Officer

What seemed like a routine Fluvanna County Board of Supervisors meeting and an even more routine item became a battleground for the two most conservative supervisors.

Fluvanna BOS_group2014_smDon Weaver (Cunningham District) and Bob Ullenbruch (Palmyra District) used the opportunity of a smaller board to allow a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the Jefferson Area Board for Aging (JABA) and Fluvanna County to go without action.

The MOU is for Fluvanna Parks and Recreation department to handle the nutritional program provided twice week for less than 25 participants. The proposed MOU would set the guidelines for the program that is administered by JABA but served by a Fluvanna staff member.

Currently, the program is administered and served by JABA but Fluvanna’s FY15 budget cut funding for serving the program because the plan was to handle it in house in an effort to expand Fluvanna’s senior programs.

That FY15 budget won’t begin until July 1 and it passed on a 3-2 vote, with Ullenbruch and Weaver not voting for it.

In order for JABA to operate with due diligence, it would need the MOU to show the program is being served correctly.

Mike Sheridan (Columbia District) moved to pass the MOU. Chairwoman Mozell Booker (Fork Union District) called for a second. Weaver and Ullenbruch stayed quiet.

Tony O’Brien (Rivanna District) was not at the meeting. Sheridan, O’Brien and Booker voted for the FY15 budget.

“I think people are tired of increase services and cost,” said Weaver after the motion died without the required second.

The move shocked the very small audience, including county staff.

“I’m a little mystified,” said county administrator Steve Nichols.

Weaver also noted he doesn’t like MOUs in general, it was mentioned the county attorney does not like MOUs either.

“I’m satisfied this does what it was intended to do,” said county attorney Fred Payne in response to his dislike of MOUs.

“It lays out the two responsibilities of the two parties.”

Payne said the county could proceed without the activity, take it over without JABA’s support or abandon the whole process.

Because the JABA budget was decreased, Booker asked what they were to do with the activity.

“If we want them to continue what they have been doing, we need to transfer the money [back],” said Booker.

Weaver was content for JABA to continue the program with the budget that was granted without an additional transfer.

“Just leave it where it is before they came before us,” said Weaver when asked what county staff should do. He later said, “They live within the budget.”

Ullenbruch raised issue the program was too far from the majority of Fluvanna’s seniors.

“You are 13 miles from 50 percent of the senior population,” said Ullenbruch referencing Lake Monticello as the epicenter of senior domiciles.

He later kept counting the meals served, at 22.

“I understand you arguing for this, it is for your district,” said Ullenbruch to Booker.

Sheridan responded to Ullenbruch, “Most of my district is further than that (13 miles). Putting a senior center at Lake Monticello would make it further.”

Sheridan suggested using county buildings such as fire stations for senior events throughout the county. Booker and Nichols said the county is starting to do more senior events at various county locations, not just in Fork Union.

“I would readdress it if [county staff] follows through on what you just said,” Ullenbruch said to Nichols on the plans to expand senior outreach to beyond just the Fork Union Community Center.

Booker continued the discussion beyond the agenda item on how the board wants the program to continue. As it wound down she said, “I’m glad we had the discussion we’ve had because it has opened my eyes that we need more education [for the board].”

The interesting aspect of the item is it did not fail but failed to gain a second; it was not outright rejected.

“Might be something we address next time,” Sheridan said at the end of discussion.

The MOU could be readdressed with a full board and it would be expected to pass, if it could get O’Brien’s support. More than likely it would because the JABA budget was decreased specifically because the county planned on bringing the program in-house, a budget O’Brien supported.

In a follow-up odd move in the same meeting the next item on the agenda, re-appointments to the Economic Development Authority, had a prolong time to get a second too. It eventually was seconded and passed unanimously.

The motion for adjournment, hours later, had no issue getting a second and unanimous vote.

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bryan-rothamelThe Free Enterprise Forum’s coverage of Fluvanna County is provided by a grant from the Charlottesville Area Association of REALTORS® and by the support of readers like you.

Bryan Rothamel covers Fluvanna County for the Free Enterprise Forum

Fluvanna Supervisors Explain Aqua Vote

By. Bryan Rothamel, Field Officer

On November 20th the Fluvanna County Board of Supervisors voted 3-2 to support moving forward in a public private partnership with Aqua Virginia [click here for Free Enterprise Forum story].  The  three supervisors who voted for the Aqua deal each had different aspects to discuss immediately following the Nov. 20 meeting.

The motion was made at approximately 8:20 p.m. by Joe Chesser (Rivanna District) and seconded by Mozell Booker (Fork Union District). After about 20 minutes of discussion, the supervisors voted to pass the public-private partnership with chairman Shaun Kenney joining Chesser and Booker.

Don Weaver (Cunningham District) was very upset on the procedure of how the vote took place. Before the meeting was adjourned, Weaver said, “I’m appalled that this board would tarnish this board at the end of the meeting.”

The vote occurred after the majority of agenda items were completed but the meeting still had over another hour of items discussed that were not included on the agenda. The Aqua vote and one other required funds being spent. The second, appropriating money for signs in Columbia came in at $5,000.

The Aqua vote happened during the unfinished business section of the meeting. The section of the meeting did not have any pre-announced items. The unsolicited PPEA involving Aqua to provide water to Zion Crossroads and sewer lines back to the Department of Corrections had a public hearing in September.

While negotiations over the deal broke off in October, the supervisors never officially rejected the deal leaving it always open to action either in favor or against. The only state requirement is a vote for approval cannot occur until after 30 days from the public hearing.

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Fluvanna County Board of Supervisors Chairman Shaun Kenney

The vote to approve included four amendments that changed language regarding venue of a possible lawsuit for both the water and sewer contracts from specifically identifying the Western District Court of the federal court system to “as permissible by law”.

The reasoning being if it was a state issue it would be argued in Fluvanna Circuit Court. It was debated if a lawsuit happened, would there be a case specifically to determine venue because the language was not specific to the circuit court.

The other two amendments lengthen the deposit period from 45 days after signing to 75 days for two contracts.

The final portion of the amendment instructed the county administrator to pay $500,000 and $50,000 for part of the initial deposit no later than noon on December 1st.

Fluvanna County already has already accepted an offer with the Department of Corrections to use up to 75,000 gallons of water per day of extra capacity from the Fluvanna Correctional Facility. the county would have to build, maintain and service the water and sewer lines if it only used the DOC option.

“When we talk about 75,000 gallons, all that does it takes care of one or two organizations coming in.” In the post meeting interview Chesser continued, “75,000 gallons takes care of 200 to 300 homes plus a few commercial — like a strip mall. That’s not the type of economic development we need.”

Mozell Booker

Fluvanna Supervisor Mozell Booker

She had been looking over the Aqua documents for quite some time as well. Booker said after the meeting, “I just couldn’t see how this one little legal issue is going to keep us from moving forward. There’s been one stalling after another.

“We’ve had public hearing, we’ve been talking about this, Aqua Virginia is in our community. It is a water company in our community. Why can’t we be partners with them and be successful?”

The ‘one legal issue’ still hasn’t be cleared by the county legal adviser and attorney Fred Payne. He said he had a number of concerns previously and could not discuss them at the Nov. 20 meeting because he had not looked at the file in almost two months. He could not say with certainty if the change of language cleared his legal concern.

He also added he had other concerns but would have to look at the contract the supervisors approved and his notes.

Questions regarding where the contract is as of Nov. 25 were directed to county administration. Steve Nichols, county administrator, declined to comment.

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bryan-rothamelThe Free Enterprise Forum’s coverage of Fluvanna County is provided by a grant from the Charlottesville Area Association of REALTORS® and by the support of readers like you.

Bryan Rothamel covers Fluvanna County for the Free Enterprise Forum.

Fluvanna Supervisors to Decide on Water Options

By. Bryan Rothamel, Field Officer

water-supply_thumb.jpgPALMYRA — The Fluvanna County Board of Supervisors will finally make at least one vote and possibly a decision on both water plans.  According to many observers, these decisions will have significant impact on future economic development.

The first plan is the public-private partnership agreement with Aqua America. The plan would bring water from the Aqua facility near Lake Monticello to Zion Crossroads.

aqua-america-logo_thumb.jpgAqua would own the pipes but Fluvanna would control the service district. This means Fluvanna would collect the connection fees, set the rates and own potential new customers.

Aqua would sell water at a bulk rate to Fluvanna and maintain the infrastructure. The agreement would be for up to 500,000 gallons a day.

The Aqua agreement would also have sewer pipes but Fluvanna’s previously agreed upon water and sewer agreement with the Department of Corrections would treat the sewer.

The plan requires Fluvanna to pay just over $900,000 a year in payments plus 10 percent escrow. The escrow payments are then added to the end of the agreement so the last few years the county would not pay anything because of those escrow payments.

The agreement also requires one year’s worth of payment as a down payment within 45 days of signing the agreements. That also is added to the end of the agreement.

 The bulk water cost is set throughout the length agreement but raises only with the consumer price index.

The Aqua water line does not go onto Louisa County land. It stops at the Fluvanna line but Fluvanna could later add Louisa as a customer, if desired. There would be an elevated water storage tank in the Zion Crossroads area.

The second water plan is the James River Water Authority (JRWA) . The JRWA is a partnership with Louisa to take water from the James River. Fluvanna and Louisa split all JRWA costs and only JRWA costs.

The plan with the JRWA is to take water from the James just upriver from the town of Columbia. The JRWA would have an intake facility then send the water four miles inland to a junction point near Route 6.

Estimated costs for the JRWA are $3.35 million, split between the counties. The JRWA’s withdrawal permit is 3 million gallons a day.

Each county pays to take the water from the Route 6 junction to where ever each county wants. Louisa wants to build a Louisa owned pipeline to the Ferncliff area. That would follow the gas line, parallel to the Fluvanna-Goochland county line. It could require special use permits or a change of Fluvanna code.

Fluvanna has no plans to use any water from the JRWA and would allow its allocated portion to go unused. In the future, Fluvanna could take water from the junction or work an agreement with Louisa to take from another junction. That type of agreement would require another payment, more than likely.

The only cost to Fluvanna is the initial JRWA intake facility and four mile pipeline to junction point.

The Aqua agreement will have a public hearing at the Sept. 18 meeting, per state law on PPEAs. There is a month waiting period to sign the agreement so a vote in favor would be delayed. The supervisors could vote to reject the proposal Wednesday.

The JRWA is an action item for the Sept. 18 meeting.

The Fluvanna Board of Supervisors will meet in the Fluvanna County High School Auditorium, starting at 7 p.m.

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The Free Enterprise Forum’s coverage of Fluvanna County is provided by a grant from the Charlottesville Area Association of REALTORS® and by the support of readers like you.

bryan-rothamel

Bryan Rothamel covers Fluvanna County for the Free Enterprise Forum.  He is the founder of the Fluco Blog.  Additional writings can be found at www.Flucoblog.com

Is the Louisa/Fluvanna James RIver Pipeline Back?

By. Bryan Rothamel

LOUISA — The James River water pipeline is getting a second look.

The Louisa Board of Supervisors has sent notice, calling a special meeting to be held in Fluvanna with the Fluvanna Board of Supervisors. The Louisa notice states the two boards will meet to ‘discuss the James River Water Project.’

The notice says at 6 p.m. on March 6 in Palmyra. The Fluvanna supervisors have a normally scheduled meeting that day and do not require additional notice beyond the routine meeting notice.

The James River Water Authority, while still a legal entity, has not be active for years. Both counties paid money for the JRWA to defend it legally but it has not been seriously discussed since the summer of 2010 when the two parties split from discussing a water project.

The endeavor was officially canceled, but not disbanded, by Louisa on Aug. 17, 2010 when then Louisa supervisors felt Fluvanna stop acting in good faith towards making a financial decision. Fluvanna’s then leadership allowed a Aug. 16, 2010 Virginia Resource Authority application deadline for financing pass without an application.

There was a Memorandum of Understanding about a possible James River water pipeline  and until that August 2010 deadline, Louisa supervisors were willing to pay for up to half the water pipeline had it met “reasonable standards for costs and water age.” Louisa’s only public concern was to get water from the James River, across Fluvanna and to the Zion Crossroad planning area.

At the time, discussions in Fluvanna raised questions about extending the debt load of the county when the high school debt payments had not fully started. Some residents also voiced concerns about paying half the costs of a water line that would send water directly to where, Fluvanna residents felt, Louisa competed with Fluvanna the most, the Zion Crossroad economic development.

Louisa leaders countered in the Aug. 17, 2010 press release and follow up interviews with Louisa’s availability for future growth was much more limited than Fluvanna’s possible future growth because of Green Springs Historical District. The historical district is federally protected from development. Fluvanna has no such limitations.

Louisa leaders also said Fluvanna could strategically place the pipeline to hit major economic areas inside Fluvanna before even getting to Zion Crossroad. The proposed route was over 22 miles, winding through Pleasant Grove, near Lake Monticello and down Route 250.

The biggest issue about take water from the James River for either county is neither county owns the withdrawal permit. The JRWA owns the permit to take any water from the river. Neither county can get that permit without the authority relinquishing control. The JRWA board has three Fluvanna members and three Louisa members.

Reportedly, the JRWA has not met beyond keeping up with regulated bylaws. The Louisa County’s website last has minutes for the JRWA board dating January 2010. Fluvanna’s last published minutes are February 2010.

The joint Louisa-Fluvanna meeting will happen on March 6 although discussions with Fluvanna sources say the Fluvanna supervisors will have additional agenda items to accomplish before meeting with Louisa.

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The Free Enterprise Forum’s coverage of Fluvanna County is provided by a grant from the Charlottesville Area Association of REALTORS® and by the support of readers like you.

bryan-rothamel

Bryan Rothamel covers Fluvanna County for the Free Enterprise Forum.  He is the founder of the Fluco Blog.  Additional writings can be found at www.Flucoblog.com