Tag Archives: zion crossroads

Fluvanna BOS Approves Conservation Easement – Removes 331 Residential Units; Approves Two New Zion X-Roads Industrial Operations

By. Bryan Rothamel, Field Officer

Fluvanna County’s once unpopular Poplar Ridge residential subdivision proposal is now officially dead.

During a February 15 meeting, the Fluvanna Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to approve a conservation easement for the property.  Poplar Ridge was approved in August 2014 for 156 single family attached units and 175 single family detached units situated on the 232 acres. The property is just north of Palmyra, next to Camp Friendship. The conservation easement will severely restrict the usage of the property and that’s the goal of the owner. The owner receives tax benefits for conserving the land.

“The effect on this is to restrict land in perpetuity,” said the county’s attorney, Fred Payne.
Payne explained to the supervisors to change this conservation easement is very difficult because it requires action by the federal, state and local governments.  “In effect what you are doing is locking this property in the state it is now,” said Payne.  The easement restricts the lands usage so much, Payne estimated there wouldn’t be many usages available because the zoning restrictions are also in effect.
For example, the land is zoned R-3 which is for development of more village-like housing. The easement now restricts building or subdividing but allows hunting. The zoning doesn’t allow hunting.
Jack Hanssen, lawyer for the applicant, said, “[The applicant] reserved the right to donate this [land] for a public park.”

Supervisors also approved two rezoning requests in the Zion Crossroads area.

The first was for Wilson Ready-Mix Concrete plant, to be built just east of the Fluvanna Women’s Correctional Facility.  The concrete plant would have a retail area but would mainly be for creating and transporting concrete out.  Frank Gallo was the only person to speak during the public hearing. He spoke out against rezoning area in Zion Crossroads to industrial because the area should be a commercial area, especially because of the investment in water the county will be making in the coming years.

Gallo said, “If you build it, they will come. But the flip side of it is if you screw it up, they won’t.”

Tony O’Brien (Rivanna District) agreed with Gallo the county needs to keep in mind the investment in water would return higher dollar in commercial. “He raises an excellent point,” said O’Brien.

O’Brien did counter, “With the jail next door and certain industrial (land) nearby, this may fit in.”


Patricia Eager

Patricia Eager (Palmyra District) applauded an industrial company coming into the county. “I came from an industrial area,” said Eager. “We need good industries. We need concrete.”

The rezoning passed unanimously.

The supervisors also unanimously approved Foster Fuels’ rezoning request to industrial. The property is located in the Zion Crossroad Industrial Park and across from Red Rocker Candy. Foster Fuels application included a provision to have two 30,000 gallon propane Image result for foster fuelsfuel tanks on the property.  Currently Foster Fuels services propane to the area by filling delivery trucks at an Afton location. This new location will greatly help Foster Fuel service the area better.

Other action by the supervisors was appointing everyone who desired to be on the Broadband Access Taskforce. The supervisors couldn’t narrow down the applicants for the committee. The group will meet until October in an effort to improve Fluvanna’s broadband access in rural areas.

The Board of Supervisors also finalized plans to make the county more energy efficient. The money spent on the project is guaranteed to be offset by energy savings.

The next supervisors will next meet for a work session on February 22. The bulk of the time will be spent on agency updates. The meeting starts at 7 p.m. in the Morris Room.

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

Photo Credit: Fluvanna County, Foster Fuels


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 May Quench Zion’s Thirst

By Bryan Rothamel, Field Officer

Could it be?

Could Zion Crossroads actually get a water system?

March 4th the Fluvanna County Board of Supervisors have an action item to implement recommendations from the RK&K report and direct the County Administrator to begin finalizing design of the infrastructure and developing policies for ongoing operation of the new water system.

And that’s not all that’s water related on March 4th Agenda.

Supervisors also have the James River Water Authority (JRWA)  service agreement on the docket. That sets up how the JRWA will operate between the two participating counties, Fluvanna and Louisa.

The Zion Crossroads (frequently abbreviated as ZXR in county documents) water system, as recommended by RK&K, is to run from the Department of Corrections (DOC) facility on Route 250, up to Route 15 and a mille down Route 15, heading back towards Palmyra.

It is to include a sewer line going back to DOC to treat the sewer. The agreement with DOC is for 75,000 gallons of treated water per day and 100,000 of treated sewer per day at bulk rates.

The county would build a water distribution system, water booster system, elevated storage tank and 23,000 linear feet of forced main sewer pipe along the same route as the water line. It does not include pump stations or gravity sewer.

The total estimated cost of construction of the water and sewer systems is $4.9 and $2 million, respectively, according to the RK&K recommendation. The system will have to be financed.

In the agenda documents, Fluvanna estimates the annual cost of operating the ZXR water system and JRWA is $250,000.

JRWA service agreement allocates how costs of operating the system and future costs will be delegated.

At the last work session, supervisors briefly had a discussion about the agreement before heading into closed session to discuss ‘investment of funds’ matters. Supervisors have meet in closed session about ‘investment of funds’ several times recently.

The supervisors’ public discussion was on what will happen in regards to future allocation of the permit. Currently it is split 50/50 but if the total amount changes, it could be split by who has the need or usage.

With Louisa closer to using its allotment, Fluvanna could lose allotment if the permit was ever to be decreased or Louisa expands the permit but gets all of the additional allotment.

Supervisors are schedule to act on both items at the March 4 meeting, beginning at 4 p.m. in the Fluvanna Circuit Courtroom.


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

Fluvanna Economic Development – Just Add Water (and Debt)?

By. Bryan Rothamel, Field Officer

add waterFluvanna County wants to diversify the tax base to shift less tax burden on residential homes and more on businesses. The issue a recent land development study showed, Fluvanna needs water.

RK&K Engineers has been working on a water study of the Zion Crossroads area to give the Board of Supervisors a better look at what is available and what would be most cost effective.

There have been over 10 various studies performed on the area. The latest study could be the last and still not a single resident appeared for the preliminary results consultant RK&K presented on Dec. 17 afternoon.

RK&K found various options for Fluvanna to get water to Zion Crossroads. There are using existing wells or drill new wells at the Department of Corrections Women Correctional Facility (known as DOC). Another option is buy water from Louisa County Water Authority (LCWA), Albemarle or Aqua Virginia at Lake Monticello.

Two other options would be to buy the excess capacity at the DOC’s surface water system or utilize Fluvanna’s portion of the James River Water Authority.

To get sewer service Fluvanna could use the DOC excess capacity, LCWA, Albemarle at Glenmore, Aqua, alternative drain fields, Fluvanna’s water treatment facility in Palmyra and other alternative ideas such as trading sentiment credits.

RK&K’s study shows that if the Zion Crossroads area was completely built out, it would use 1.9 million gallons a day. That would include multiple mixed use areas, retail, business parks and industrial. A complete build out would take several decades.

RK&K suggests doing water in phases to grow as the need grows. The first phase is to building five miles of pipe with one pump and tower. Sewer would have three pumps. This plan would utilize the 75,000 excess capacity DOC is offering of treated water. It would also use the 125,000 excess capacity DOC offered for sewer. Both would be purchased at a wholesale rate.

“I think DOC is a very good option,” said Jeff Kapinos of RK&K when asked which one he recommends.

He later said, “From everything I know now, DOC is a good option.”
RK&K estimates phase one for a water and sewer system would cost $8 million. If supervisors authorize this year, the new five mile system could be operating by March 2017.

A water system would move Fluvanna properties closer to being more ‘ready to developed’ based on the Timmons Group report heard in November. But $8 million means the county goes further in debt.

The county was $96.2 million in debt as of June 30, 2014, based on the annual financial audit. Some of that debt was refinanced this past year but the supervisors also authorized new debt to pay for school maintenance items.

To further complicate things, the county’s policy about debt is annual governmental debt service payments should not exceed 12 percent of the government revenues. In 2014, the ratio was 17.5 percent. With the county taking out more debt in the past six months, that ratio is not getting better.

Another stickler is Fluvanna can not just pay for $8 million of water from savings. The county’s unassigned savings is sitting at $9.5 million. The county policy is to have at least 12% of the budget in unassigned savings. That percentage converted to dollars would be $7.4 million for June 2014.

In 2009, the county’s savings were over $15 million, according to the staff yearly financial report. This upcoming fiscal year gets tighter because costs are increasing but the county still only get significant tax revenue from residents.

It becomes a chicken and egg situation for Fluvanna. In order to diversify the tax base, a water system is needed based on numerous reports. However, in order to build said water system, Fluvanna would have to further add to the debt load. For perspective, $8 million in resident tax cents would be 29 cents.

RK&K will come back to the Board of Supervisors this spring to present a more detailed report.


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 Credit: World Bank

Fluvanna Supervisors Pass Aqua Contract in Unscheduled Vote

By. Bryan Rothamel, Field Officer

aqua-america-logo_thumb.jpgFluvanna County’s Board of Supervisors passed the public-private partnership agreement (PPEA) with Aqua to provide water to the County on a 3-2 vote.  

The motion was made by Joe Chesser (Rivanna District) included amendments to the full agreement. They included changing language of jurisdiction selection in case of a lawsuit and also extending the window for initial deposit. Mozell Booker (Fork Union District) seconded the motion.

It all occurred during ‘Old Business’ as a vote on the PPEA was previously never recorded. The issue was announced as tabled because of the impasse on legal restrictions from both sides. Still a vote to reject the proposal was never taken. https://freeenterpriseforum.wordpress.com/2013/10/03/fluvanna-water-deal-runs-dry/


Bob Ullenbruch

Bob Ullenbruch (Palmyra District) and Don Weaver (Cunningham District) took issue with how the motion was made during old business. Because it was an item still without a vote, it was free to be brought up for a vote.

“I don‘t know where this has come from,” Weaver said.

The item not being on the agenda was Weaver and Ullenbruch’s primary defense to the raising objection to procedure of the motion and subsequent vote.

After short discussion Booker compared the Aqua motion to the Fiscal Year 2013 budget vote, where supervisors slashed the school budget over $2 million. She said the procedure was the same.

After it being called ‘under the table discussions’ by Weaver, chairman Shaun Kenney (Columbia District) said, “So we are now addressing it in the light of day and it is wrong?”

County administration and legal staff were not aware the motion would be entertained prior to the meeting. Fred Payne, county attorney, said he could not give a legal analysis without fully reviewing the file again.

He still was concerned after the initial hearing of the jurisdiction amendment. He had concerns it still would not cement a hearing in Fluvanna Circuit Court on any issue of the contract but still leave it open to federal district court.

“I have never seen a county treated fairly in federal court,” Payne said.

Kenney asked if his concerns were because the last time Fluvanna was in court, it lost on a First Amendment case regarding the use of the seal. Payne would not respond directly to the question but said in his experience counties do not receive “justice in federal court.”

Payne said after he conducts a legal analysis he still might not approve the contract. Kenney asked for clarification if the board could override his legal opinion to which Payne responded yes.

After the meeting Chesser said in an interview there has not been direct conversation with Aqua but it is believed the amendments will not stop the deal.

Free Enterprise Forum will have more on the vote and the specific motion language later.  


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 covers Fluvanna County for the Free Enterprise Forum.

Fluvanna Water Deal Runs Dry

By. Bryan Rothamel, Field Officer

PALMYRA — The proposed water deal between Fluvanna County and Aqua Virginia is done as the two sides have come to an impasse.

The deal had legal concerns that were to be worked on since the public hearing in September. The deadline to remedy the issues was Oct. 2. Instead of announcing a final deal in place, both sides announced talks have mutually ended.

Sources close to the agreements believe the sides were very close and were able to overcome many legal obstacles. There was much desire for both sides to work out a deal because of the economic impacts.

Fluvanna was looking at the opportunity to supply water to the Zion Crossroads area without having to build and maintain the main infrastructure. The most valuable part was the county’s only withdrawal permit is for the James River, across the county. The cost of building just a treatment plant to is higher than paying the Aqua deal for 20 years.

aqua-america-logo_thumb.jpgUsing Aqua’s proposal of 500,000 gallons per day of drinkable water also would put Fluvanna on state economic development lists, encouraging businesses to move to the county. The reasoning of bring water to Zion Crossroads was to diversify the tax base with commercial payers.

The Aqua proposal would allow the company to allocated unused portions of its current withdrawal permit. The current plant at Lake Monticello would not need expansion but adding Fluvanna as a customer would help defray the costs current Aqua customers bear alone.

At the regularly schedule meeting on Oct. 2, supervisors announced the deal was no longer being discussed. Aqua Virginia issued a press release late Wednesday night that confirmed the stalemate but left hope of a possible deal in the future.

“Together, we tried to come to an economically and environmentally friendly agreement with the county that would make this plan beneficial to everyone,” said Shannon V. Becker, president of Aqua Virginia, in the statement.

“Although we couldn’t finalize the  terms of an agreement at this time, if asked, we would look forward to an opportunity to provide a viable solution to this need in the future.”

From here the supervisors can vote to reject the deal and likely would if needed. Technically, the supervisors can only vote to approve the deal 30 days after the public hearing that was held on Sept. 18. The chances of that occurring are approaching zero.

Aqua Virginia’s media release can be read here.


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 covers Fluvanna County for the Free Enterprise Forum.

Fluvanna’s Potential Water Deal Becomes Clearer

By. Bryan Rothamel, Field Officer

PALMYRA — The county whose name means ‘Anne’s River’ has a lot of water at its disposal.

Fluvanna has potential access to over 4 million gallons per day. When considering agreements with Louisa, it is at least over 2.5 million gallons per day.

The greatest availability is a bit complicated and tied with neighboring Louisa County in the James River Water Authority (JRWA). There are 3 million gallons available but Fluvanna gave the permit to the JRWA which is operated by both counties. Originally the counties decided to evenly split the water allocation.

This system would require construction of intake, water pipeline across the county and treatment facility. Of course, there are mitigating possibilities including usage of Dominion power intake and the East Coast Transport, Inc. (ECTI) raw water pipeline.

Earlier this year Louisa requested to move the intake closer to Columbia instead of Bremo Bluff and construct the pipeline down the Colonial Gas line. This would eliminate the potential of pipes being closer to other Fluvanna growth areas besides Zion Crossroads.

The second largest possible allocation is 500,000 gallons per day with the Aqua PPEA (Public-Private Education Facilities and Infrastructure Act). That would cost Fluvanna over $18 million over 20 years for 90,000 gallons a day. For the additional 410,000 gallons, it costs $2.95 per 1,000 gallons.

Aqua would treat the water using the current Lake Monticello facility. Sewer would be handled by the Department of Corrections (DOC) in a deal the Board of Supervisors have already authorized. Aqua would own the pipes but Fluvanna would own the service area. The service area would have required hookups. At the full term of the deal could buy the system, negotiate an extension or everything reverts to Aqua.

The agreement with DOC is for extra water capacity and sewer treatment. DOC has an extra 75,000 gallons per day. The water would be treated but Fluvanna would have to construct and maintain the pipeline.

Fluvanna is currently studying the possible usage of wells on the old Thomasville Furniture plant. Estimate production is 250,000 gallons per day.

The wells are being studied for inclusion for the Fork Union Sanitary District (FUSD). FUSD operates purely on wells. The Thomasville plant is located behind Carysbrook.

The ETCI line is owned by a subsidiary of Tenaska. It is raw water line but the available gallons per day is not known by the county. There is also an existing unused intake at the James River of 250,000 gallons per day.

The Fluvanna Board of Supervisors will hold a public hearing on the Aqua PPEA on Aug. 7 at 7 p.m. All documents related to the PPEA are available, as required by the act. The public hearing is scheduled at Fluvanna County High School’s auditorium.


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 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