Supervisors defer Planning Commission appointment

The Fluvanna County Board of Supervisors on Wednesday (Sept. 6) deferred the selection of a new member for the county’s Planning Commission after two nominations failed to find support for a vote.

Seven candidates applied for the Rivanna District vacancy.

Supervisor Tony O’Brien, who represents the Rivanna District, spoke in favor of Joe Chesser, citing his past tenure on the Planning Commission, the Board of Supervisors, and the James River Water Authority.

Supervisor Don Weaver noted that Board protocol favors allowing the supervisor of the district in which the vacancy exists to make the selection. O’Brien said he appreciated the tradition, but was interested in input from other members.

Supervisor Mozell Booker said she felt the Commission needed more diversity. “When do we give other people a chance?” she asked. While she agreed with Chesser’s qualifications, she said the vacancy is an opportunity to bring “new faces” into the process.

Booker signaled support for Gequetta Murray-Key, while Supervisor Patricia Eager spoke in favor of Suzanne Cotellessa.

O’Brien then nominated Chesser, but nobody voiced a second. Next he nominated Debra Kurre. Again, there was no second.

With no third name put on the table, supervisors were left at an impasse. After some discussion, they decided that since not all candidates were in the audience that night, they should defer the selection. They will invite all candidates to their Sept. 20 meeting before making a final decision.

Approvals

Every other issue in the meeting passed on a 5-0 vote.

Supervisors agreed to accept a $480,000 grant for the construction of a burn building for local fire and rescue services. Under the conditions of the grant, the project has to be completed by August 2019.

For the Zion Crossroads water and sewer project, they approved the move of an elevated water storage tank at a cost of about $13,800 and agreed to pay $224,852 from the fund balance to put toward interest payments.

Supervisors also approved the publication of notices of public hearings for the sales of the Cunningham and Columbia Elementary School buildings. Finance Director Eric Dahl said The Light Academy offered $118,750 for the Cunningham property and Howard and Laura Hilsinger offered $82,500 for the Columbia building. Both public hearings will take place Sept. 20.

The Board also heard a presentation on the Affordable Senior Housing Project. A market assessment showed the need for affordable senior rental housing within the county and, after surveying potential sites in the area, recommended the construction of 50 cottage-style units on a 3.5-acre parcel offered by Village Oaks, the development directly across from the entrance to Lake Monticello. As a next step, the team will reach out to the management company that owns Village Oaks to discuss the possibility of development.

Goodbyes

The session began with goodbyes. Cheryl Elliott, emergency services coordinator, and Marty Brookhart, management analyst, will soon be leaving for positions outside the county.  Brookhart was awarded a certificate of appreciation for his work in the finance department and Elliott received a certificate of commendation for her work as the county’s first emergency services coordinator and all she has done to bring the E911 radio system project to fruition.

Later in the session, Elliott reported to supervisors that the radio system is working well, with just a few kinks to iron out before the project is formally completed in October. She said they had hoped to get coverage to 95 percent of the county, but ended up with 99 percent coverage.