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King George meeting smoothes budget fight

The King George Board of Supervisors and the School Board had a productive meeting last week to disc...

2 KG County men killed in crash

Two King George men – an uncle and his nephew -- were killed Aug. 22 when the van they were driving ...

Supervisors set to talk money, fracking Thursday

The King George Board of Supervisors has a jam-packed special meeting this week, including talks wit...

McAuliffe to dedicate new campsite

McAuliffe to dedicate new campsite

Gov. Terry McAuliffe will be in King George at 9 a.m. Aug. 22 to dedicate a new ‘canoe-in’ campgroun...

Supervisors send concerns to state panel

The King George Board of Supervisors agreed Aug. 5 a resolution be changed so it can be sent to a re...

3 KG residents charged in beaten baby case

In April during a family visit, Leslie Nay noticed her little grandson was covered with bruises.
Nay...

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Supervisors to consider Veazey’s request for expansion of Eagle Bay water system

Public hearing scheduled next Tuesday on request for a special exception
 
Ed Veazey, representing S.E.Ventures, is scheduled to be back in front of the King George Board of Supervisors next week to again request a larger service area to enable him to expand his private water system that currently serves Eagle Bay subdivision.
Veazey was previously in front the Planning Commission and then the Board of Supervisors two years ago on the same request.
Two years ago, the water system had about 11 customers and now it has about 15 over an approved service area which includes 171.275 acres.
The request is to more than double the current size of the service area for the water system, by adding 265.474 acres.

Read more: Supervisors to consider Veazey’s request for expansion of Eagle Bay water system

Board of Supervisors approves five-year capital plan

Funding to be allocated for some 2009-2010 projects
 
The King George Board of Supervisors approved a five-year Capital Improvement Program (CIP) for 2009-2010 through 2013-2014 last month. The CIP that totals over $114 million was approved at a meeting on June 16.
The CIP is a five-year plan which is updated annually by the Planning Commission, then forwarded to the Board of Supervisors through the County Administrator.
Each year, supervisors adopt a capital budget and spending plan in one-year increments for funding of capital improvements items and projects.

Read more: Board of Supervisors approves five-year capital plan

Public hearing on Fairview Beach townhouse rezoning to be held next week

Board of Supervisors to consider request for 60 new townhomes at Tuesday’s meeting

A public hearing on a rezoning request by Fairview Beach, LLC, represented by Bob Moesle, will be held next Tuesday at a meeting of the Board of Supervisors.  
The hearing is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.
The rezoning with proffers is to change 9.33664 acres, from Retail Commercial (C-1) to Multi-Family Dwelling District (R-3).  The purpose is to allow the company to construct 60 townhouses on property identified as Tax Map 14 Parcel 1.    
~ HALFWAY THROUGH REZONING PROCESS    The rezoning request had already made it halfway through the process when the applicant stopped it in its tracks four months ago.  

Read more: Public hearing on Fairview Beach townhouse rezoning to be held next week

King George buying Route 3 property for county uses

   The Board of Supervisors authorized the purchase of a parcel of land containing several small buildings, one with two vehicle bays.  The buildings also include an office building and two shops on Route 3.  The unanimous action took place on January 22.
   The county is paying $450K for the 4.116-acre property.   It is located on the north side of Route 3 at 9207 Kings Highway in King George, a couple of parcels west of Howard’s restaurant.  The seller is North Stafford Industrial Park, Inc.  
County Administrator Travis Quesenberry told The Journal the existing buildings will house the county’s Public Service Authority (PSA) and the General Properties Department.  
   The PSA is the county’s water and sewer service provider.  The General Properties Department includes such services as custodial and grounds maintenance for county properties.
   “The buildings and the site there is adequate to meet our current needs,” Quesenberry said.  He also said there are a couple of buildings on the property that will be demolished.  
   Chairman of the Board of Supervisors Joe Grzeika told us, “This buys us 5-10 years on the need for another new building to house these departments.”
   Funding to buy the property is coming from the undesignated reserve of the county’s Capital Improvement fund.  Quesenberry said they were pleased with the agreed-on price, since the property was on the market for $695K and appraised at $640K.  
Quesenberry also said they hoped to complete the purchase for move-in this May.  
The Board of Supervisors had put on hold some of its plans to build a new government center with four new buildings at Purkins Corner, with the roads and water/sewer lines already in place.  
   A decision was made last fall to go forward with a phased approach to start construction of only two of the four planned buildings.   That’s because of cost.  
   Construction costs have risen dramatically since the project was first proposed and it’s no secret that revenues are down due to the state’s slumping economy and the nation’s recession.
   Last fall, county-contracted financial analysts told the Board that to construct all four planned government center buildings this year, they could be looking at a real estate increase of 3.5 cents in 2010, an additional 5-cents in 2011 and another 2-cents in 2012.  
Those tax hikes did not include costs for a planned Smoot library expansion, which was estimated to add 1.5-cents to the tax rate in 2010, if going forward this year.  Those tax hikes did not take into account potential tax increases for any other government operations.
Consequently, a decision was made last fall to go forward with two buildings for now - an animal pound and Sheriff’s Department, which have been put out to bid.  
   The other two buildings, one for health & human services and a general operations center, are on hold.
   With that in mind, Supervisors had scheduled a joint meeting with the School Board in October to see where division officials stood on a possible consolidation of county and division vehicle/bus maintenance and utilization of the middle school building, which will be vacated by the 7th & 8th grades at the end of the school year this June.  
   The School Board appeared to be divided in support for consolidating vehicle maintenance with the county, adding up to an indecisive ‘maybe.’
   Regarding whether the School Board might consider turning over the middle school, that question had been asked two previous times in recent years.  First the School Board said they would turn it over to the county, then changed its collective mind in 2005, saying they wanted to keep it, likely for use as an intermediate school.  
   At the October meeting, School Board member Payne Kilbourn provided his calculations indicating the division’s need to keep the middle school building to house a portion of the student population.  
   But since that meeting with Supervisors on October 29, the School Board voted to postpone use of the middle school for at least the coming school year, due to cost constraints for long-needed and neglected maintenance issues, including a new well and a new heating and air conditioning (HVAC) system.  
   That’s why Supervisors had instructed county staff to cast about for options for housing the PSA and General Properties.

Phyllis Cook

County monitoring reduced revenues

$1M projected for June end-of-year deficit

   The King George Board of Supervisors got its latest financial report from Deputy County Administrator/Director of Finance Donita Harper, saying she was currently projecting a year-end deficit on June 30 of $1,048,530.  The report was provided at a meeting on January 22.
   The current $1M deficit projection gave the county’s financial standing as of the end of December, which included that month’s tax collections for the second half of the calendar year.  
   Harper noted that the $1M deficit projection for the county’s general fund was down about $300K from her December projection when a $1.3M deficit was being projected.  
   At the December meeting, the Board had directed additional efficiencies and cuts, including indefinitely postponing annual pay-for-performance raises that were scheduled to go into effect January 1.  Those raises were to have added up to 2 percent.  
The other directives made in December that likely contributed to the current lower projected deficit included:
   ~ Hiring freeze for all full and part-time position vacancies – anticipated to save about $100,000.  That does not include filling the vacancy of Director of    Economic Development due to the resignation of Theresa O’Quinn earlier this month.
   ~ Overtime freeze, except for emergencies, unless approved by the County Administrator – anticipated to save about $100,000.
   ~ 3 percent spending reductions by county agencies and departments – anticipated to save about $600,000.
   ~ All purchases going forward are to be based on operational necessity, with requisitions to be reviewed by the County Administrator/Deputy – anticipated to save about $200,000
   Harper said the top contributors to the current deficit are lower revenues from real estate taxes, recordation taxes, state categorical aid for Social Services, state Board of Compensation, and interest income.
   Those collections represent 90 percent of the projected deficit, currently adding up to a year-end shortage of revenues versus budget of $1.6M.
   There is no question that the county will end the fiscal year with the budget balanced on June 30.  That’s one of the reasons why the county is required to carry an undesignated “rainy day” fund.
ALSO AT THE JANUARY 22, 2009 MEETING:  
   o     REQUEST FOR FEDERAL STIMULUS FUNDS     States have been asked to submit “shovel ready” projects to the federal government for potential funding under the stimulus package legislation currently in the U.S. Senate.
   Supervisors authorized a letter to Governor Tim Kaine with a list of such projects from King George.  The list included:  
    $2.9M for construction of an animal pound, $15.3M for construction of a Sheriff’s Department;
    $11.3M for construction of a Health and Human Resources building;
    $9.8M for construction of a new operations center;
    $4.75M for expansion of Smoot Library;
    $2.1M for construction of infrastructure for expansion of the King George Industrial Park;
    $1.75M for construction of Purkins Corner-to-Hopyard force main and pump station project;
    $2.5M for expansion of the Hopyard wastewater treatment plant;
    $1.4M for upgrades to sewer pump stations in the Dahlgren area;
    $2.1M for construction of a water storage tank and water main replacement in the Fairview Beach area;
    $1.85M for construction of Oakland Park-to-Hopyard wastewater treatment plant force main and pump station project;
    $3M for construction of a new sports stadium at King George High School; and
    $900K for construction of a concession building, restrooms and field lighting at Sealston Sports Complex.
   o     CHAIRMAN’S REMARKS RE MEETING PROCEDURES    Supervisor Chairman Joe Grzeika addressed some comments regarding his take on the meeting procedures used for Board meetings.
   He said he was providing the information in an attempt to explain how the process works so residents would have a better understanding about the purposes and format of the county meetings of the Board of Supervisors.
   Grzeika stated, “It has become apparent to me that over time and based on individual interpretations we need to restate our purpose for our board meetings and to explain some of the nuances that frustrate folks.
   “We hold these regular board meetings to do the business of the county.  To ensure transparency and provide an ability for our citizens to witness first hand what we do and say they are public meetings open to all, however, the reason is for the board to do the business at hand.  They should not be confused with town hall type meetings or opportunity for citizen interaction with board.
   “Our Public Comment period is a time set aside for anyone to present comments to the board.  During this period we will not debate or enter into a dialogue with the speaker, we are in the receive mode and are listening to the issue/concern or idea presented.  We may or may not address or take action that night but you can trust the information was received and will be addressed in an appropriate manner.
   “Public Hearings are held to provide time for the citizens to address specific ordinances, changes, revision or zoning actions, they are a legal requirement and again are provided to allow anyone with a concern to voice their opinion, concern, objections or approvals.  The information from these sessions is used by the board to hear from the public and listen for items they may not have considered when making their decisions.  
“Public Hearings tend to bring opponents and supporter around a single issue to the podium.  This is important and required input.  But speaking for myself I am not swayed by the numbers in support or opposed since I know there is a much larger community and I have to deal which each issue form the overall county perspective and not just the interested vocal parties.”
   o     SOUTHERN HILLS ESTATES SUBDIVISION, SECTION I, FINAL PLAT     The Board of Supervisors approved a request by Robert Knight of Southern Hills Land, LLC for Southern Hills Estates Subdivision, Section I, Final Plat.  The approval action took place on January 22, with action by the Planning Commission to recommend approval earlier in the month.
Dahlgren Supervisor James Mullen disqualified himself from voting on the matter due to a business conflict of interest.
   The preliminary plat for the proposed subdivision had been approved in February 2008.  The property is located off Dogwood Lane (Route 603) and is identified as Tax Map 12, Parcels 112 and 116.  Section I contains 19 lots on 64.498 acres.  The subdivision is being platted as a traditional subdivision and will accommodate single/duplex residences on two-acre lots, which is the minimum lot size under the existing Rural Agricultural (A-2) zoning. The completed subdivision is planned to contain a total of 47 lots.  The subdivision is proposed to be served by private water and sewer provide through wells and septic systems.

Phyllis Cook

Hearing on cell phone tower postponed

Special Exception permit request pending by AT&T for construction of a 195-foot monopole Hearing postponed to January for King George Supervisors to decide on cell tower in residential subdivision

A hearing by the King George Board of Supervisors for a special exception permit for a 195-foot monopole cell tower in a residential subdivision has been postponed to January 20.
Following a public hearing on November 11, the Planning Commission voted to forward the special exception permit request for a 195-foot monopole telecommunication facility to the Board of Supervisors with a recommendation for approval.
The special exception request was submitted by Allen Bright for AT&T on behalf of landowners Adrian and Jennifer Hamm.  
In addition to Bright, Greg Rapisarda spoke in favor of the proposal at the public hearing, representing the applicant.  
The hearing last month also garnered comments from six adjacent landowners or near-neighbors who all stated opposition to the special exception request.  
An additional public hearing will be held by the Board of Supervisors on the special exception request prior to any decision on the matter.  
That hearing was expected to be held later this month, but it has now been postponed from December 16 to January 20, according to Director of Community Development Jack Green.
Green told The Journal this week that AT&T had requested the postponement to allow them time to address issues brought up by residents last month speaking against the request.
The primary issue has to do with restrictions on the land in the Hugger Tract subdivision being used for any commercial activity in the protective covenants.
A telecommunication facility is a commercial use that is allowed in residential zoning only by special exception granted by the Board of Supervisors.  
The 195-foot monopole cell tower is proposed to be located on property in the Hugger Tract on Auburn Wood Drive identified on Tax Map 16F, (1) Parcel 61, which is zoned Rural Agricultural (A-2).  
View Larger Map
The Hugger Tract is a residential subdivision consisting of 82 parcels of 10 acres or greater in size.  It contains single-family homes and woodland on private roads, with frontage on both Route 206 and Route 218.  Caledon Natural Area is located across Route 218 from the subdivision.  
The monopole cell tower is proposed to be constructed on 10.123 acres, a lot on which the Hamm’s existing house is located.  It will be operated by AT&T.  
The tower would be located at least 400 feet from any existing dwelling.  That setback does not include unoccupied structures such as detached garages or sheds.
RCC Consultants, Inc., was contracted by the county to analyze and provide a recommendation regarding cell tower construction when an application is made within the county.  
RCC’s John Hitch was present at the Planning Commission meeting last month and provided a recommendation favorable to the request.
RCC is recommending that the special exception permit be approved and further recommends that the applicant agree to perform an airspace analysis and adjust the site plan if necessary, and that  landscaping be installed between the tower and the adjacent houses located northeast and southeast of the tower to block the view from houses 400 feet away.
~ RESIDENTS COMMENTING    The six residents speaking at the public hearing on the proposal were all against a special exception being granted.  
Those speaking against the request were John LoBuglio, Vincent Neal Ames, Matt Hornbaker, Pam Bramel, Sandra Covington and Theresa Perez.
Adjacent landowner John LoBuglio said he was opposed to the special exception request for numerous reasons.  LoBuglio said the tower would be visible from his front yard.  He said that the property owners willing to allow AT&T the use of their property have never improved their road from the construction damage caused when their house was built as required by the current restrictive covenants.  LoBuglio said he is concerned about further deterioration of the road due to the proposed commercial activity.  
Adjacent landowner Vincent Neal Ames also expressed concern about road damage from trucks and other equipment coming in on the private road during construction and from other commercial entities allowed to co-locate their equipment on the proposed tower.  
Ames also said he was concerned about a decrease in his residential property values due to the placement of the tower.
Matt Hornbaker said he was opposed to the commercial development in the residential neighborhood, noting that the restrictive covenants require that use be solely residential and further state that lots cannot be used for commercial purposes at all.
Pam Bramel said she was opposed to the request, saying that commercial development in the area is not supported by the county’s Comprehensive Plan.  
Sandra Covington and Theresa Perez likewise both stated they were each opposed to the request.
Rapisarda, representing AT&R, spoke in favor of the proposal.  
But Rapisarda also said he wanted to obtain a copy of the restrictive covenants so they could be addressed prior to the next public hearing on the request.  
The Planning Commission was informed that the issue of the commercial use violating the restrictive covenants is not under their purview.  
~ RESTRICTIVE COVENANTS      The Declaration of Restrictions and Covenants are recorded in Deed Book 290 pages 851 through 855.  
Page 853 states that commercial use is prohibited in the Hugger Tract.  The deed book also says that no unsightly materials of any kind are allowed which constitute a nuisance.  
Another paragraph states that it is the responsibility of each property owner to prevent the development of unsightly building and/or structures or grounds on their lot which shall tend substantially to decrease the beauty of the specific neighborhood.
Planning Commissioners were told that the county does not have jurisdiction over enforcement of restrictive covenants.      
Director of Community Development Jack Green said, “You need to make a decision based on whether they meet the review standards required and the zoning ordinance standards.”
Commission Chairman Josh Colwell clarified, saying, “The restrictive covenants are between the landowners, right?”
Green responded, saying, “Yes, but AT&T will have to address them.  I thought they had the covenants and had addressed them.”
Commissioner Gary Kendrick said, “I can understand and appreciate everything said by the neighbors.  But if I understand that everything meets the ordinance, there would be no basis for denying it, even if we wanted to.”
Commissioner Bill Robie disagreed, saying, “I think there are some grounds for denying it.”
Robie pointed to the review standards for special exceptions.  
He read, “It says, ‘Will not be detrimental to health, safety, morals and general welfare of the community involved.’  I think there is an argument to be made on that.”
Robie also pointed out two other standards, #8 and #9.  They are:  “The use shall not tend to change the character and established pattern or development of the area of the proposed use,” and “The use shall be in harmony with the uses permitted by right in the zoning district.”
Robie, who was the sole vote against recommending approval, also pointed out that the lot may not be the best area to site a cell tower, since it across Route 218 from Caledon Natural Area, which is an active eagle breeding area.
Bright, applicant for AT&T stated, “We have a criteria we have to work with. With this parcel, we can meet the special exception criteria.  It takes two things, meet the zoning requirements and find a willing landowner.”

Phyllis Cook, Staff Reporter

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