Tue09022014

Last updateThu, 19 Nov 2015 8pm

   2014 39.95 HSD w VIDor PH-Banner2-500-x-125

Longtime educator takes over at W&L High School

Longtime educator takes over at W&L High School

When Dashan Turner was a boy growing up in a small town in Mississippi, one of his teachers told him...

Montross council productive July meeting

On July 22, Montross Town Council quickly took care of electing officers for the new fiscal year. R....

Westmoreland County’s Parker Farms Supplies Produce to East Coast

Westmoreland County’s Parker Farms Supplies Produce to East Coast

Parker Farms, headquartered near Oak Grove with 2,000 acres of produce growing along the Rappahannoc...

“Bridge Closed” signs up on Rt 205

“Bridge Closed” signs were posted this week on State Route 205 in Westmoreland County as the Virgini...

14-year-old equipment endangering lives

Oak Grove VFD Chief Mike Gutridge recently advised that he is very concerned about the decaying cond...

Westmoreland Sheriff’s report

JUNE 16
Patricia Faye Boone, 39, Colonial Beach arrested for assault on family member.
JUNE 18
Gregory ...

 

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NN Landscaping, Inc. will resume its snow removal duties

During the last meeting before the holidays began, members of the Westmoreland County Board of Supervisors delivered a unanimous vote to renew Northern Neck Landscaping’s snow removal contract.
Frank Swann, Jr. is President of Northern Neck Landscaping and Swann submitted the only proposal in response to the local government’s contractor solicitation. No member of the Westmoreland County Board could recall when another contractor had performed those duties.
The Board’s three veteran members praised the reliability and quality of Northern Neck Landscaping’s previous performance.
“This contractor has done it for Westmoreland County many times and the figures in the proposal are right in line with what the costs have been in the past,” District 4 Supervisor Woody Hynson told the other members of the Board.
“I see nothing wrong with the bid. I think we’d better accept it and move on,” Hynson said seconds before he introduced a formal motion to accept the contractor’s snow removal bid.
Northern Neck Landscaping will be paid for each snow or sleet event that requires the contractor’s services. The proposal included a $425.00 preparation charge.
“The prep cost,” Swann explained in a December 3 correspondence addressed to the five Westmoreland Supervisors, “is due to time it takes for men to hook up the snow removal equipment and inspect the trucks.
“[The preparation fee] also covers cost of coming out before work is to commence and assessing if conditions warrant snow removal.”
The proposal includes reimbursement for the contractor’s purchase of multiple 50-pound bags of de-icing materials. Ten county properties were included in the bid.
The A. T. Johnson Human Services building parking area will be cleared at a cost of $250 for each of the season’s snow removal occurrences. The George D. English Building’s parking area will likewise cost $250 to clear each time it snows.
The Sheriff’s Office parking area’s clearing will cost $125 and it will cost $120 to clear the Hague library road and parking area. The Animal Shelter road and parking area will be cleared for a $110 charge.
The Carmel Church convenience site and trash disposal area will cost $95 to clear. The Montross library’s parking area will be cleared for $85. The old court house and museum parking area will be cleared for $75 and the Montross-Westmoreland wastewater treatment plant’s access road and parking area will be cleared at a cost of $75.
“Everything appears to be in order,” District 23 Supervisor Lynn Brownley noted. “We can award the contract and be ready for the snow.”
Board of Supervisors Chairman Darryl Fisher advised citizens attending the Board’s December meeting that in the event that there is no frozen winter precipitation, Northern Neck Landscaping will receive no payments from the local government.
“And that probably won’t happen,” a private citizen remarked. “It wouldn’t be winter if it didn’t snow.”

Betsy Ficklin

Brownley delivers economic development white paper to Westmoreland supervisors

District 3 Supervisor Lynn Brownley has spent his life in Westmoreland County and considers himself a fairly keen observer of what has worked and what has failed to deliver the desired economic development objectives in the still rural jurisdiction he calls home.
Brownley had a special place on the Supervisors’ meeting agenda last Monday night, presenting the white paper he had promised during the previous month’s session that outlined portions of the economic development initiative he hopes Board colleagues will embrace.
“I believe that Westmoreland County needs to undertake a specific, targeted and comprehensive initiative to better promote our County and foster business and commercial growth, both from within and without,” the Supervisor told Board colleagues and county residents.
“Our County Administrators, Planning District Commission, Regional Partnership and State Economic Development representatives have worked hard in the past, occasionally with some reasonable success. At other times we have just missed sealing the deal.
“Opportunities have been created and certainly a few have been realized, yet we must do much more to avoid continued stagnation and dependence solely on a growing retiree tax base.”
The presence of the manufacturing enterprise known as Carry-On Trailer in the county’s industrial park was cited as an example of a successful past economic development initiative. The failure to recruit an industry willing to locate in the industrial park’s shell building is a glaring reminder of one or more missed opportunities.
Brownley presented a warning about allowing the local government to continue to rely on creation of ever more retirement communities on the county’s waterfront. With limited opportunities to raise the necessary revenue, ever more pressure is placed on the county’s landowners, a trend the District 3 Supervisor hopes his economic development proposal might offset.
“Given the general economic landscape our county faces and the special challenges facing our rural community, we should locate and consider engaging a specialist,” Brownley reasoned.
“That person would articulate and lead in the development of a strategy to increase our community potential, identify businesses that fit a desired profile, those that have compatible goals, that can utilize existing governmental and private resources and can grow with us in the foreseeable future.
“Most especially, we need direct assistance to broaden and encourage our current entrepreneur class. I conclude that we can no longer be passive or merely react to inquiries. We surely must make some of our own luck and be diligent about it.”
Brownley cited the Montross establishment known as The Art of Coffee as being a successful example of the kind of entrepreneurial initiative needed in Westmoreland.
“After many months of study, numerous discussions, several meetings, and probing ideas and approaches with certain persons in the field, I suggest to the Board that we pursue our own county version of economic encouragement.
“Along the way we might also truly conserve some of our natural resources in a meaningful way. We should market proactively Westmoreland County.
“We should promote and enhance tourism and recreational values, create more options for landowners, and develop, including promotional schemes, value-added events. I can provide some examples of successful efforts in other jurisdictions.”
Brownley presented a list of interrelated activities he considered essential to launch a successful economic development initiative. Public relations, communications, target marketing, identification of compatible businesses and encouragement and assistance for entrepreneurs already operating in Westmoreland were included near the top of the activity list he shared.
Other initiatives included fundraising help for broader community endeavors, creating a liaison between businesses and the Board of Supervisors, revitalizing and supporting the Chambers of Commerce in Westmoreland County and the Town of Colonial Beach, creating and improving content for the county government’s new website, assisting with parts of the Comprehensive Plan amendment and “anything else related and productive.”
“If strategically planned, these tasks and engagements can be complementary, one to another, and benefits would accrue as multi-motivated effects,” Supervisor Brownley reasoned.
“I have some further thoughts on budgeting, describing what we should expect, how we may utilize some funds, how to approach costs and investment, and how we can readily build a team.
“Several citizens and a few other officials have effectively reached similar conclusions. Some see parallel paths with involvement of community investors and recreational/tourist experiences.
“People’s use of their property must prove profitable. We can harness certain change and use it to propel us toward more community capacity and a sustainable lifestyle in the long run.”
Brownley then related that despite his belief in the initiatives he has proposed, he continues “to harbor grave concerns as to the present need and obligation to preserve and retain not just the properties that have been set aside as open land, but larger areas of mature forest, buffered productive agricultural tracks, and corridors along the county’s waterways.
“I have come to realize that successful, forward-reaching initiatives of commerce may serve to predicate the literal ‘heritage-keeping’ of more of the lands, woods and waters that can still provide us and others with some pride and peace,” he said.
“Most pertinently, we should try harder now to define and invent our future here. To revere the past and supercharge our history is important to us and to our visitors.
Brownley advised that the actions he proposes are needed is Westmoreland County is to improve its “tax base and [create] opportunities for our own citizens to really improve our community, to help us direct growth, and to give us the impetus we need to continue our rural lifestyle.
“I am certain,” he then stated, “we can make provision if we describe our vision and pursue a planned approach to economic encouragement.
“We must face, and to a large extent, embrace our future. Tough times are here, but we can use wisdom long-term and prepare for action now.
“I would appreciate your thoughts, concerns, queries, suggestions, modifications and objections to what I outline here. This,” said Brownley, “is an elementary approach, but it is a better model for tomorrow in the Northern Neck.”

Betsy Ficklin

Bay Aging describes services it delivers to W’md Social Services Board

At a meeting last Friday longtime Bay Aging employee Patsy Taylor delivered a briefing to Westmoreland Social Services Board that detailed services the 30-year-old non-private establishment delivers to disabled and elderly residents in the Northern Neck and Middle Peninsula’s ten counties.
As was reported in last week’s Journal, Bay Aging is in immediate danger of losing $18,961 of the state funding used to support the program known as Meals on Wheels. Another $29,779 supporting adult health services and day-care could be lost.
Earlier this month the Westmoreland Supervisors joined counterparts from the nine other Bay Aging county boards in asking that the General Assembly overturn the funding reduction specified in Governor Tim Kaine’s cost saving measures.
“We have always had a wonderful working relationship with Bay Aging and are very disturbed about the cuts the Governor has proposed,” Westmoreland Social Services Department Director Helen Wilkins told Taylor and the members of the county’s Social Services Board.
“And it now looks like there will be another round of cuts,” Taylor responded. “The prospects aren’t looking very good for the Medicaid recipients, either.”
Taylor noted that Bay Aging’s Meals on Wheels program and Bay Transit are probably “the most visible” of the services offered by that entity.
“We started small thirty years ago, but we have grown,” she said of the services delivered to elderly and disabled members of the community.
Bay Aging is a Medicaid personal care provider, but health services offerings are diverse.
The CareMatch Personal Care Assistant Program encompasses multiple in-home care options which Bay Aging describes as friendly visiting, reading, writing, errands, meal preparation, light housekeeping tasks just about anything else a recipient may request.
“We deliver an array of services to help forestall nursing home placement,” said Taylor of the cost saving alternatives to taxpayer-subsidized payments to expensive nursing homes.
“We work very closely with Social Services here in Westmoreland,” said Taylor.
Wilkins agreed. “We can deliver services more effectively to people who are in crisis when our resources can be pooled.”
Bay Aging’s Home Care program provides long-term care for frail and at-risk housebound individuals who receive assistance with their daily living activities.
That assistance includes help with dressing, bathing, grooming, housekeeping and meals preparation.
Respite for Caregivers is a program that provides opportunities for stress relief and personal time. The In-Home Personal Care program delivers companionship and medical services.
Bay Aging sponsors support groups for local residents who must care for Alzheimer’s patients. The monthly meetings offer both comfort and support. Another program offers mechanisms for contacting aging services throughout the United States.
The Legal Aid component can provide individual representation for legal advice. Another offering is participation in the Virginia Insurance Counseling and Assistance Program that “educates, counsels and assists older consumers on medical benefit programs and long-term care insurance.
The Adult Day Break program “addresses the needs of persons age eighteen-plus who are nursing home eligible and who are at the greatest risk of institutionalization,” a Bay Aging brochure advises.
“Most of the clients have Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia, while the younger adults have sever mental and physical disabilities.” Those individuals can be provided with care and supervision, meals and snacks, activities, health monitoring, games, support and respite groups and mental stimulation.
Bay Aging operates a Retired Senior Volunteer Program most commonly known as RSVP. Over a thousand people from ten different counties share knowledge and expertise, providing friendship and delivering services that reach thousands of individuals.
Active Lifestyle Centers are operated in each of Bay Aging’s ten counties and the one in Colonial Beach is heavily utilized. Centers serve as community focal points provide socialization opportunities through supportive group programs and opportunities for fun.
Not the least of Bay Aging’s local contributions has been its creation of affordable residential communities for the region’s older residents. Bay Aging established a community in Colonial Beach known as The Meadows and established Mill Pond Village and Parker Run in the Montross area.
Bay Family Housing offers opportunities for homeowners and others who desire to own a home. Bay Aging played a major role in Westmoreland County’s Monroe Hall community redevelopment project, and the list of local accomplishments goes on and on and on.
When Westmoreland Housing Coalition ceased its operations, Bay Aging assumed the lead role in administration of the jurisdiction’s indoor plumbing, emergency home repair and weatherization efforts.
Bay Aging delivers urgent need services in coordination with disaster relief initiatives, provides housing counseling and even conducts homebuyer education classes.
The service outreach to the disabled and the elderly provides professionally certified care coordinators who assess individual living situations and determine what may be the best, most cost-effective option. Charges are based on a client’s ability to pay.
To receive Bay Aging’s services, one need not be elderly.
“Our primary mission is to help seniors and people with disabilities of all ages live independently and safely in their own communities for as long as possible,” Taylor emphasized.
“Our plans are guided by the immediate needs of our communities’ seniors and the general demands of our rapidly aging population,” said Bay Aging President Allyn Gemerek.
“One issue remains at the forefront of all others for seniors and people with disabilities – the need for independence, to be able to live their lives with dignity.”
Bay Aging is governed by a Board of Directors appointed by the governing bodies of the member jurisdictions. The Board establishes policy and provides staff oversight.
Programs and services are funded through the Older Americans Act, grants, federal, state and local government contributions and private donations. As local, state, federal and even global economies become increasingly stressed, private donations and volunteerism become more crucial than even in Bay Aging’s 30-year experience.
Tax deductible contributions can be mailed to Bay Aging at P.O. Box 610, Urbanna, VA 23175, with checks payable to the Bay Aging Foundation.
“Donations are not used to subsidize administrative costs,” Taylor stated on Friday. “donated monies are used to support the services we provide.”
“And you’re delivering a lot of wonderful services,” Westmoreland Social Services Board Chair F. C. “Doc” Dugan told Bay Aging employee Patsy Taylor. “Folks have no idea how many things you do. Congratulations for doing such a fine job for all these years.”
“They are wonderful to work with,” Director Wilkins told the members of the Social Services Department Board.
Bay Aging maintains a Montross office and can be reached at 493-0238. “Please tell your readers,” said Taylor, “that we are always happy to accept new volunteers."
 

Residents scrutinize County Attorney’s earnings and contributions in Westmoreland

The Westmoreland County Citizens’ Association has spent an entire year observing their local government in action and looking for ways county government might conserve the tax revenue that it collects.
During the most recent Board of Supervisors meeting, Association President and spokesperson Kennon Morris raised a question about the County Attorney’s position.
“Do we need a County Attorney to be retained during these difficult economic times?” was the first question that he asked.
Morris suggested that it may be better “to just pay for legal services as needed, like other neighboring counties on the Northern Neck.”
Thomas Bondurant currently holds the position of County Attorney in Westmoreland. He owns a weekend home in neighboring Northumberland County and practices law in the Richmond area, traveling to Montross to attend the monthly Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors meetings.
According to information gathered by some members of the Westmoreland County Citizens’ Association, Westmoreland County paid Bondurant just under $60,000 for the work he did for the local government between July 1, 2007 and June 30, 2008.
According to the group’s research, his salary was $36,000.00 and additional work performed at the local government’s request brought his earnings in that period to $53,811.00.
When the County Attorney attended an LGA Conference that cost local taxpayers $1,255.00 and his running total climbed to $55,066.00. The county’s contribution of $4,812.00 for the part-timer’s hospitalization insurance coverage raised the total to $59,878.00.
The employment contract that the county government executed with attorney Thomas Ogburn Bondurant, Jr. on March 22, 2005 mirrors language contained in contracts made with past county attorneys Gordon Wilkins and Richard Stuart in March and December of 2003.
The 2003 and 2005 contracts state that the County Attorney “will represent the county in certain legal matters as counsel, to-wit: Provide legal advice to the Board of Supervisors, Industrial Development Authority, Planning Commission, and the County Administrator, together with county agencies and departments, and as authorized by the Board of Supervisors or County Administrator, as long as ethically appropriate.
“[The County] Attorney will also associate other counsel in matters requiring specialized advice, upon authorization by the County Administrator.
“[The County] Attorney will not be representing [the] County in the following matters: as Attorney for Social Services,” which instead engages Valerie Mayo as its attorney of record.
According to the contract, the County Attorney is paid “a fixed fee of $36,000.00 per fiscal year.”
The contract then states that the County Attorney is compensated “on an hourly basis at the rate of $90.00 an hour for all trial work in the General District Courts, Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court, Circuit Court, and any other courts in Virginia, or elsewhere, including trial preparation, drafting of pleadings or any other work related to litigation or court orders or appearances.”
The County Attorney is additionally compensated at the rate of $90.00 per hour for “all work related to utility systems, water, sewer, or other, which are owned by or participated in by the County, including, but not limited to, title work, drafting of easements, documents, agreements or any other papers, meeting attendances which are separately designated from regular or special Board of Supervisors business meetings, and any other work related to utility systems.”
“Mr. Bondurant will really earn a lot of money if the Phase 2 Washington District sewer project goes through next year,” an Association member commented when the reporter initially reviewed the copy of the employment contract that the Association had obtained.
The same payment of $90.00 per how will be allocated to Bondurant as compensation for “all work related to County bond issues, including preparation of County Attorney opinions, coordination with bond counsel, and any other matters related to bond issue financing for the County of County-related projects.”
The “County will further pay for [the County] Attorney’s participation in the County health plan,” a provision believed to cost local taxpayers the previously noted $400.00 per month.
The contract states that the “County agrees to reimburse [its County] Attorney for all expenses for travel, conferences and conference fees, meals, court reporters, transcripts, court costs, private investigators, expert witnesses, medical examinations, printing, and any other expenses arising out of said representation by [County] Attorney, subject to annual appropriation, and budget approval.
“Reimbursement for expenses shall be due at the time [the County] Attorney incurs such expense [and] monthly itemized statements of all expenses will be provided to [the] County.
“[The County] Attorney shall bill the County on an annual or monthly basis for accrued hourly fees and expenses not yet paid, if any.
“In all respects, the County Attorney shall serve at the pleasure of the Board of Supervisors.

Betsy Ficklin

Brownley and others share economic development goals involving tourism in Westmoreland County

Northern Neck Historical Society President Virginia Brown, Afghanistan War combatant Chip Jones and James Monroe Foundation President Bill Thomas may find that they have lots of help when they return to Westmoreland County.
A highlight of this Monday night’s Board of Supervisors meeting was Supervisor Lynn Brownley’s white paper presentation that proposed to use the jurisdiction’s historic assets for economic development purposes.
Work on a James Monroe Birthplace visitor center was completed earlier this year and the Monroe Foundation still plans to construct a replica of the home in which James Monroe was born.
After six decades of effort, the old Monroe family farm will be added to the historically rich jurisdiction’s list of tourist attractions. Foundation President Bill Thomas has praised the Foundation’s partnership with Westmoreland in the effort to develop the Monroe Birthplace and has characterized the initiative as the critical mass needed to convert the county’s historic assets into an economic engine
Virginia Brown, who championed the Monroe Foundation’s cause, is wintering in Florida with her son but plans to return in time for the April celebration of Monroe’s 351st birthday.
Despite Brown’s absence, Northern Neck Historical Society is busier than ever. As this edition of The Journal goes to press, former Journal reporter Kat Ballentine Shepherd is delivering a presentation about the contributions of Westmoreland native Bushrod Washington in his capacity as a United States Supreme Court Justice.
Ballentine is an attorney, legal scholar and Supreme Court docent who resides in the Montross area and holds the position of Northern Neck of Virginia Historical Society Executive Director.
Jones is a Northern Neck State Bank employee and Westmoreland resident who was called to active duty in the military and had already completed a tour in Iraq when he returned to Westmoreland long enough to cause a Northern Neck Division of Motor Vehicles license plate to be created.
Jones has since been deployed to Afghanistan. Before his most recent departure he briefed Westmoreland Citizens Association about the advantages the jurisdiction might expect to derive from participation in a regional heritage tourism program.
At home in Westmoreland County this Monday night were Citizens’ Association President Kennon Morris and Association member Gary Hutt. Hutt is completing a white paper of his own concerning development of local historic and other assets for revenue generating purposes. He will present his findings to the Association on January 26.
Very early in the Board’s December 8 proceeding Colonial Beach Councilman Steve Kennedy spoke of his own visit to Luray, Virginia and that locality’s revitalization activities, which he believes can work as well for the Town of Colonial Beach.
Throughout the briefing Kennedy emphasized the interdependence of Colonial Beach and Westmoreland County, urging greater cooperative efforts to launch a tourism-based economic development initiative that would capitalize on shared geographic and historic assets. He envisions creation of an historic trail that would connect Luray to Virginia’s Northern Neck.
Late in the Board’s December 8 public meeting Morris expressed the idea shared by many. More residential subdivisions are not the economic development engine Westmoreland County needs.
On December 8 Supervisor Brownely praised the occasional success of the jurisdiction’s past economic development efforts.
“We must do more to avoid continued stagnation and dependence solely on a growing retiree tax base,” he explained during a session that earlier adopted a resolution projecting that 29.8 of the county’s population with be 65 or older by 2030.
“Given the general economic landscape our country faces and the special challenges facing our rural community, we should locate and consider engaging a specialist,” the Supervisor said.
Brownley suggested that Westmoreland County begin pursuing its own version of economic encouragement, a departure from past reliance on state economic development initiatives.
“We should proactively market Westmoreland County, promoting and enhancing tourism and recreational values,” Brownley said, adding that the measures would provide land owners with needed options for protecting their properties’ rural attributes. More of the Supervisor’s presentation will be shared in next week’s Journal.

Betsy Ficklin

State says DiRosario didn't do it

Earlier this year all but one of the sexual child abuse charges against Wayne DiRosario had been officially dismissed. On November 19 the final allegation that the former Colonial Beach Mayor and Westmoreland County Supervisor sexually abused a child was also laid to rest.
The final outstanding charge had been supported by a Westmoreland Social Services Department investigation, but DiRosario appealed the determination to state Social Services agency authorities.
That appeal was taken to the Virginia Social Services Department’s Appeals and Fair Hearings Unit before Administrative Hearing Officer Michele Anne Gillette on September 10, 2008.
The eighteen-page document dated November 19, 2008 and signed by Gillette delivered a decision that “the disposition of ‘Founded Sexual Abuse(Sexual Molestation) Level One’ of Briana Brewster by David Wayne DiRosario is amended to ‘Unfounded.’”
A Findings of Fact section of the official document notes that the child DiRosario allegedly abused is the biological granddaughter of DiRosario’s estranged wife, Terri, and that during the period when the couple was married, the wife’s two biological children alleged that Wayne had sexually abused both of them.
The stepson, the document notes, later recanted his accusation under oath and the stepdaughter, “who was hospitalized for treatment of mental illness, also recanted her allegation.”
Allegations that Wayne DiRosario sexually abused the step granddaughter during Summer 2005 lacked the support of a preponderance of evidence,” the hearing officer reasoned after reviewing the large body of information that had accumulated during the approximately three-year life of that child abuse allegation.
An Analysis section of the same document states that “the evidences shows that the allegations of abuse in this case were made against a background of significant domestic disfunction that occurred over a number of years.
“The evidence shows that this domestic turmoil included many other allegations of physical and sexual abuse made against [Wayne DiRosario] and his two step-children, none of which were determined to be ‘Founded.’
“[Wayne DiRosario] himself testified that the previous complaints were made in an effort to influence or manipulate either his behavior or that of his wife.”
The document noted that no medical evidence existed to indicate that the step granddaughter had ever been abused.
Referencing the two stepchildren’s recanted prior accusations, the report suggests that the local Social Services Department investigation “relied on patently unreliable information.”
DiRosario says he’d glad to have these years of agony behind him. He told The Journal that he wants to get on with his life and will not forget the people who never lost their belief in his integrity.

Betsy Ficklin

Comp Plan Survey extended

Westmoreland County is in the process of creating a brand new Comprehensive Plan and the Northern Neck Planning District Office is attempting to coordinate the effort.
Planning District Director Jerry Davis met again this Monday with the Westmoreland Planning Commissioners. A decision was made to give residents one more month to complete a crucially important four-page survey document.
The period for accepting survey returns had already been extended on multiple occasions. Davis and the county’s Planning Commissions wanted the next Plan to be optimally driven by citizen positions.
The Comprehensive Plan serves as the basis for a local government’s land use practices. The currently pending survey solicits individual responses to land use policy that hold the potential for influencing land use practices far into the future.
In addition to the paper survey documents that can be obtained from county offices and public libraries in Hague, Montross and Colonial Beach, the survey can be completed on the Internet by visiting the specially created Westmoreland 2030.org website.
To launch the ambitious effort to create a new Comprehensive plan, Davis and the Planning Commissioners hosted three kick-off sessions in as many different Westmoreland County locations.
The informational sessions that additionally solicited input from the local residents turned out to be a major disappointment for the county’s Planning Commissioners. Turnout was poor and subsequent response to the survey has been similarly sparse.
When the last survey period ended on October 31 as few as 70 completed surveys were in hand. The period was extended through November and this Monday Davis told the Commissioners that the total number of completed surveys had climbed to 120 during November’s extension period.
On November 24 the commission convened a work session attended by Colonial Beach Planning Commissioner Desiree Urquhart. Aware of the town’s current effort to create a new Comprehensive Plan and that jurisdiction’s recent citizen survey, the Westmoreland Planning Commissioners took advantage of an opportunity to gain insight concerning the process in the town.
Urquhart told the Westmoreland Planning Commission members that the town’s consultant had created Colonial Beach’s Comp Plan survey document and that it had been mailed to every resident in town.
“Over 400 completed surveys came back,” the Colonial Beach Planning Commissioner told her county counterparts. She advised that the town has 2,500 residents and characterized the survey response as “pretty significant.”
Urquhart additionally made it known that Colonial Beach held three public hearings of the purpose of optimizing citizen participation in the effort to create a new Comprehensive Plan.
“We had significant numbers of people in attendance,” she told the county Commissioners. According to the Colonial Beach Planning Commissioner, there were between 50 and 75 residents attending each of those three public input sessions.
County Commission Chairman Rob McDermott shared his own disappointment with Urquhart when he related that attendance totals at Westmoreland’s three Comp Plan kick-off sessions had been “ten, six and five private citizens.”
Progress was made at this week’s Planning Commission meeting. A tentative schedule for 2009 Comprehensive Plan considerations was devised.
With the survey period extended until the end of 2008, it was established that Davis would attend the Commission’s February 2, 2009 meeting and present survey results. That session would begin in the customary English Building meeting place at 1:30 p.m.
On the first Monday of March 2009 the Commission would convene an evening session that would begin at 7 p.m. in the English Building meeting place. The evening meeting time was touted as a means of optimizing citizens’ ability to contribute input to a document whose content will have far reaching impacts on local land use practices.
Betsy Ficklin

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