The Alleghany County Board of Supervisors voted 7-0 on all agenda items, including approving the building permit fee waiver for the Town of Clifton’s love sculpture Forge.
After G. Matt Garten, President, called the meeting to order, Shannon P. Cox, the Supervisor representing the Boiling Springs District, led those in attendance to the invocation and “oath of allegiance.”
A public hearing was held to discuss an application by William Terry Daily to conditionally rezone Lot 21 of the Dressler Estates subdivision, listed on the agenda at 140 Maple Lane. The property is located in a “residential transition zone” as indicated in the “Global Plan”.
Daily, a retiree from WestRock, noted that he has a separate private entrance to the four-bedroom part of the house he proposes to convert into a homestay guesthouse. He explained that there is often a shortage of suitable housing in the area, especially for workers from outside Covington who need a clean place to stay near the paper mill.
The council discussed the matter and Garten spoke on behalf of Daily, revealing that Tommy Garten, Matt’s father, was one of Daily’s neighbors and that he himself grew up next door to Daily.
Garten concluded that no one could ask for a better neighbor than Daily.
The vote was 7-0 to allow the property to move from an R-1 residential zone classification to an R-2 residential zone.
Ms. Delores Quarles made a presentation during the time allotted for public comment, and she noted that good progress is being made at the historic Wrightsville project in some areas, but she expressed concern that some permits may expire before the completion of some of the construction work that was hampered due to complications that developed due to the construction companies involved not being bonded.
Later in the meeting, during Reid Walters’ “County Administrator’s Report”, Alleghany County Administrator Walters noted that he and Quarles had met twice regarding the issue and that would continue to work with her to help get the project back on track.
Ms Lorri Saville, a teacher at the college, asked why a change could not have been made before July 1, to keep Clifton Middle School where it is rather than busing students to Covington where the Covington High School will move to Covington Middle School after the current school year.
Stephen A. Bennett, who represents the District of Jackson River, explained that the Alleghany County Board of Supervisors no longer controls schools, but on July 1, Alleghany Highlands Public Schools became a new consolidated school system. , after combining Covington City Public Schools with Alleghany County Public Schools.
Bennett noted that while the Alleghany County Board of Supervisors has some influence in that it controls funding for the Consolidated School System, Alleghany Highlands Public Schools leases Alleghany County buildings and determines the how the building will be used.
He also noted that Alleghany County does not have the legal authority to take back school buildings from the school system, but the school system can return a building to Alleghany County if the school system chooses.
Ms. Susan Hammond, VDOT resident engineer, advised that no construction projects are currently underway, and she has spoken with supervisors about potential tree issues that can present hazardous situations for motorists traveling in the county. .
Cox reported to Hammond that the erosion on the edge of the freeway near her home needed to be repaired, and Hammond agreed to have the VDOT fix it.
The Board also approved additional appropriations for FY22 (garbage disposal and CSA).
Walters indicated that he was working on completing the “five-year plan”, and he asked questions after his report, but none were asked.
During the supervisors’ comments, everyone took turns thanking their guests, Mayor Jeff Irvine of the Town of Clifton Forge; Charles “Chuck” Unroe, City Manager of Clifton Forge; Kim Halterman, Superintendent of Alleghany Highlands Public Schools; and Jonathan Arritt, vice president of the system’s school board.
Supervisor Cletus W. Nicely, who represents the Sharon District, gave his thoughts on the decision to move the college to Covington. He remarked, “It’s never good to swap a new building for a 110-year-old building.”
Dr. Ronald S. Goings of the Clifton Forge East District noted that he was for green energy and expressed his opinion that solar panels would help reduce heating costs in the school system.
James M. Griffith, who represents the District of Covington, addressed the issue regarding the shortage of teachers and bus drivers after thanking those who attended the meeting for their interest in community affairs.
Cox encouraged everyone to attend the celebration at Mountain Gateway Community College for the 200th anniversary of the formation of Alleghany County. The festivities are set to take place on Saturday, September 17.
Gregory A. Dodd, representing the District of Clifton Forge West, welcomed those in attendance and thanked those who made presentations.
Garten noted that the meeting room had to be cleared for an in camera session that had to take place pursuant to Sections 2.2-3711 (A)(1) and (3) of the Code of Virginia (1950), as amended, for discuss: (1) personnel matters; and (2) property acquisition.
Supervisors remained seated while those not involved in the lock-up left the room at 8:00 p.m.