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Builders required to pay new inspection fee

SoVaNow.com / July 14, 2021
Convening Monday in Boydton, the Mecklenburg County Board of Supervisors approved a new fee that builders will be required to pay to monitor erosion and sediment control during the construction process.

Currently Mecklenburg County charges no fee for inspecting construction sites to monitor compliance with erosion and sediment control measures. The inspections often take county staff half or a full day, at least once each month per project.

The new erosion and sediment control land disturbing application fee will be $50 for residential-single family homes and $200 for commercial/solar projects. There’s also a land disturbing inspection fee for commercial/solar projects. The fee is pre-paid and runs $200 per month through the completion date and $400 per month for projects that extend beyond the proposed completion date.

Under the new rules, every commercial/solar permit applications must include an anticipated project completion date. There will be no refund paid to applicants for any of the pre-paid fee even if the project is completed before the estimated end date as stated on the application.

If the project exceeds its estimated completion date, any performance bond paid to the county will not be released to the contractor until all extra land disturbing inspection fees have been paid.

County Zoning Administrator Robert Hendrick said the average residential construction project lasts about six months and he must do several site visits during that period.

Supervisor Jim Jennings asked what it cost to oversee erosion and sediment control at construction projects. County Administrator Wayne Carter replied, “We could not charge enough to cover the cost to the county” due to the number of visits required by state regulations.

The public hearing was held for citizens to weigh in on the fee structure change, but no one, including building contractors, came forward to voice support or opposition to the amendment.

The change was approved by a vote of 8-0 with supervisor David Brankley absent.

In other business, supervisors approved a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Dominion Power, EMPOWER Broadband and Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative to establish guidelines for a fiber-to-the-home broadband solution for the entire county. The areas that will be covered under this agreement are those deemed underserved and unserved, according to Census block information. This project is part of a pilot program being developed throughout Virginia by Dominion Energy.

EMPOWER is the division of Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative that is currently providing fiber broadband connectivity to existing MEC and former Buggs Island Telephone customers.

The proposed buildout is expected to take three years, according to John Lee, CEO of Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative.

» Supervisors awarded a $1,080,497 contract to H.G. Reynolds Company to build an intermediate booster station on Highway 57 West to move wastewater from Mecklenburg County’s new secondary school campus in Baskerville to Boydton’s wastewater treatment plant.

Superintendent of Schools Paul Nichols gave an update on construction at the new consolidated secondary school campus in Baskerville. In response to questions by board members, Nichols said it is likely that students will still be required to wear masks while traveling on the bus and at school for the 2021-22 school year.

» Highway 92 near Boydton is closed for the next two weeks to make repairs to a failed sewer line. Highway 695, Hanford Road near Skipwith, is closed for planned bridge repairs. The alternate route marked by VDOT officials uses New Hope Road.

» Sheriff Bobby Hawkins informed supervisors that as of July 1, anyone driving 86 miles per hour or more on interstate highways can be charged with reckless driving. The law is unchanged for those driving on state and county roads. A person can be charged with reckless driving if they exceeding the posted speed limit by 20 mph or more.

Hawkins also introduced the four newest members of the Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office, deputies Aaron Huff, Bailey Townsend, Adrian Guerrero, and Nathan Towery. He said the four new deputies graduated at the top of their class.

» Jason Corwin, Mecklenburg County General Registrar, informed supervisors that under new state law, they must hold a public hearing before his office can be relocated since absentee and early voting takes place there. The Voter Registrar’s office cannot change locations after Sept. 15 this year.

Plans are to relocate the registrar’s office from the current site at 439 Madison Street, Boydton to the former Bruce Library Building at 316 Washington Street, Boydton. Carter said the renovations of the Bruce Library building are nearly complete, and expects to be able to move the office to its new headquarters within the next 30 days.

One key improvement that must be finalized ahead of the move involves the construction of a handicapped accessible ramp into the building.

» Inez Arnett-Ferrer, president of the Clarksville AARP chapter, shared concerns about the county’s plans to eliminate roadside dumpsters. She said the construction of a convenience center on Pen Road, coupled with the elimination of road site dumpster sites, would create a hardship for senior citizens who must either travel a further distance to empty their trash or pay a hauling company to remove trash from their home.

Jim Aulisio, vice president of the Clarksville AARP, asked supervisors to consider approving a homestead tax exemption for seniors on fixed incomes. He’s concerned that their taxes could be raised significantly and cause them to be taxed out of their homesteads.

» Glenn Reyes said he attended Monday’s meeting to thank county supervisors for their work. “Someone has to say ‘thank you’ to the board and the school board. You’ve done something that is unbelievable and one of the things that’s been done was to support the removal of the [Confederate soldier] statue” at courthouse square in Boydton.

He also applauded supervisors “for the civility under which you conduct your business. This is unique.”

» Tom Tanner expressed his thanks to Nichols and the school division for helping the Town of South Hill relocate its Picnic at the Park July 2 celebration and Hometown Heroes charity softball game to Park View High School, after heavy rainfall flooded the Parker Park fields where the events were originally scheduled to take place. “You really stepped up for the Town of South Hill on short notice,” said Tanner.

He also thanked county sanitation workers for the hard work they do and their willingness to do the job every day.

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