Fluvanna Review

Lake Monticello Police Chief Thomas BoisvertLake Monticello Owners Association meetings have taken on a different flair under Valerie Palamountain’s leadership.

Palamountain now has each department head reporting to the Board at the monthly meeting and that includes crime statistics from Lake Police Chief Thomas Boisvert.
“I introduced it – asking police, maintenance, and finance to make the reports,” Palamountain said. “(General Manager) CatherIne  Neelley will give reports on the big things. It makes for a more open board.”

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A small crowd gathered at the Board of Supervisors meeting Wednesday night (July 16) to watch supervisors debate the newest iteration of the Walker’s Ridge development – known as Poplar Ridge. But the tension – and most of the people – disappeared from the room when Chairperson Mozell Booker announced the Board’s decision to postpone the matter to another night.
Poplar Ridge, which would be located off of Rt. 644 near Palmyra, would have 317 single-family housing units and a maximum of 74,000 square feet of commercial space. When the Planning Commission discussed the matter on June 25, it unanimously recommended denial based partially on the concern that not enough groundwater exists to support the development.
The day of the supervisors’ meeting the Board received word that Fluvanna County staff now believes that there may be enough groundwater for the 317 homes. But without ample time for supervisors, the developer, or the public to assimilate the information, supervisors felt that deferral was the fairest course of action.
“You need to know everything that we know when we make decisions so that you can make comments in relationship to everything we have,” Booker told the approximately 60 citizens gathered for the public hearing.
“This is too important an issue – whether it’s turned down or whether it’s approved – to not do right,” Supervisor Bob Ullenbruch agreed. “We want to make sure things are done correctly. Unfortunately, it can’t be done in a matter of a couple of hours.”
So with apologies to the public for the inconvenience, supervisors deferred the issue to their Aug. 6 meeting.
Next on the docket was a presentation from Sheriff Eric Hess, who requested an additional school resource officer for the middle and elementary schools to share. Currently the county only has one school resource officer at the high school.
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Sage Garden owners Roberta and John Mann and their golden retriever Tara.The proposal. It’s one of those family stories their now grown children have heard countless times. John and Roberta attended the same high school in New Jersey, but never met until they ran into each other in Colorado several years later. They started dating and discovered how much they had in common. When John felt it was time to pop the big question, Roberta had a question for him.

“Yes, but only if we live on a farm,” she replied. “I’m going back East to be closer to my family, and I’m going to buy a farm. Are you on board?”

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Columbia Mayor John Hammond  answered questions during the town meeting held on July 15. Photo by Tricia JohnsonThe vote to decide whether Columbia drops its designation as a town will be a historic and difficult one.
Mayor John Hammond called the responsibility for the process a “heavy load” during a sometimes contentious town meeting held July 15 to discuss dissolving the town’s charter for financial reasons.
Former Columbia Mayor Lizz Lane echoed Hammond’s thought.
She said that the town has had a town council and mayor since 1788, and “Washington wasn’t even inaugurated until 1789.” But she also expressed her support for the move to disincorporate the town. Lane said it’s important to honor Columbia’s history, but not when it is to the detriment of the community. Columbia has recently been identified by Preservation Virginia as one of Virginia’s most endangered historic sites.
Other residents - most of them former town council members - also expressed their support for dissolving the town’s charter.
Hammond also assured residents that the Fluvanna Historical Society would work with the town to preserve its history.
Should the issue of disincorporation make it to the ballot in November, Columbia residents themselves will decide with their votes whether or not Columbia remains a town, or becomes another community in Fluvanna County.
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Photo by Tricia JohnsonFor the first time, the James River Expedition – whose mission is to create an educational adventure for area students – landed in Bremo Bluff on July 18.
The students are learning about the river’s history.
A total of 30 students from 17 high schools are participating in one of three, eight-day segments, collectively traveling the entire 340 miles of the James River. Students, teachers, and James River Association (JRA) staff are traveling aboard canoes, bateaux, rafts and work boats and camping on the river’s banks in the evening, as they learn about the river’s importance.
Students participate in water quality testing, macro-invertebrate sampling, and wildlife identification. They also take tours of farms, industrial facilities, power stations and wastewater treatment facilities. Special presentations are given by experts on the river’s ecology and history.
At Bremo Bluff, students toured the Bremo Power Station, which was recently converted to a natural gas burning facility. Natural gas is considered a cleaner source of energy than coal, which the station formerly used. Students also took advantage of “real” bathrooms inside the power plant and appreciated a lunch of pizza, which is, as one Dominion employee said with a grin, “ordinarily their primary food source.”
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