Fluvanna Review

Candidates Page Gifford, Dick Cummings and Charles Harrelson stood at the meeting where election results were announced. Charles Harrelson and Dick Cummings were elected as directors of the Lake Monticello Owners’ Association, the LMOA announced Saturday (June 30).

The LMOA oversees the huge Lake Monticello subdivision in Fluvanna County.

Harrelson, a retired businessman, garnered 811 votes. Cummings, a retired CPA, got 810 votes. Page Gifford, a freelance writer and community volunteer, received 430 votes.

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Leslie, Christy and George Cushnie enjoy their new tasting room. Photo by O.T. Holen.Fluvanna’s only winery is growing more than grapes.

Thistle Gate owners George and Leslie Cushnie have opened a tasting room, though the official grand opening is scheduled for early October.

 

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Lake Monticello Owners’ Association (LMOA) has taken a position in opposition to the application by Aqua Virginia to increase its water and sewer rates. In November 2011, Aqua Virginia filed with the Virginia State Corporation Commission (SCC) for a statewide increase averaging 9.9%. The increase for Lake Monticello residents would be more than 13% for water and more than 11% for sewer. The application comes just months after Aqua Virginia attempted to impose ownership of grinder pumps onto homeowners. Aqua Virginia‘s last rate increase was approved in October 2010.

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Fluvanna County Board of Supervisors.  Photo by Tricia JohnsonAfter hours of debate, apologies, and passionate speeches from the public, the Fluvanna County Board of Supervisors reversed its position on the James River water project by unanimously voting Wednesday night (Jan. 20) to approve the two special use permits associated with the project.
In doing so, supervisors may have freed Fluvanna from two lawsuits – one for $40 million – that hinge upon the Board’s Dec. 2 denial of the two permits.
When asked if the lawsuits would be dropped, Mike Lockaby, Louisa county attorney for the James River water project, said that while he needed to confer with Louisa County Administrator Christian Goodwin before making any decisions, he believed Louisa had gotten what it wanted when Fluvanna supervisors passed the permits.
Chairman Mike Sheridan was absent for health reasons. Because a 2-2 vote fails, three supervisors needed to support the permits in order for them to pass. Supervisor Don Weaver voted against them on Dec. 2, and new Supervisor Trish Eager voted against them while she was on the Planning Commission.
But all four supervisors voted for both permits – two after delivering heart-felt apologies to Fluvanna residents.
“The decision here tonight was made two years ago,” said Supervisor Don Weaver, referring to the 2013 interjurisdictional agreement approved by the Board – but not by Weaver – that bound Fluvanna to passing the zoning for the James River water project. “It seems like you the people never really get listened to.”
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Employees of Timmons and Falconer and Mike Lockaby, Louisa county attorney,  for the James River water project (far left) listened attentively to Fluvanna County Attorney Fred Payne. Photo by Tricia JohnsonMost of the 23 residents who spoke at the James River water project public hearings Wednesday night (Jan. 20) urged the Fluvanna County Board of Supervisors to deny one or both of the zoning permits.
“I don’t know what in the world I’m going to say to you folks that would make any difference to you tonight,” said Barbara Seay, whose Point of Fork land was one of the two spots supervisors were considering for the project’s intake station. “How do you dare to sit here and talk about this piece of property like you already own it?”
Elizabeth Franklin drew attention to the James River project’s “external costs,” which she called “colossal.” The Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) permit for the project requires Fluvanna to have capital infrastructure, such as pipes and treatment plants, in place by 2023 to serve Palmyra, Fork Union and Columbia with treated water, she said. “We won’t have the option of waiting to use this water when we have the customers or when we can afford it,” she said.
After the meeting County Administrator Steve Nichols said Franklin’s reading of the permit was incorrect. Rather, he said, “the permit is based on the projection of what we plan to do. If conditions call for it that may be what we do, but if they don’t we may not. Everything is in flux during the period of the permit. DEQ permits are based on the 15-year water supply plans that all counties are required to have. If we got to 2023 and our sewage needs didn’t mandate the need for a plant, we wouldn’t have to do that.”
Dennis Holder said that the county was obligated to deny the permits, given that he thought they would violate the interjurisdictional agreement signed by Fluvanna in 2013. The pipeline’s proposed route intersects Rt. 6 at a spot inside the Columbia community planning area, rather than at a location “west or north” of that area, as the agreement specifies. Both permit applications are therefore defective, Holder said, and invalidate the lawsuits against Fluvanna.

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