Opinions

Bike lanes needed

Editor’s note: This letter is in response to one that appeared in the Aug. 18 edition questioning the need for bike lanes on Rt. 53.
Pam [Gregory], surely you jest.
Except for limited access highways, bicycles already have equal rights as cars, buses, and trucks on highways like Rt. 53. Power vehicle operators have an obligation to give bicyclists space. I don’t see how providing designated bike lanes makes travel less safe than now. Rather, it should make everything much safer for everyone. I believe the Board of Supervisors should also request bike lanes on the notoriously dangerous Boston Rd. as well.
By the way, the most dangerous part of Rt. 53, near Monticello in Albemarle County, is actually part of U.S. Bike Route 76 - and does not have a bike lane.
We should be rebuilding all our roads to make them safer for bicyclists. We should be encouraging bicycling as well as other forms of non-motorized travel.

Roger B. Carr
Lake Monticello

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I can surely sympathize with the majority of the Board of Supervisors regarding Supervisor Tony O’Brien’s often quixotic obsession with land use taxation.

Some facts:  per the county’s comprehensive plan, at last count, Fluvanna has more than 31,000 acres in either forest-agricultural districts or under permanent conservation easement.  That is nearly 50 square miles of land and encompasses the vast majority of the “large estates” that Mr. O’Brien claims are somehow “subsidized” by the local taxpayer. Add a comment

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Slow down

I’d like to comment and add to the “Slow Down” entry in a previous issue. Also, my comments are pointed mostly around Riverside gate. I do agree, why are the most expensive and most complicated solutions always on the table first?

But, here are some additional solutions and simple facts.

The distance between the turning vehicle yellow warning sign in both directions is different. Coming up hill going towards (Rt. 600 S) Riverside going 45 mph brings you to the gate entrance in about four seconds. Coming out of the 90-degree curve at Broken Island towards Riverside (Rt. 600 N) at the same speed will bring you to the gate in nine seconds. Think about the results if some cars go 50/55 mph. A lot of yellow warning signs have a speed limit sign below. Not these! Why? A 30 mph speed sign would be appropriate. Fact two; coming out of Riverside the view to the right is blocked 75 percent by two utility poles and blocked to the left by long tree branches hanging. Please get both these removed and make the view safe and easy. Too easy. Finally VDOT could make sleeper lines in the pavement to get driver’s attention or use other warnings maybe painted on the pavement.

These are all simple and cost effective ideas but everybody has to participate. In the meantime, slow down.

U. Schlein, Lake Monticello

Apply to FLDP

My wife and I are relatively new to Fluvanna County. We moved here to retire three years ago, having been attracted by the peaceful and beautiful countryside, the lower cost of living (relative to our former home in New Jersey), and the proximity of all that Charlottesville offers. We’re convinced that we made a great choice.

I was looking for a way to quickly become an informed, participating citizen in our new community. I wanted to know who our key local leaders are, what issues face us, what opportunities are available to us, how the county operates, and how I might make a positive contribution here. I looked into the Fluvanna Leadership Development Program and found that it addressed all of these topics plus a grounding in Fluvanna history. Completing the program was well worth the modest fee and my investment of time.

I’ve encountered many other Fluvanna residents who tell similar stories, but few of them have completed FLDP. Class 14 begins in September; applications are being accepted now. Take a moment to visit the FLDP website at https://fluvannaleadership.com to learn more about this opportunity and consider completing an application.

Charlie White, Palmyra

Thanks Post 2003

I the undersigned wish to express my appreciation to the Fluvanna County American Legion Post 2003 for their continued participation in Lake Monticello events such as the 2016 Fourth of July celebration parade. For those of you who did not watch the parade, the Legion led off the parade carrying the colors of our country, and led the marchers for the entire marcher’s route. Many of our Legionnaires, who were not able to march, also participated by riding in the special vehicles made available for them. Post 2003 has led off the Lake Monticello Fourth of July parades for several years. This Post has also participated in the Lake Monticello Flag Day flag retirement ceremony for several years as well. Fluvanna County American Legion Post 2003 - I salute you.

Vito Addotta, Lake Monticello

 

Volunteers help 600 taxpayers

On behalf of the 14 local volunteers on the Fluvanna AARP tax-aide team, I want to express our appreciation to Fluvanna County and the taxpayers who used our tax preparation services in 2015. AARP initiated this program nationally over 10 years ago to serve low and moderate income ($80,000) taxpayers of all ages.  Since then it has grown in size and popularity.  Last year we helped over 2.6 million taxpayers nationally receive over $1.3 billion in refunds and are the nation’s largest, free, volunteer-run tax preparation service.

Fluvanna County has generously allowed us to use the library’s conference room for the last seven years.  It is a convenient place for taxpayers to have their returns prepared.  In addition, the county has enabled us to promptly submit those returns to the IRS and Virginia Department of Taxation using the library’s internet service.  We want to thank in particular county Librarian Cyndi Hoffman and her staff, who were so accommodating.

Starting Feb. 1, taxpayers from Fluvanna and neighboring counties brought in their information and allowed us to prepare their federal and state returns.  By the end of tax season we helped over 600 taxpayers file returns and claim over $650,000 in refunds.  These local taxpayers also likely avoided paying over $100,000 in return preparation fees.

We know that the demand for our help exceeded our ability to serve everyone, but we were limited by the number of local volunteers.  In addition to our scheduler, our team consisted of three greeters and 10 certified tax counselors that volunteered up to 15 hours each week between Feb. 1 and April 18.  To expand our service, we need more volunteers.   To become certified as a tax counselor, volunteers must attend classes in the Fall and pass IRS tax preparation exams using IRS software.

It’s simple, the more volunteers we have, the more taxpayers we can serve in our community.  Please let me know if you are interested in being a greeter or counselor for next year.  You will be making a difference in people’s lives.

Richard Payne, Fluvanna tax-aide coordinator

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Dredging thoughts

Based on information received, Lake Monticello was about 10 years behind when the dredging program began and substantial progress has been made rectifying that situation but there is still work to do. It has been estimated to take three years for a complete circuit around the lake, clearing out the shorelines. Looking into the future, as other actions are taken, such as the underwater best management process projects being planned at the head of the coves and those slowing the flow of debris further upstream, the amount of silt coming into the lake will diminish, thus providing some relief from the inflow of debris, even though never completely eliminating the need for dredging.

That brings me to wondering why it has been deemed as necessary to make a function that will have a diminishing need more productive. It will always take three years to make the circuit around the shores of the lake as long as we have one barge. The amount of time savings being argued in favor of another offload adjacent to Beach 2 will not put a dent in that fact, and even if it did, for what purpose? What would be the stated purpose of cutting the circuit time for going completely around the lake from 36 months to let's say 30 months as long as we are staying ahead of the silt inflows and consistently making progress to lake restoration? It is a job that never ends and with the other management processes being implemented it seems we can easily stay ahead of the need for dredging and may even get to the point that it is no longer an ongoing full-time job.

Trying to increase the productivity of the dredging operation is like trying to get those people that maintain the Golden Gate Bridge to paint faster. That bridge has constantly been painted and repainted since the day it was constructed and that process will continue forevermore. The only difference between the Golden Gate Bridge and our dredging operation is they may be able to benefit from a cost savings of less people, but we only have one person doing the dredging work. As long as progress is being made who really cares if it takes three years to go around the entire shoreline or a few months less? It makes no sense in that it is just a race against no stated objectives because there is no strategic purpose that is not already being accomplished.

–Robert Harris, Palmyra

Reject bulkhead idea

The Lake Monticello Board President recently offered a parsed response to growing community concerns about plans to install a cement dredging bulkhead next to Beach 2.  I thought his answers were gratuitously dismissive.

I don't live at the cove leading to that beach nor do I personally know anyone who does.  But they're my neighbors nonetheless.  I care about their safety concerns.  And I particularly care too that a pristine, tree-lined area immediately adjacent to Beach 2, in full view of beachgoers, boaters and nearby waterfront residents, will forever be lost and become a needless eyesore.  The Board president didn't address that issue.

Dredging is important, and the system here is manpower intensive.  But it would help if the dredging operator worked a full 40-hour week throughout the year, weather permitting.  He does not.  Then so be it that dredging processes take longer.  I believe that if our community was queried as we were prior to the very successful R & R Project that will benefit all of us, that the majority of residents would reject the Beach 2 bulkhead idea.

–Charles Domroe, Palmyra

Clown project

If you live in Lake Monticello and you've heard of the Beach 2 fiasco, and you want to know what is going on, drive over to Beach 4. Look over to the left. That is the silt transfer station with the concrete bulkhead, barge and dump truck. Look across the wide cove. It seems like most of the houses prefer the heavy tree screening to the view across the cove.

Then turn around and drive to Tufton Lake. This is the route of the dump truck that transports the silt and debris to the spoils site. It's a short drive, only 1.4 miles. Pretty simple and it only takes 4 - 5 minutes.

Now swing around and take a right on Jefferson Drive. You are now driving the dump truck route to Beach 2. The proposed and absolutely unnecessary second silt transfer site. Imagine you are driving a very large dump truck loaded with sloppy silt and debris all the way (4.4 miles) along the steep winding hills. Imagine at the Barret St. stop sign, the watery silt leaking out the back. Drive past the tricky intersections with Turkeysag Tr. and Slice Gate Rd. In the golf course area, look out for golf carts crossing the road.

Take a left on Colonial Rd. and follow the signs to Beach 2. That was a pretty long 13 minute drive.

Once you get there, enjoy the beautiful serenity of the place. Look across the small cove to the houses that enjoy the view. There is no tree screening there. The beach is considered by most to be the most beautiful of all the lake beaches. Look to your right at the tranquil end of the cove. That shallow peaceful area was considered prime breeding area for Bluegill and other fish and aquatic life. Not now, it has been ruined because they have dropped the depth from 6-12 inches to 5-6 feet. in order to facilitate the maneuvering of the loaded barge.

Visualize the concrete bulkhead, the barge and the dump truck, which will be just to the right of the beach. It should be dangerous to beach goers when the truck is backing in or out.

There is no benefit from this project, but it is going to cost us $85,000.

I can imagine perhaps, as you sit there, what you would be thinking, saying to yourself, maybe out loud – this is a clown project bro. Whose cockamamie idea is this? It’s the board’s idea bro.

–Tom Ellis, Lake Monticello

Rotary endowment starts ninth year

The Rose Deborah Altschull Endowment For Youth is launching its ninth annual "Bright Start For Kids" program and its fourth annual "Shoes For Success" program and wants your help.   Both programs are designed to help less fortunate elementary age school children in the Fluvanna area to have confidence and get the most they can out of their upcoming school year.

The bright start program provides 60 children with all the back-to-school necessities stuffed into brand new backpacks that are packed by Rotarians and delivered to Central Elementary School just before the school opening in early August.

The shoes program allows 80 deserving elementary age school children to come with their parents or guardians to the Walmart at Zion Crossroads and pick out their very own new pair of shoes.  This year the kids will be invited to the store on Aug. 2 for their shopping event.

The endowment was started on April 2, 2008 and has shown a steady growth pattern from day one.  We now have over 436 different donors and many of those have contributed multiple times.  This year we have already provided $1,000 for a special reading program at the elementary school that allowed over 60 children to go through a five-week session in June and July to improve their reading skills in preparation for this year’s school start.   We also provided funding to send six children to the 4H sleep away camp at Camp Holiday in Brunswick County in the month of June.

If you are moved to help us in our mission to help sponsor a child heading back to school we would really appreciate your contributions in any amount. To pay for a "stuffed backpack" a donation of $50 will cover the entire cost.  To pay for a new pair of shoes a donation of $20 will send a child dancing back to school in style.   The endowment is a part of and managed by the Rotary Foundation Of Fluvanna County.  All donations are 100 percent tax deductible.   Therefore contributions should be written to "The Rotary Foundation Of Fluvanna County Virginia" with a note in the memo section of the check to direct the donation to "The Rose Deborah Altschull Endowment For Youth."   The mailing address is:  Rotary Club Of Fluvanna County, 265 Turkeysag Tr., Suite 102, Box 114, Palmyra, Virginia 22963.

–Cliff Altschull, Palmyra

 

 

 

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Slow down

I do not understand why municipalities and the Department of Motor Vehicles always come up with the most expensive solutions.  Here's one that won't cost much: slow down.  The speed limit within Palmyra is 35 miles per hour (mph). The amount of traffic that goes in and out of Turkeysag at Lake Monticello far exceeds that which turns left or right off of Rt.15 in Palmyra, yet the speed limit on Rt.53 is 55 mph – why?

Here are some solutions that are inexpensive: (1) on South Boston, from Rt. 618 to Broken Island, make it 35 mph (this will make it safer for folks exiting and entering Riverside and safer around all those curves); and (2) on Rt. 53, from Rt. 618 to Turkeysag also make it 35 mph (this will make it safer for folks entering/exiting at Tufton and a whole lot safer for folks at Turkeysag).

We won't need turn lanes and just think of the revenue possibilities from those folks who refuse to obey the lower limits.  You may grumble, but if we're talking about making our roads safer, we don't have to spend millions of dollars, we just have to slow down.

Carol Parsons, Lake Monticello


Safety concerns

The safety of Lake Monticello residents has lately been either ignored or dismissed in terms of our roads, entrances and one of our beaches.  The Lake Monticello Owners' Association (LMOA) plan to build a dredger bulkhead at Beach 2 is misguided and dangerous. Barge transits though the narrow channels around the beach would be near a popular swimming area. Environmental concerns for loss of water habitats should also be considered. But why force spoils trucks to drive through additional residential streets and navigate a steep incline?

On the subject of trucks, I'm not sure if LMOA has established a real policy on trucks delivering building equipment and material to the new Bunker recreational building at the golf course or not. If a policy is now in effect, is it being enforced by instructing all vendors to enter at the Fairway Gate on Slice Road?

Finally, the Fluvanna Review's article on July 7 examining the addition of a left turn lane at the Tufton Gate entrance on Rt. 53 failed to mention an important fact. In September of 2009 LMOA purchased a lot on Jefferson Drive opposite Lafayette Drive for the express purpose of installing an entrance that would connect to Rt. 618. Under the guidance of Gene Ott, a member of the Fluvanna County Board of Supervisors at that time, it was determined that adding this entrance would alleviate much of the traffic at Tufton Gate for residents in Sections 2 and 5 heading west on Rt. 53.  VDOT was enthusiastic with their endorsement of this project. If the cost of purchasing land on Rt. 53 for a left turn lane is prohibitive, why not pursue a much more affordable alternative?

Here's another way to look at these issues. Just three years ago LMOA sponsored and organized a yearly weekend of resident yard sales. Maps and signs were provided. The entire plan was scrapped because of safety issues and possible lawsuits. If residents parking on neighborhood streets was deemed unsafe, how can LMOA justify ignoring the concerns of residents in regard to tractor trailers, spoils trucks and dredging barges?

Julius Neelley, Lake Monticello

 


Tired of footing the bill

One lesson from both Democrats and Republicans in the recent presidential primary season: we the people are tired of watching business reap financial rewards while we foot the bill. One message about taxes from our country’s current president: business should pay a little more so ordinary folks can pay a little less.

Fluvanna supervisors did not learn the lesson. They did not get the message.

Our county’s supervisors currently are considering measures that would reduce certain taxes, notably the personal property tax, on businesses. The offset, of course, will be that we who support the county with real estate taxes will pay more.

Supervisor Tony O’Brien ran for office on a promise to increase business contributions to our revenue base, thereby reducing taxes for the rest of us. Yet he leads the effort to cut business taxes. He also advocates reducing land use tax abatement, a move which could hit many ordinary folks hard.

Mozell Booker calls herself a Democrat but strongly supports these business tax cuts based on trickle-down Reaganomics. Patricia Eager and Mike Sheridan are consistent in their support of breaks for business. Reducing personal property tax on business was the most visible promise of Sheridan’s campaign.

Only Don Weaver, a self-described conservative, sides with ordinary folks on taxes. His populist stand against tax cuts for businesses in Fluvanna is refreshing.

Already, our Board of Supervisors has committed millions of dollars to business through expensive water systems that hold little possibility of tax relief for ordinary citizens. Now supervisors want to cut business taxes, including those that would help offset profligate water line spending.

It’s time for our supervisors to study the lesson. Maybe, somehow, they will get the message.

Dennis Holder, Kents Store


Thanks from Vest family

We write with grateful appreciation to family, friends, Fluvanna Fire and Rescue, Fluvanna County Public School students and employees, and local churches.

“In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”
 (I Thessalonians 5:18)

In the midst of our sadness, our hearts are overflowing with joy at the love and kindness you have shown.  Your outpouring of support to our family throughout George’s illness and his passing has been gratefully appreciated.  You have touched our hearts providing much needed comfort.  Your thoughts and actions continue to show that there are caring people surrounding us.

Many thanks and blessing to you in your daily lives.  Grace be with you all as God continues to keep you in his care.

With grateful appreciation and much love...

The family of George Jones Vest – Gloria, Jana, and Cameron (Na’)

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