Louisa reacts

“Fluvanna’s attorney [Fred Payne] counseled the Board in open session that the agreement between the two counties obligated the Fluvanna Board to approve the permits.  If financing or water needs were the basis for their concerns, those should have been addressed prior to their entering in the agreement.  Those concerns have no bearing on the issuance of these permits,” stated Mike Lockaby, Louisa’s attorney for the water project.

Whether Louisa will sue Fluvanna is something that Louisa County Administrator Christian Goodwin declined to confirm or deny.  “We’d like the chance to get together with our Board [of Supervisors] before we decide to do anything,” he told the Fluvanna Review.  “That’s something we need to talk about at the next Board meeting.”  Louisa’s next Board meeting will take place on Monday (Dec. 7).

Fluvanna and Louisa joined together to form the James River Water Authority (JRWA), which petitioned Fluvanna supervisors Wednesday night to allow for a raw water system on the Point of Fork to withdraw water from the James River to “bring a sustainable supply of water to both counties,” according to the release.  The Louisa County Water Authority also requested the Fluvanna Board to approve a special use permit for construction of a raw water pipeline through Fluvanna to Louisa.  Both requests failed with votes of 2-2.  Supervisors Mozell Booker and Tony O’Brien voted to pass the permits and Supervisors Don Weaver and Bob Ullenbruch voted against them. Supervisor Mike Sheridan was absent for health reasons.

“I’m disappointed, to say the least,” said Louisa Board Chairman Tommy Barlow about Fluvanna’s vote, according to the release. “Louisa has maintained an open, willing, and transparent effort to complete this project with Fluvanna as set forth in the agreements between our jurisdictions over the past few years.  It’s unfortunate that Fluvanna’s Board did not honor their commitment to the project.”

In 2013 Fluvanna supervisors signed an interjurisdictional agreement with Louisa County, the JRWA, and the LCWA to execute the James River water projects.  The agreement specified that Fluvanna would take all steps necessary to make sure the projects were approved in the county’s zoning ordinances.  By denying the special use permits, Fluvanna supervisors may have given Louisa grounds to sue.

“It’s unfortunate, but we’ll continue to evaluate options,” said Goodwin, according to the release. “Our Board intends to capitalize on the proven capability of infrastructure investment to foster economic growth and create jobs.  There is a strong potential for both counties to reap these benefits from the James River water project, but last night’s vote indicates that some in Fluvanna may not share this vision.”

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