Supervisors vote


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.”

After learning of the lawsuits, supervisors obtained outside legal counsel to add to the advice they received from County Attorney Fred Payne. “We engaged a specialized firm to look at the broad range of contractual and constitutional aspects of the project agreement,” Weaver said. “I can tell you that the information and opinions presented…were strongly worded and compelling.”

Looking at about 40 citizens gathered in the audience, Weaver said, “Did you ever not want to do something but you had to do it?… That’s where I am tonight… I cannot stick my head in the sand. I cannot cut off my nose to spite my face. I have to go beyond what I want and what I feel – I have to do what I think is best for this county… When the votes are ready and the people have spoken I will make the decision that will, in my opinion, do less damage to the county than what it would do otherwise.”

Supervisor Trish Eager felt similarly pained by her vote. “We’re being counseled that this is real. [The lawsuits] could potentially cost the citizens a lot of money, and yet no water in return,” she said. “I’m going to work really hard to make sure it doesn’t ever happen again to the county and its citizens. I am sorry that we are checkmated. I really think that we have no choice here.”

But not all supervisors were chagrined. “I’m not particularly a fan of putting this [intake station] on the Point of Fork, but we also have an obligation to all of the taxpayers in Fluvanna, and to the decisions that were made prior to this point,” said Supervisor Tony O’Brien. “I think a lot of good will come out of this decision… We’re not doing this just out of fear. You can either spend your dollars fighting a lawsuit or you can spend your dollars moving forward. To me that’s a pretty obvious choice.”

After the vote, Supervisor Mozell Booker spoke passionately about how long Fluvanna has been struggling with water decisions. “When will we ever learn that we cannot continue to put things off until later on?” she said. “Look how many times we have been bitten by those decisions that, when they come back up, are twice as much as what we could have spent… We have turned the course after 30-some years. I can’t be anything but elated.”

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