Fairchild, Hamshar run for Weaver’s seat on the BOS

By Heather Michon

Cunningham Supervisor Donald Weaver has decided not to seek reelection in November, opening up his seat for the first time in over two decades. Two candidates are vying to fill Weaver’s seat: National Filter CEO Chris Fairchild, and write-in candidate Jason Hamshar. Learn more about their positions on the issues facing Fluvanna County in this short Q&A:

For those that don’t know you yet — tell us a little about yourself and why you’re running for Board of Supervisors?

Chris Fairchild: Having grown up in Fluvanna, I’ve always wanted to help ensure my children, and now my grandchildren, get the chance to experience the lifestyle I have.

Jason Hamshar:  I am a Fluco class of ‘91. I’m also a veteran of the Army and father of five amazing kids. I’ve been a volunteer locally for youth sports for over a decade with Scottsville and Fluvanna baseball and Fluvanna youth football.  I’ve never run for office before but I’m guided by a “get your hands dirty and get it done work” ethic and love for my community.  I think that a working person’s perspective about budgets and priorities are needed especially when you are spending others’ hard earned money.

What do you believe to be the most important issue facing Fluvanna County today?

Chris Fairchild: Growth – I want to help preserve our rural character, to have a voice in ensuring the pressures of growth don’t change our community into what many have come here to get away from. We need economic development, while it needs to be sensible economic development, promoting business growth that truly has an impact on cost of living and jobs, while complimenting Fluvanna’s rural environment. If we’ll preserve Fluvanna’s rural character, while attracting businesses that fit our needs, we’ll control our cost of living while protecting our rare, wonderful quality of life.

Jason Hamshar: I believe that the most important issues in Fluvanna are job opportunities along with housing costs and availability.  There are many places in Fluvanna that residents routinely drive nearly an hour or more to find work.   And with that there are expenses that eat away from any monies that are made making everything harder to afford such as a home, transportation and food.   We need to seek out opportunities for our community to not only live here but thrive here by courting businesses to come to our beautiful county.

In the most recent Residents Survey, only 19% of respondents said Fluvanna was a good place to run a business and only 29% said it was a good place to work. As supervisor, how would you work to promote economic growth in the county?

Chris Fairchild: While serving as chair of Fluvanna’s Economic Development Commission I found that Fluvanna is not only more open to, but anxious for growth, than many realize. We have restaurant and retail centers and consumer wants and needs, the free market, will decide when and where more is needed.

Regarding larger businesses, we need economic development in Zion Crossroads, where the new waterline will soon be operational. When comparing to the “Louisa’s side” of I-64 it’s important to note that Fluvanna has no side of I-64. The Fluvanna County line starts .9 miles away from I-64, on the Palmyra side of Rt. 250. This means that while we’re investing in and working to attract economic development to that area, the timing of our growth and the type, might not look like theirs.

Jason Hamshar: To facilitate jobs and growth, we must try to figure out what we can do to attract good quality employers to the county.   We need real jobs that have a future and can help not just the employees but the whole county.  When you have a sustainable workforce and jobs for them everyone benefits.

Residents have voiced concerns about large housing developments or zoning changes allowing greater population density. How do we balance the need for population growth and greater housing choices with the desire to keep Fluvanna’s rural character?  

Chris Fairchild: Although it is inevitable and to a controlled extent welcome, I’m not sure there is a “need for population growth.” Fluvanna staff recently proposed raising our R-4 (multifamily) zoning density from a maximum of 2.9 dwelling units per acre to a maximum of 5.5 dwelling units per acre, a 90 percent increase. The term “workforce housing” was used, explaining that to attract more and larger businesses, we now will need more people. As a rule in Fluvanna and most places, homes raise taxes due to the need for more schools, emergency services etc. So we’ve always known we need more businesses to help subsidize homes and people, yet now we need more people, to attract businesses growth?

Jason Hamshar: Growth is inevitable and good for the future of Fluvanna.   We have a beautiful county and need to be very careful about this issue and make sure that our community grows along with the infrastructure to support it, without having the county become more sprawl and congestion seen elsewhere.

Building a more just and equitable society has been a major part of our national — and local — conversation in recent years. How can Fluvanna County achieve greater racial equity?

Chris Fairchild: With no examples given to speak to, I will say that I have always found Fluvanna to be a cohesive community, where differences seem to be less relevant than we’ve recently seen in other places. We are wonderfully diverse in race, where we’re from, our experiences etc. Of course, if any person or group is denied equality and its within our local government’s authority to address we must, as it seems we have been.

Jason Hamshar:  I believe that you limit yourself when you’re looking to single out another person, whether it’s having a D or  R before their name, your race or any other of the many boxes people put us in. I will be working for everyone not just in the Cunningham district but every single person who calls Fluvanna home.

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