Board of Supervisors 09.09.08


Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Present: Mr. Allen Hale, Mr. Tommy Bruguiere, Ms. Connie Brennan and
Mr. Joe Dan Johnson

Absent: Mr. Tommy Harvey

BOARD OF EQUALIZATION – Mr. Johnny Ponton gave the BOE’s final report,
noting that that Board had heard 286 real estate reassessment appeals of
which 187 were affirmed, 99 were decreased and 3 were increased.  The BOE
reviewed the assessed values for over 3,000 properties or approximately 20%
of the parcels in the county.  The number of appeals represented a 540%
increase over the previous reassessment (2003).  Mr. Ponton reported the
BOE’s recommendations for future reassessments, including development of
additional tax relief programs for those facing economic hardship; public
clarification and information of the reassessment and appeals process; and a
review of policies and procedures related to the county’s Land Use Program.
Supervisors agreed to discuss the issue further at a Board Retreat.

JAUNT ANNUAL REPORT – Ms. Donna Shaunesey, Executive Director, reported that
public ridership increased by 2% with the Piney River route increasing by
11%.  She noted that 64% of the riders are adults, 36% are seniors and 45%
are people of all ages with disabilities.  Ms. Shaunesey reviewed several
programs under development and several future initiatives for Nelson.

VDOT REPORT – Mr. Kevin Wright reported that work has begun on the Chapel
Hollow/Pounding Branch (Rt. 709) Rural Rustic Project.  He also reported
that design work on the Rt. 151 turn lanes for Rt. 635 is tentatively
scheduled to begin in May, 2009 with construction scheduled for May, 2010.

AFFORDABLE HOUSING – Mr. George Krieger, Nelson County Community Development
Foundation (NCCDF), reported on the organization’s use of funding awarded to
the county for development of affordable housing.  Supervisors then voted
4-0 to institute two affordable housing initiatives:

– Waive tipping fees at the county transfer station for debris generated
from demolition of substandard housing as part of rehabilitation projects
(estimated cost to county $2,500).
– Defer for 24-months the connection fees (not installation charges) to
county-operated water and sewer systems on NCCDF-owned property (costs to
county offset by increased user base and increased taxable real estate).

BLUE RIDGE TUNNEL – Supervisors voted 4-0 to adopt a resolution authorizing
the County Administrator to proceed with the next phase of professional
services provided by Spectrum Design, P.C. including the final design.  Mr.
Carter noted that there are VDOT Enhancement funds to pay for this phase of
the project but that securing funding for the actual construction will be
the challenge.

REZONING/MS. LINDA CATALANO – Mr. Boger reported that the applicant has
applied to rezone approximately 10 acres (original request was to rezone 33
acres) from Industrial (M-2) to Agricultural (A-1) to allow a family member
to build a house.  Supervisors voted 4-0 to approve the rezoning.

COURTHOUSE PROJECT – Supervisors voted 4-0 to approve a resolution approving
the final design, authorizing advertisement and receipt of construction bids
and authorizing staff to proceed with the necessary steps to provide funding
for the project.

that, at the county’s request, he had visited the current dumpster site on
Rt. 617 (Rockfish River Road) to evaluate the possibilities for its use as a
permanent collection site.  He noted two immediately apparent problems with
the site – the Hardwick Cemetery (approximately 20′ in diameter) in the
middle of the site and a 40-60′ elevation drop on the site.  He said that
his initial opinion is that is will be an expensive site to develop.  Mr.
Saunders presented several potential layouts for the collection site.  Mr.
Bruguiere asked whether digging at the site is going to hit rock.  Mr.
Saunders said that anytime you have slopes like those on the site, you are
probably going to have rock.  Mr. Johnson asked whether Mr. Saunders was
saying the site was not suitable.  Mr. Saunders said that the other sites
considered are better suited but that the site could be made to work.  Mr.
Hale agreed, saying that additional site testing is needed.  Mr. Saunders
said that the next step would be to get drilling equipment to the site.

Mr. Hale reported that he had looked at another potential site of 8.41 acres
near the intersection of Rt. 670 and Rt. 620 across from Rock Spring Church,
but noted that the asking price is $225,000.  He reported that he and Mr.
Harvey met with the Cove Valley members last week with their members taking
no action on the county’s request.  He said that he does not believe that
property will be made available, although he noted that Mr. Harvey does
believe it could be an option.  Mr. Johnson said that he would like to see
further investigation of the Schuyler property and that he has no problem
with moving on the parcel that the county put an offer on on Bunny Lane.
Mr. Hale said that he does have a problem with the Bunny Lane property with
the traffic coming off Rt. 6.  He said that he thinks the county should do
the additional testing on the Schuyler property.  Ms. Brennan said that she
has problems with the Schuyler site and that having a road going around a
cemetery concerns her.  Mr. Hale noted that Mr. Harvey has made it clear
that he is opposed to the Schuyler site.  Supervisors agreed by consensus to
direct staff to develop a potential site layout for the Schuyler site and do
the soil borings based on that layout.

COUNTY ADMINISTRATOR’S REPORT – Mr. Carter reported on the following:

– Hightop Tower Project – pending receipt of a decision from The Nature
– Biosolids – DEQ has received applications for four sites, totaling 572.1
acres, with the Synagro as the applicator.  The applications were deemed
incomplete and returned by DEQ.  Staff is working to complete an agreement
with Professor David Orvos of Sweetbriar College for service as the county’s
biosolids monitor.
– 2008 General Reassessment – The completion of the appeal hearings by the
BOE resulted in a net change of total values of $2,665,300 or $14,659.15 in

With no public comment, Supervisors voted 4-0 to amend the code to allow 16-
and 17-year olds to receive training and certification as firefighters.  Mr.
Eddie Embrey, Chair, Emergency Service Council reported that the amendment
would allow for the training and preparation of young people so that when
they turn 18, they are ready to go in firefighting.  He said that those
under 18 would not be allowed to go into burning buildings or work traffic
at an accident scene and that each department’s bylaws would govern all
other activities for Junior Firefighters.

REZONING/MR. JEFF COFFEY & MS. TERESA NAGY – Mr. Boger reported that the
applicants have requested a rezoning of approximately 3 acres located at
2910 Patrick Henry Highway from Industrial/Floodplain (M-2) to
Business/Floodplain (B-1) to allow the renovation of the American Cyanamid
office building for apartments and other B-1 uses.  With no public comment,
Supervisors voted 4-0 to approve the rezoning.

reported that the applicant has applied for a permit to construct a 130-foot
metal tower with three flush-mounted antennas at 5016 Rockfish Valley
Highway across from the Rockfish Presbyterian Church.  He noted that the
proposed site is 215 feet from Rockfish Valley Highway in a wooded area.
Mr. Boger reported that the application includes a requested waiver to the
landscaping requirement as the site is in a wooded area and a requested
exception to Section 20-7-2e which prohibits a metal tower within the
viewshed of a Scenic Byway.  In addition, he noted that the county’s
consultant (Atlantic Group) had confirmed the data and site selection for
the tower.

Ms. Valerie Long, representing the applicant, presented photos of the site
and the balloon tests, noting that the balloon was not visible from
adjoining properties or from across the road at the church or garden center.
She said that it is, however, visible for about 1/10 of a mile when
approaching the site on Rt. 151 from the south.  Ms. Long reported that
nTelos had searched for another suitable site, both before the Planning
Commission review and again at the Commission’s request.  She said that
available property that would achieve the coverage needed was not found.

During the Public Hearing, MS. LAURA BURROWS said that she is opposed to the
tower.  She said that driving Rt. 151 safely is difficult without people
distracted using their cell phones.  She said that no one has seen the
year-round view of the tower since the leaves were on the trees during the
balloon testing.  Ms. Burrows said that a 130-foot tower should not be
approved on a scenic byway.
MS. KELLY KAHLE, owner of the nursery across Rt. 151 from the proposed site,
said that she had altered her business plan to fit the rural character of
the county and if she has to comply with county ordinances, so should a big,
out-of-county business.  She said that her main concern were adverse health
effects.  Ms. Kahle said that Rt. 151 is a Scenic Byway and should be
protected as such.
MR. BILLY SMITH, adjoining property owner, said that he is opposed as it
would be spot zoning.
MR. LARRY WHITAKER, Afton, asked the county to maintain their low-profile
standards for towers and not start changing the rules now.
MS. JUDY BARNES, Afton, said that she owns a 122-acre farm in the area and
lives there full-time.  She said that she moved to Nelson for the “beauty
and unspoiledness” and will never be able to sell recoup her investment as
no one will want to buy land so close to a cell tower.
MR. CURTIS SHEETS, Wintergreen, noted that in 1999, Emergency Services
purchased equipment to allow the transmission of electrocardiographs to
hospitals from ambulances.  He said that the transmission requires two
minutes of uninterrupted cell signal and that as of 2008, those
transmissions still cannot be made until the ambulance is out of Nelson

Ms. Brennan said that she would like to see shorter towers along Scenic
Byways, a balloon test done after the leaves are off the trees and receipt
of something from the Department of Historic Resources prior to
consideration.  She said that she understands the emergency medical issues
but is concerned about the health issues too.  She said that she wants the
county to review its tower ordinance as soon as possible.  Mr. Bruguiere
said that the proposed tower is not just for the driving public but would
also allow area residents to get rid of their landlines, go wireless and get
broadband.  He said that the proposed tower would allow up to four
co-locations, reducing the number of towers in that area.  Mr. Johnson said
that he would like to see maps from the various county providers so the
county would have some idea where providers could co-locate.  Mr. Hale said
that he is conflicted on this issue but that the issue before the Board is
whether to allow an exception for a metal tower within a Scenic Byway.

Mr. Johnson then made a motion to postpone a decision indefinitely.  Mr.
Boger informed the Board that a decision is required, by ordinance, within
90 days.  Mr. Johnson then amended his motion to postpone for 90 days (Ms.
Brennan seconding the motion).  Supervisors voted 2-2 (Mr. Bruguiere and Mr.
Johnson voting no) on the amended motion.  Mr. Johnson (Ms. Brennan
seconding) then made a motion to postpone a decision until their next
meeting on September 25th.  Supervisors voted 3-1 (Mr. Bruguiere voting no).

that the applicant has applied for an amendment to an existing permit to
allow AT&T to co-locate at 94 feet on an existing 107-foot nTelos tower on
Thomas Nelson Highway on property owned by Ms. Barbara Turner Lowery.  With
no public comment, Supervisors voted 4-0 to approve the amendment to the

the applicants has requested a permit to construct a 130-foot tower on
Hearthstone Lane in Stoney Creek across from the water tank in an area
designed as open space on the Wintergreen Master Plan.  The tower will
include three flush-mounted panel antennas plus a 23-foot Omni antenna for
Wintergreen Emergency Services.  The permit request includes a request for
an exception from Section 20-7-2a requiring a “fall zone” of at least 125%
of the tower height (162.5 feet in this case).  Ms. Valerie Long,
representing nTelos noted that the exception is requested because the lot is
narrow and it would be impossible to meet the requirement.  In addition, Ms.
Long noted that the structural engineer had provided a letter noting that if
the tower were to collapse, it would collapse upon itself rather than
falling over.

During the Public Hearing, MS. LAURA BURROWS, said that she is opposed
noting that cell towers are dangerous to helicopters and said that the
emergency helicopters that serve Nelson might stop flyer here if this tower
is constructed.
MS. KELLY KAHLE said that nTelos is requested yet another exception and
asked where it would end.  She asked the county to review the overall cell
tower plan and coverage before approving this tower.
MR. LARRY WHITAKER said that this would be two nTelos towers close to each
other.  He said that he is concerned that the height standards are being
MS. JUDY BARNES said that she is opposed to this tower.
MR. CURTIS SHEETS, Deputy Director of Wintergreen Property Owners’
Association (WPOA) said that the #1 complaint from property owners and
visitors to the resort is the lack of cell coverage.  He said that the
coverage for Wintergreen has been mapped and that he has worked with the
vendors to provide comprehensive coverage without overlap.  Mr. Sheets said
that there has not been opposition from the Hearthstone Lane property owners
and the WPOA Board of Directors has voted unanimously twice to approve this
tower.  He said that the emergency services helicopters that service this
area use night vision as well as designated landing zones and that a 130′
tower is not high enough to interrupt that service.

Mr. Hale said that this application is very difference from the last nTelos
request as the residents of that area want the service.  He said that the
exception is requested because of a change in technology (allowing the tower
to collapse upon itself) and is an exception that has been granted on other
applications.  Supervisors voted 4-0 to approve the permit with the
exception to the “fall zone” requirement.

Meeting adjourned.

Copyright 2000-2008 by Rural Nelson, Inc. All rights reserved. Reports may
be reprinted or excerpted with attribution.


  1. Something that was not included in this report is that the “hopeful” coverage map Ntelos provided indicated that the improved coverage was primarily for in car usage. So Mr. Bruguiere’s reasoning for approving the exception upon the premise of being able to give up landline phones and get high speed internet via a cell line is invalid.
    The agency that did the research for Ntelos also reported that the topography in Nelson County would NEVER allow for reliable coverage, which also is contraindicative for our Emergency Services to utilize their cardio equipment.


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