Bath Board of Supervisors July meeting report

Two public hearings, and setting a future one, came early on the agenda at Tuesday night’s Bath Board of Supervisors meeting.   After some discussion about the inconveniences and risks of living with bears nearby, the board amended a solid waste ordinance to include pEnalties for residents who knowingly leave solid waste containers open.   County Administrator, Ashton Harrison commented.

“There’s a certain very small handful of people that are purposefully going around opening containers, presumably, allegedly to bait bears. And we do have that on video. This is specifically targeted to that. “ Michael Huckaby, County Attorney, assured the public a judge can easily tell the difference between some one who forgets to close the door, or finds it too heavy. The board voted to approve the highest possible fine allowed by state code, five hundred dollars for an incident, and resident Jack Lindsay suggested an addition result for violations too.

“A person should be penalized, and to have them spend twenty hours, thirty hours picking up that trash. If they ever picked up that trash, they would never ever leave another dumpster open.”

Bruce McWilliams, Williamsville district, and later Trudy Woodzell, Cedar Creek district, commented the problem with bears is more a symptom of overall solid waste disposal methods for the county, and that supervisors would do well to begin to look at longer-range solutions. The bear population is not shrinking. Both the county, and local trash service have spent thousands in clean-up regularly. An additional problem, not addressed by the ammended ordinance, is out-of-county residents bringing in their trash, including large items. These issues, and more combine, and call for the need to revisit waste disposal options across the whole county.

After a second public hearing on taxing substantially complete structures, especially homes where owners have moved in early in a year, the supervisors approved using a certificate of occupancy to determine when a dwelling or business begins to be taxed. Following this, the board discussed public notification, by mail and by signage, for rezoning requests and conditional use permits. Currently, adjoining landowners do not receive notification by mail about conditional use permits. The public hearing to address these specifics, and set a fee schedule for conditional use permits was set for the board’s next monthly meeting on August 8th.

In good news about progress on the Visitor’s Center, Celine Pritt, tourism manager told the board there had been sixteen proposals from companies from Georgia to Philidelphia submitted by architects wanting to work on the Master Plan and Design of the facility. A committee made up of representatives from tourism, real estate, small businesses and other sectors of the community selected five of those sixteen proposals for closer review. They hope to present a final recommendation at August’s meeting, if not then, in September. Earlier in the day, a source close to the process stated the encouraging level of interest in the project by contractors indicates the likelihood of “a very good idea becoming a great project”.   At least one percent of the county’s lodging tax will be appropriated to this capital improvement.  Three current members of the airport authority were reappointed to their positions. They are: Bruce Cambata, Jay Ford and Claire Collins.   The board voted to continue this meeting to July 24th, when they will convene jointly with the Planning Commission at 7pm. The Bath Board of Supervisors will hold its next regular monthly meeting on August 8th at 7:00.

Story By

Bonnie Ralston

Bonnie Ralston is the Assistant Station Coordinator at WVLS and a Highland County news reporter. She began volunteering at Allegheny Mountain Radio in the fall of 2005. In 2006 she became an AMR employee and worked in Bath County for eight years as the WCHG Station Coordinator and then as the news reporter there. She began working in radio while in college and has stayed connected to radio, in one way or another, for more than thirty years. She grew up in Staunton, Virginia, while spending a lot of time on her family’s farm in Deerfield, Virginia. She enjoys spending time outside, watching old TV shows and movies and tending to her chickens.

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