Bath BOS holds August meeting
Based on the agenda, Bath County’s Board of supervisor’s Tuesday night meeting could have been very routine, but there was some baggage. Last week, Eddie Hicklin, Millboro Supervisor, was accused of a conflict of interest by another board member because, over a year ago, he was hired by the Economic Development Authority to survey industrial park land in Millboro for purchase by Speyside Bourbon Cooperage. Stuart Hall, Williamsville district, filed the complaint.
The hearing for the complaint will be September 6th.
Towards the end of the meeting, when board members and constituents alike agreed that focus needs to return to the County’s Comprehensive plan, and the Strategic economic development plan, Claire Collins shared her perspective on the current situation. First she referred to a successful initiative in Halifax County that had brought in more young people, and improved economic development.
“Bath County can make it happen. The things that are said behind people’s back that are negative, need to stop, and need to stop now, and I’ll tell you why, because those things that are said leave this community every single day. And when they’re said it puts a black mark on this community. It’s not just the newspaper that puts a black mark, it’s people sitting in this audience, people out in the community, that are putting black marks out there. When I travel Virginia, I have to defend our community; you should never have to defend our community. When you have to defend your community, it means your community has a big problem that they need to address, and they need to have the dialog, whether you want to hear it or not, it needs to be discussed.”
The board had voted three to two not to amend a very specific part of a planning and zoning ordinance. The planning commission had proposed the board alter the code so that land or business owners seeking conditional use permits would cover the expense of certified return/receipt letters to all of the adjoining landowners. There was long discussion about how the cost of letters might be prohibitive for new businesses, and how current practices seem to be working. During the public hearing, at least two planning commission members referred to examples of when the lack of communication had been detrimental to the application process. Other speakers were of the “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” school of thought. Jonah Wydham, of Hot Springs spoke during the final public comments of the evening.
“When a planning commission works as hard as this one did to come forward with some thing, and they have heard and experienced it, and they vote 4-1 to approve it, and then this board does not listen to them, why should they work? I would say to them, just send stuff up, the board’s not going to listen you, but also say, ‘ I think you need to look at that economic development plan. I think you need to look at the tourist plan, and I think you need to think very strongly about what you did nine, ten months ago. I can’t speak for all the hospitality in this county, but I can see a difference, and it’s not a good difference.” The next Bath Board of Supervisors meeting will be Tuesday, September 12th. The public is always encouraged to attend.