Bath Supervisors approve wind energy ordinance

Hot Springs, Va. –

Bath County now has a small wind energy ordinance in place. At Tuesday night’s Bath Board of Supervisors meeting, the board passed an ordinance on wind energy systems for residential and farm use. County Planner and Zoning Administrator Sherry Ryder explained that under the ordinance, a residential wind energy system can generate up to 10kw of electricity and systems for farms could generate up to 100kw. These small wind energy systems would generate power for on site consumption only.

The ordinance sets height restrictions, setbacks, sound restrictions and includes guidelines to protect ridge tops from construction. Under this ordinance, a site plan will have to be submitted, a building permit is required and a conditional use permit will be issued by the county for each small wind energy system.

During the public hearing on the proposed ordinance, there was only one question. If any small wind energy system is currently in place or under contract to be built, would it be grandfathered from the ordinance regulations. Ryder said yes, but also said she was not aware of any systems being planned at this time, since no building permits have been applied for.

County Code Official Andy Seabolt reported on the county’s efforts to get property owners to repair or remove blighted structures. He said owners of all properties already declared nuisance structures have received second notices from the county. There was one property on the list that had not been declared a nuisance structure, the old stables in downtown Hot Springs. The board voted to declare the old stables a nuisance and authorized sending appropriate notices to the building’s owner.

The board also heard from Craig Balzer of Balzer and Associates regarding potential interior renovations in the courthouse and an office space needs study. Balzer has been working in Bath on county contracts and was asked to do a review on how space is being used in the courthouse. Balzer said he did the review for free since he was already in Bath doing other work. He said there had been some misunderstanding, where some people thought renovations were definitely being planned and he had to explain that the county was just talking about ideas. On Tuesday night, the board authorized payment, not to exceed $3,000, for Balzer’s services to date on the space review. The board wants to continue exploring the space needs study, so Balzer and county representatives will next meet with the Judge to get his opinion on potential changes and improvements.

Also on Tuesday night, the board approved a new expanded version of the job description for the new Tourism Coordinator position. The expanded version will be a prototype for job descriptions that will be developed in the future. At last month’s meeting the board approved the tourism coordinator job description in order to begin advertising. Supervisor Claire Collins said she did not recall approving the job description last month and said she was confused about the board’s process. She said she still had questions concerning accountability issues, job classification and audit requirements. Supervisor Kevin Fry said he appreciated her point and would be more than happy to hear her concerns, but that the board was only worried about the job description on Tuesday night. The board approved the expanded job description 3 to 2, with Supervisor Collins and Supervisor Bart Perdue voting no.

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Heather Niday

Heather is our Program Director and Traffic Manager. She started with Allegheny Mountain Radio as a volunteer deejay. She then joined the AMR staff in February of 2007. Heather grew up in the Richmond, Virginia, area and now lives in Arbovale, West Virginia with her husband Chuck. Heather is a wonderful flute player, and choir director for Arbovale UMC. You can hear Heather along with Chuck on Tuesday nights from 6 to 8pm as they host two hours of jazz on Something Different.

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