By Matt de Simone
The Botetourt County Board of Supervisors met at the Administration Offices in Daleville last week to hold the monthly meeting.
Members of county staff introduced new employees to the board. Director of Economic Development Ken McFadyen introduced Kim Stewart as the Economic Development Department’s new administrative assistant. McFadyen stated to the board that Stewart brings a lot of experience and knowledge to her new position.
Fire & EMS Chief Jason Ferguson introduced Jeremy Bennington as the new, full-time captain based out of the Buchanan Fire Station. Bennington is an Eagle Rock resident who previously worked with Botetourt over the years as a part-time firefighter/EMT but spent most of his career working in Roanoke City for 23 years in various positions within the emergency field. Ferguson mentioned the department reviewed its options to serve the Buchanan community best. Bennington’s hiring fills a pre-existing role realigned within the department.
Two new ambulances recently arrived in Botetourt County for the Troutville and Read Mountain stations. Ferguson spoke briefly about the funding for those vehicles. Local funds and grants supported the addition of these two new frontline ambulances. One interesting feature of the new vehicles is the removal of the cab passageway. Ferguson mentioned they designed this feature during the pandemic to better separate the vehicle operators and the emergency workers/patients in the cab.
Director of Community Development Nicole Pendleton introduced Mike Hall as the county’s new Combination Inspector I. Hall was formerly a resource officer for Botetourt County Public Schools (BCPS).
Supervisor Steve Clinton offered a resolution of support for the people of Ukraine for consideration. Clinton stated that “this (resolution) relates to the global aspects of the challenge that we’re facing.”
This resolution was created and promoted by Bill Tanger, a member of the Botetourt Democratic Committee. In the resolution, the board denounces the invasion of Ukraine by Russian forces ordered by Russian President Vladimir Putin and supports the Ukrainians’ defense of their country. The board adopted this resolution.
Following Clinton’s reading of the resolution, public comment asked about knowing the “facts” regarding the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, stating the county’s resolution is a “precursor to war.”
The public comment period featured additional comments asking the board to “terminate” the Rocky Forge wind project and reconsider the proposed building of a new “convenience store ” in the Buchanan area.
The board held a public hearing about an amendment to Botetourt County’s FY 21-22 budget to appropriate American Rescue Plan (ARP) funds for Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Funds (ESSER III) to support K-12 education ($3,009,939.04). BCPS Superintendent Dr. John Russ spoke on behalf of the public schools explaining to the board how BCPS plans to spend those dollars from now until 2024.
Russ mentioned some of the focus items include the summer school program, additional instructional items, substitute teachers, bus driver retention efforts, cleaning supplies, and facility repair. The funds are available to BCPS through December 2024. BCPS will continue to weigh its priorities regarding where else to use these federal dollars.
Finance Director Tony Zerilla asked the board to consider an amendment to the FY 21-22 budget to cover construction and related costs for the Virginia Western Community College (VWCC) expansion project ($1,250,000). The board approved the consideration of appropriating ARP funds and amending the FY 21-22 budget covering construction for the VWCC expansion.
VDOT Resident Engineer Brian Blevins presented VDOT’s monthly report. He spoke about improvements around the county, including safety improvements to Route 43 south of Iron Gate, Route 688, and Route 665.
The board held a public hearing about proposed amendments to Chapter 9. Election of the Botetourt County Code. Deputy Administrator David Moorman and Director of Elections and General Registrar Traci Clark presented the proposed election district changes. Clark suggested the changes take place after the June primary. Public comments on the redistricting amendments will be accepted until 5 p.m. on April 13. The board will consider the amendments for adoption at the board’s April 26 meeting.
The board authorized spending $407,000 towards purchasing a tanker truck to be placed at the Troutville station and approved the transfer of $407,000 out of the Fire & EMS Capital Reserve Fund. The requested tanker truck is similar to the tanker truck currently on order for the Read Mountain station. This new truck will be able to supply 3,000 gallons of water to fires in areas where no other water source is immediately available. This type of apparatus is vital to successfully suppress fires in areas lacking hydrants or sufficient water supply infrastructure.
County Administrator Gary Larrowe mentioned that Botetourt County recently received an Aa1 issuer rating from Moody’s Investor Service. The Aa1 issuer rating incorporates the county’s healthy financial position characterized by balanced operations and strong reserves. Larrowe highlighted the financial management of the county and the associated fund balance that ended up making this such a successful assessment.
During the Botetourt Planning Commission public hearings, the board approved text amendments considering an owner-initiated petition, per zoning ordinance Section 25-581.2, requesting modifications to Chapter 25, Zoning, Article II. District Regulations Generally, Division 12. – Business District B-3, Section 25-262.(13) – Permitted Uses, to add the use “Donation Collection Center,” and Chapter 25, Zoning, Article VI. –, Section 25-601. Definitions to define the use, which would permit the use to accept, sort, and distribute donations to their retail store locations.
The board approved text amendments considering an owner-initiated petition, under zoning ordinance Section 25-581.2, that requests amendments to Chapter 25, Zoning, Article II. Division 11.- Business District B-2, Section 25- 242(12).- Permitted Uses, to add the use “Equipment Rental and Leasing,” and Chapter 25, Zoning, Article VI. –, Section 25-601. Definitions to define the use, which rents or leases equipment similar to electronics, furniture, tools, party supplies, and recreational items.
The board approved Matthew Snare’s request to rezone a two-acre portion of a 52.945-acre parcel from the Agricultural (A-1) Use District to the Business (B-2) Use District, with possible proffered conditions, following Section 25-581. – Zoning Map Amendment—Owner-initiated, of the Botetourt County Code, and Chapter 25 Zoning, Article, II. – District Regulations, Division 11.- Business District (B-2), with a Special Exception Permit to reduce the minimum district size from five to two acres in accordance with Section 25- 244. – District Requirements to establish a business that rents party supplies and recreational equipment. The proposed area to be rezoned is adjacent to the applicant’s home located at 15709 Lee Highway (Route 11) and is identified on the Real Property Identification Maps of Botetourt County as a portion of Section 64, Parcel 44.
For more information about the Board of Supervisors’ March agenda items, visit https://www.botetourtva.gov/AgendaCenter/ViewFile/Agenda/_03222022-183.