This Week in County Government; Update From Ag/Forestal Committee Meeting

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Engage Louisa is a community newsletter aimed at keeping folks informed about Louisa County government. It’s free, non-partisan, and powered by volunteers.  We believe our community is stronger and our government serves us better when we increase transparency, accessibility, and engagement. 


This Week in County Government (Public Meetings, May 3-8)

Monday, May 3, 2021

Louisa County Electoral Board, County Administration Building, 1 Woolfolk Ave., 10 am. (Agenda) To listen in to the meeting, call 540-967-4565. If you have any questions about the meeting, call the registrar’s office at 540-967-3427.

The Louisa County Electoral Board has a crowded agenda for its May 3 meeting. A few highlights:

  • Registrar Cris Watkins will provide the board with an update on Louisa County’s efforts to find a larger space for the registrar’s office, currently located in cramped quarters in the Louisa County Administration Building. County officials identified the Henson Building on West Street in the Town of Louisa as a potential new home but the Louisa Town Council shot down those plans last November. After a number of area residents opposed the move during a public hearing, council voted unanimously to deny the county’s request for a special use permit.

  • Watkins will report on legislation passed by the General Assembly during the 2021 regular and special sessions that could impact voters and local election administration.

  • Early and absentee voting began April 23 for the Democratic Primary for governor, lt. governor, and attorney general. Watkins will update the board on how early voting is going locally. The early voting period runs through June 5 and Election Day is June 8. Click here for more information about voting in the primary. Click here for a sample ballot.

    The Republican Party of Virginia will nominate its candidates for statewide office via a May 8 unassembled convention using ranked choice voting. Click here for more information about the convention.

    The 2021 General Election is Tuesday, November 2. Early and absentee voting begin September 17.

Louisa County Board of Supervisors, Public Meeting Room, 1 Woolfolk Ave., 6 pm. (Agenda Packet, Livestream) The board will convene in closed session at 5 pm.

A few agenda highlights from the board’s first May meeting:

The board will hold two public hearings (Public Notice):

  • Ordinance – Ordinance Amending Louisa County Code Chapter 70, Taxation Article Ii- In Real Estate Tax Relief for the Elderly or Totally Disabled 70-33(5) & 70-35; At the board’s April 5 meeting, Louisa District Supervisor Eric Purcell expressed concerns about some elderly residents’ ability to cover rising real estate tax bills. This year, real estate tax assessments increased, on average, nearly 6 percent county-wide.

    Purcell, with the support of other board members, asked staff to draft an amendment to a section of county code that grants tax relief to qualified elderly or totally disabled residents on a sliding scale. Currently, code provides relief only to property owners with an annual income of $40,000 or less (with some caveats) and a net worth of $100,000 or less excluding the value of their home and 10 acres.

    Purcell proposed that the ordinance, which has not been amended since 2009, raise the net worth to $200,000 excluding the dwelling and 10 acres. The board agreed to set a May 3 public hearing to consider the change and asked staff to report on the proposed amendment’s fiscal impact.

  • Ordinance – Ordinance Amending Louisa County Code Chapter 2, Administration Article 1-In General Section 2-4 (2) (A); As required by law, the board will hold a public hearing to amend a section of county code that designates Gordonsville Pentecostal Holiness Church as the voting place for the Mechanicsville Precinct. The proposed amendment will simply add the words, “also known as the Living Grace Church.”

Tuesday, May 4

Louisa County School Board, Louisa Middle School Forum, 1009 Davis Highway, 7 pm. (Agenda) Louisa County School Board meetings are currently unavailable via livestream or archived video. The only way to access the meetings is to attend in person.

The Louisa County School board has a busy agenda for its monthly meeting including approval of the 2021-22 revised school calendar, an update on the school safety task force, a Covid-19 update, and a presentation on the progress of school construction projects, among other topics. The division recently broke ground on a long-awaited addition to Jouett Elementary School.

Wednesday, May 5

Commission on Aging, Betty Queen Center, 522 Industrial Drive, 10 am.

The commission, which focuses on understanding the needs of Louisa’s aging population and reports its findings to the Board of Supervisors (see above), meets the first Wednesday of each month. According to minutes from its April meeting, Louisa County Commissioner of the Revenue Stacey Fletcher will be the featured speaker at this month’s meeting.

Thursday, May 6

Louisa County Industrial Development Authority, Public Meeting Room, 1 Woolfolk Ave., 8:30 am. (Public Notice)

The IDA, tasked with supporting the economic and commercial development of the county through various mechanisms, will hold a special meeting to discuss “Library Tract-terms/conditions,” per the public notice.

Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission, Virtual Meeting, 7 pm. (Agenda Packet) A Zoom link is available in the agenda packet. Archived recordings of previous meetings are available via the TJPDC website.

The Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission is a regional body that includes the City of Charlottesville and the counties of Louisa, Albemarle, Fluvanna, Greene, and Nelson. TJPDC assists member governments with a variety of technical and program services including grant application assistance, management services for program implementation, land use planning and mapping. The commission is guided by a 12-member locally-appointed board. Supervisors Bob Babyok and Tommy Barlow represent Louisa County on the board.

At Thursday’s meeting, TJPDC will hold a public hearing on and consider approval of HOME’s action plan for the upcoming fiscal year. HOME is a federal grant program administered through the Department of Housing and Urban Development and implemented regionally through the TJPDC.

The program works with localities and partner organizations to preserve the existing supply of affordable housing, including rehabilitating homes, and to increase that supply by constructing affordable housing units for ownership and rental. The program also offers cost assistance to qualified first-time homebuyers. In Louisa County, the Fluvanna/Louisa Housing Foundation (FLHF) runs the program.

According to the proposed action plan, FLHF will receive $84,576.88 through the HOME program in the coming fiscal year. Those funds will go toward acquiring land for and constructing an affordable rental unit in Louisa County.

According to HOME’s presentation (and accompanying documents), the program invested $119, 206.41 toward building an affordable housing unit in Louisa County in FY21. In addition, FLHF has $50,000 in program funds on hand for home rehabilitation projects.

Interested in taking your talents to one of the county’s numerous boards and commissions? Find out more here including which boards have vacancies and how to apply.

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Highlights from Ag/Forestal and Rural Preservation committee meeting

The Agricultural/Forestal and Rural Preservation committee held a brief meeting on Wednesday night. Due to technical issues on Louisa County’s end, the meeting was not available virtually so Engage Louisa was unable to attend as planned.

Committee member Jerry Veneziano provided a short recap of the meeting on Facebook. A couple of highlights:

  • Veneziano reported that the committee unanimously approved the addition of 96.7 acres off Mount Airy Road to the Yanceyville Ag/Forestal District. The property belongs to Joshua 19 LLC, an entity owned by John Disosway.

    The application will next advance to the Planning Commission then to the Board of Supervisors for final approval. AFDs are a tool that allow landowners engaged in agriculture or forestry to protect their property from future development.

    Veneziano noted that, at its March meeting, the committee approved the addition of numerous parcels to the Green Springs AFD and green-lighted the creation of a Trevilians AFD. A public hearing on these applications is set for the May 13 Louisa County Planning Commission meeting.

  • The committee plans to reach out to Fauquier County to learn more about its purchase of development rights program (PDR), a conservation tool used in a number of Virginia localities.

    According to Fauquier’s website, the county’s PDR initiative is a “voluntary program that pays landowners to protect the farmland and natural resource assets of their property. The PDR Program allows landowners to enter into agreements to sell the development potential of qualifying property to the County while maintaining the right to continue to own and use the property. The purpose of the PDR Program is to protect farmland and retain the agricultural industry’s critical mass, in particular, farm parcels that are economically viable operations.”

    As of March 2021, Fauquier officials have approved nearly 13,000 acres for the program, the largest in the state.

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In accordance with Covid-19 guidelines, in-person attendance at Louisa County public meetings is limited. Click here for the county’s public meeting protocols. 

Click here for contact information for the Louisa County Board of Supervisors. 

Find agendas and minutes from previous meetings as well as archived recordings here

Click here for contact information for the Louisa County School Board.

Click here for minutes and agendas for school board meetings.

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