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Septic policies passed by board

Posted on Monday, November 19, 2012 at 1:16 pm

Westmoreland County’s Board of Supervisors didn’t have to balance between competing viewpoints on either of its public hearings Wednesday evening, but it did see a gap in the changes proposed for the county’s ordinance regarding septic systems.
Under the existing ordinance, owners of septic systems that will go off-line when sewer reaches their property would have to remove the systems. The changes proposed by the planning commission and adopted by the board will allow systems taken out of use to be kept in reserve as back up systems or as holding tanks in emergencies. The changes did not, however, address stormwater systems, the removal of which the older ordinance would still require.
Mike McCann advised the board that he had put an $18,000 stormwater system on a piece of property he owns in Oak Grove that functions beautifully to drain what had been land that was useless in rainy periods.
“I can’t finish [developing the property] if I think you all may make me remove it,” he said.
Supervisor Woody Hynson said he is familiar with the property and before McCann’s improvements it was “either dry and dusty or so muddy a cat couldn’t walk across it.”
Chairman Darryl Fisher said McCann’s property sounds “unique” and that it might serve as “an excellent example to use as a precedent” in further refining the ordinance.
The board directed that the county staff continue working of the ordinance so that it accommodates stormwater systems as well as septic systems.
The board’s other public hearing was a request by Verizon to build a 199-foot tall tower for antennae, lines and associated equipment on an area it leases in Monroe Bay. After looking at maps and sky photos to see how the tower would be positioned with regard to residences in the area, the board voted 5-0 to allow its construction.
Earlier in the meeting, the board agreed to amend the county’s 2012-2113 general fund budget to account for a $7,500,000 loan from the federal Rural Development agency to be used in building a new courthouse.
Kennon Morris of the Westmoreland County Citizens Association wanted to know if the additional $1,663,660 devoted to the project was “money the county has been holding back from the taxpayers over the years.” County Administrator Norm Risavi told him that it was not from the county’s taxes. It had accumulated from fines collected by the courts, he said.
The supervisors authorized the publication of proposed changes in the wetlands ordinance that will bring it into compliance with state requirements. They also appointed Gary Miller to the board of zoning appeals.
There was no correspondence from Montross or Colonial Beach but Colonial Beach’s newly elected mayor Mike Ham, appeared before the Board to introduce himself. “I want to do nothing but improve the relationship between the Town of Colonial Beach and the county,” he said.