Wednesday, October 30, 2013

District 5 and Crime Watch Report - November 2013 by Supervisor Tom Shepperd

Dear Neighbors,

 

The District 5 Report for November 2013 is designed to keep you informed of local and state government actions that impact our homes and communities.*  Crime Watch information is included as a supplement to your local Crime Watch Program.  Residents are added to the distribution list for the District 5 Report upon request by email to either tgshep@cox.net or shepperd@yorkcounty.gov.  Please remember to include either your home address or the name of your neighborhood. Comments and questions are always welcome.  You can reach me at the phone numbers and email addresses listed below my name.  I greatly appreciate your help in disseminating the report to other residents of our communities.

 

Sincerely,

 

Tom Shepperd

District 5 Representative

York County Board of Supervisors

 

Home (757) 868-8591

Cell (757) 604-3079

tgshep@cox.net

shepperd@yorkcounty.gov

 

------District 5 and Crime Watch Report November 2013*------

 

Report Content

 

- 1. Updates and Announcements

- 2. Board of Supervisors Action

 

1.  Announcements and Updates

 

a.  The General Election is November 5, 2013 to elect a Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General and Members of the House of Delegates for the 91st, 93rd, and 96th districts.  The Bethel precinct poll is located at Tabb Elementary School and the Tabb precinct poll is located at Tabb High School.  The polls are open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.  Your assigned voting precinct can be found on your voter registration card or by going online to www.yorkcounty.gov and selecting “Voter Registration,” which is under County Services.  In order to vote, you will be required to show an acceptable form of identification such as Virginia voter registration card, valid Virginia driver’s license, military ID, or valid student ID issued in Virginia.  Candidates for Governor are:  Terry R. McAuliffe (D), Ken T. Cuccinelli, II (R) and Robert C. Sarvis (L).  Candidates for Lieutenant Governor: Ralph S. Northam (D) and E. W. Jackson (R).  Candidates for Attorney General are Mark R. Herring (D) and Mark D. Obershain (R).  Candidates for House of Delegates are:  91st District is Gordon C. Heisel, Jr. (R), 93rd District T. Monty Mason (D) and Michael B. “Mike” Watson (R), and 96th District Brenda L. Pogge (R).

 

b.  Educational and entertaining programs are being offered at the Senior Center of York in November.  Participation is open to seniors age 55 or older.  The Center is located in the Washington Square Shopping Center at 5314  George Wash. Mem. Hwy. and is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.  The variety of programs include Computer and General Use, AARP Driver Safety Program, Scrapbooking & Greeting Cards, plus many others.  For more information, visit www.yorkcounty.gov/communityservices.

 

c.  There are 29 citizen boards and commissions made up of volunteers that support our local government.  The volunteers play an important role helping our local government to identify desired services, ensure efficient use of facilities, and in improving the quality of life we currently enjoy throughout the County.  You can get more information about the boards and commissions by going online to www.yorkcounty.gov.  Once you are on the County’s homepage, scroll over to “Online Services, “ which will present you with a drop down menu.  Select “Boards/Commissions.”   If you are interested in participating on a board or commission, you will need to complete the Board Bank Application, which is highlighted in red.  The application will allowed you to list up to three different boards and commissions.  The completed application will remain on file and the County staff will contact you for updates prior to submission to the Board of Supervisors for consideration.

 

d.  The annual District 5 Town Meeting was held on October 16 with about 100 citizens in attendance.  Here are highlight from the meeting:

 

            (1)  York County’s population now stands at around 67,000, which ranks it 18th in population of the state’s 95 counties and 29th of the state’s 134 cities and counties.  York is the 6th most densely populated county.  Over 80% of the population lives in the lower-end of the County.  The County’s average density is 625 people per square mile.  District 5, the smallest district, is approximately 5 ½ square miles and has a population density of 2,700 per square mile.  At 7,500 people per square mile, the area around Yorkshire Downs is one of the state’s most densely populated census track.

 

            (2)  Fire and Life Rescue is provided to District 5 by the Tabb Fire Station (Station 2), which is staffed by a minimum of 4 personal.  The station has one fire engine and one medic unit.  Over the past year, Fire Station 2 responded to a total of 1,828 incidents with a response time of less than 5 minutes.  Within District 5 there were 269 fires and 517 Emergency Medical Services (EMS) incidents.  Since the implementation of EMS recovery cost in 2010, the County has received over $3.6 million in revenue from personal insurance companies. 

 

            (3)  Crime statistics show that the crime rate for York County is holding steady at 4,225 crimes per 100,000 population.  Hampton’s crime rate is 7,435 while Newport News’ rate is 8,436 per 100,000 population.  Relative hot spots for crime reports in York County include Tabb High School and the area around Yorkshire Downs, which is no surprise when you consider the population density, i.e. more people more crime.  As for Tabb High School, the increase in crime reports appears to be associated with student altercations and some thefts.  As for altercations, in light of recent bullying incidents, any physical contact will most likely result in a response by police.  The good old days of just getting wacked with the paddle by the coach or principal are long gone.  Parents, if your child acts up, you both get to spend some time with the police.  To see the crime report slides from the District 5 briefing, go online to www.yorkcounty.gov and scroll over to “County Government” and when you see the drop down menu select “Board of Supervisors.”   The District 5 Town Hall Meeting is on the left side of the Board of Supervisors page.

 

            (4)  The Moores Creek project is finally coming to an end.  Phase IIC will address the flooding that results from an inability of water to quickly leave the lake in Woodlake Crossing during heavy rain events.  The County staff working with an engineering consultant looked at numerous options for solving the drainage issue.  Digging out the spill way from the lake seemed to be the best way to address the problem.  However, EPA wetlands mitigation requirements, which cost about $1,000 per foot of disturbed wetland, proved to be too expensive at approximately $400,000.  The solution is to lower the 10-acre lake about a foot by running two 24-inch drainage pipes underground from the lake to the Big Bethel outfall.  The project is estimated to cost about $200,000.  The project will run from early summer of 2014 to the Spring of 2015.

 

            (5)  Budget highlights showed that the County’s budget grew from $127.2 million in FY13 to $130.1 million in FY14.  The Supervisors increased school funding by $1.2 million, provided employees with a 2% pay raise, and had to increase health insurance by $400,000.  York County’s  tax rate of $0.715 compares favorably with James City County ($0.77), Poquoson ($0.95), Hampton ($1.24) and Newport News ($1.22).  Only Gloucester County ($0.65) and Williamsburg ($0.57) have a lower rate.  An analysis of the County’s budgeting during the Great Recession (2009 to 2013) shows that during the recession the Board of Supervisors increased funding to the schools by $5 million and increased funding for Public Safety by $2.4 million.  While the two priority areas (schools and public safety) were increased, the Supervisors reduced funding for other services by nearly $7 million.  The County’s total funding contribution to the schools in FY14 is $57.9 million.  A comparative analysis of governments in Hampton Roads shows that York County has the second fewest number of employee per 1,000 residents and the second lowest cost of government per capita.  The District 5 Town Hall meeting slides on the Board of Supervisors page at www.yorkcounty.gov show 12 additional comparative Performance Measurements based on communities across the U.S. with populations between 25,000 to 100,000.

 

            (6)  Since establishing the new recycling program in May 2013 the recycle bin set out rate has increased from 49% to 67% and the average recycling has increase from 345 tons to 391 tons per month.  The average solid waste disposal decreased from 1,749 tons to 1,618 tons per month. 

 

            (7)  Current development plans in District 5 include several small family subdivisions, 23 single family lots in Section 3 of Woods of Mansion Roads, and the building of a strip mall near the Shady Banks Shopping Center.  I have been approached by the owner of the 23-acrea parcel across from the Tabb Library that is between the Meadowlake Farms and Woodlake Crossing neighborhoods for consideration of a multi-family subdivision.  The property is currently zoned R20, which is one house per half acre.   The developer is proffering to provide the YMCA with a large swimming pool on the property.  Other proffers by the developer that might be considered include the retention of trees and buffer between the development and the homes along Stone Lake Court in Woodlake Crossing and improvements to the HOA’s 10-acre lake.  One area of concern with increasing housing density is the subdivision’s impact on existing schools.  Over the past couple of years, the Board of Supervisors have approved multi-family and mixed used developments that have the potential of increasing school enrollment by 660 students.  Currently, County schools appears to have sufficient capacity to handle the increased enrollment.  However, there is some discussion by the School Board to consider the need for a new elementary school.

 

            (8)  The widening of Route 17 is well underway but unfortunately will take 3 years to complete.  The widening includes the undergrounding of utility lines and the addition of one lane in both directions.   Phase 1 begins at the overpass on Highway 134 and extends up to the bowling alley.  Phase 1 also includes a new higher elevated bridge at Harwood Mills.  Phase 2 will run from the bowling alley to the end of Washington Square Mall.  Phase 3 will end at Wolf Trap Road.  The relocation of utilities will take place in the Phase 2 and 3 zones concurrently with the road construction in the Phase 1 zone.  Various types of simultaneous work along the 3 mile project is the reason for the 35 MPH speed limit. 

 

            (9)  The widening of I-64 (Phase 1) from near the Jefferson Avenue exchange to the Ft Eustis exchange is funded in the State’s Six Year Transportation Plan.  This means that VDOT has the funding ($100 million)  and can begin the widening.  The current schedule calls for the addition of a single lane in both direction.  The expansion is to begin in 2017 but may be moved up to 2015.  There may be only partial funding for I-64 Phase 2, which runs from the Ft Eustis exchange to Route 199 near the Marquis Shopping Center.  However, when the General Assembly passed HB2313 last year, a new funding source for significant transportation improvements was made available.  The estimated cost for Phase 2 is $160 million.   I suspect the work on the Ft Eustis interchange must be completed before the widening of I-64 in Phase 2.  The interchange is estimate to be about $150 million.  Phase 3, which runs from Route 199 east to Route 199 west near the Lightfoot interchange is unfunded and estimated to cost about $90 million.  VDOT and the Hampton Roads Transportation Planning Organization are studying options for the funding of Phase 2 and 3.  In summary, we should see the completion of I-64 Phase 1 in about 5 years and with the help of funding from HS2313 the possible funding of Phase 2 and 3 in our life time.

 

            (10) York County waterfront homeowners, particularly those along Lambs Creek, Moores Creek and the Poquoson River, have asked the Board of Supervisors to explore options for helping to keep the waterways navigable.  Years of storms and upstream development have resulted in many of the waterways becoming nearly unusable.  One option that appears doable is to establish Service Districts in which homeowners along the waterfront are assessed an additional tax that is paid into a waterway improvement and maintenance fund.  Tax revenue could be used to issue bonds that would permit near term dredging and routine maintenance.  Current state code allows local governments to establish the Service District for the purpose of dredging creeks and rivers “to maintain existing uses.”  The Board of Supervisors would have to pass an ordinance to establish a Service District, which provides an additional service not provided to the locality as a whole.  Factors involving the prioritization of the projects, inputs from the community, establishing the percentage of homeowner approvals needed to move forward on a project, determining County supplemental funding (if any), the constructability of a project and access to the water, the timing of project implementation and the County’s partnership with homeowners in other localities such as Poquoson, must be addressed before establishing a County Service District for waterfront properties.

 

2.  Board of Supervisors Action

 

a.  Sponsored an amendment to the County’s noise ordinance which would reduce the time period from 11 p.m. to 9 p.m. and distance for sounds emanating from a speaker systems and other electronic devices.  The amendment was sent to the Planning Commission for a public hearing and Commission recommendation before coming back to the Board of Supervisors for action. 

 

b.  Approved Resolution R13-104 to authorize the establishment of a 195 ft. telecommunication tower on 3.3 acres on Penniman Road.  Comment:  These types of towers are designed to withstand high winds.  If they do collapse, they collapse nearly straight downward.

 

c. Approved Resolution 13-105 to authorize outside storage for a landscaping business on Route 17.  Comment:  The business is located just south of the intersection of Hampton Highway with Route 17.  The business is in the building with the red awning.

 

* Comments and opinions expressed in this report do not necessarily represent the position of other members of the York County Board of Supervisors.  If you wish to obtain comments from members of the Board of Supervisors, please visit the York County website at http://www.yorkcounty.gov.  Supervisor contact information is located on the website under the title "County Government."  Homeowner Associations are encouraged to use portions of this report in preparing their association newsletters.  All email correspondence to and from this address is subject to the Virginia Freedom of Information Act and to the Virginia Public Records Act which may result in monitoring and disclosure to third parties, including law enforcement.

 

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