The Chesterfield County Board of Supervisors (BOS), last week voted to give their planning commission an additional five months, until December 15, to complete their review of the comprehensive plan. The commission had requested an additional two months, until September 15, but the Board voted 3 – 2 to give them more time to get additional public input.
“There are some roads in my district that will go from two lanes to four, and some people are very concerned with that,” said Dorothy Jaeckle, Bermuda District Supervisor and Vice Chair of the Board. “So I guess you could say that I am looking out for some special interests.”
Jaeckle continued, “I’m actually concerned that they didn’t ask for enough time. I would like see more time for public input.”
The planning commission has had 13 work sessions averaging about four hours each, and the desire to finish the draft plan review was expressed by two members of the commission – Chairman Wayne Bass of the Matoaca District and Bill Brown from the Dale District. They stated during their work sessions that the commission was getting too detailed.
John Zeugner, a member of the Partnership for Smarter Growth and the Falls of the James Sierra Club, read from a statement during the BOS meeting that the groups were not in favor of granting any more time to the planning commission.
“It’s the responsibility of this board, in office for the last three-and-a-half years, to finish what it started,” said Zeugner. “This is a critical and long-range plan for the county.” Zeugner urged the Board to use the citizens’ time wisely, and asked the planning commission to complete the plan on time by July 19. The BOS had stated when it began the process some 20 months ago that they wanted to complete the plan before the 2011 election. That looks like it won’t be possible with the new December 15 deadline for the planning commission.
Dan Gecker, supervisor for Midlothian District, said if the planning commission’s time is shorted, they will recommend against it. “And then what does the Board do, just ignore them? I don’t think so,” Gecker said.
The opinion of Matoaca District Supervisor Marleen Durfee mirrored that of her planning commissioner.
“We hired an outside consultant to tell us,” Durfee said. “So are we going to have a planning commission plan or are we going to have a plan that we paid a consultant to put together for us?” She also mentioned that the 33-member steering committee also blessed the plan.
Dale District Supervisor Jim Holland said, “Some things are important to note. I voted to give more time to the consultants and the steering committee more time, and I confer with my planning commissioner [Mr. Brown].”
In other action, the supervisors voted themselves a raise. Their current salary is $33,726. The new salary increases their pay by two percent to $34,400 for the next Board effective January 1, 2012. Henrico pays its supervisors $48,671 a year.