Planning discusses CIP, 460, landscaping

Published 10:40 am Saturday, January 30, 2016

Back after a two-month absence, the Windsor Planning Commission met on Wednesday evening, and members were asked to consider the proposed 2016-2020 Capital Improvements Plan and then forward their comments and feelings to Planning and Zoning Administrator Dennis Carney or even Town Manager Michael Stallings. A public hearing is not required in this instance.

“Each year as part of the budget process,” Carney stated, “the Town sends a proposed CIP [which isa list of major projects for the next five fiscal years] to the Planning Commission pursuant to the Code of Virginia. In the past, this has been late in the process and more of a formality. The staff wants Planning’s input into the CIP process. Members are asked for comments and feelings.”

He mentioned as an example that somebody has asked about the placement of a parking lot in the town cemetery.

The updated draft will be presented at the next meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 17, at 7 p.m.

PC Chairman Bennie Brown took a moment to welcome Edward Lynch to the panel. A 12-year resident of the town, Lynch occupies the seat previously occupied by Mike Jones, who resigned in October because of moving outside of Windsor.

Debra Hicks was also welcomed back after a necessary absence of a few months.

In the matter of the proposed Route 460 northern bypass, Carney noted that Jan. 20 was the deadline for public comment to the Army Corps of Engineers. At the enlarged map in council chambers — available to the public during business hours — he noted that the interchange at 258 is not part of the plan.

“There will be a second step,” Carney said. “Last year in the General Assembly, the HB2 process came into play, where cost and the impact of a road [comes in to play]. This road is not in the hopper, so to speak, then it would goes to GA.

“The conflict continues.”

Brown asked about the Southern Environmental Law Center’s recent counter proposal, which is not part of of ACOE’s immediate consideration.

Essentially, the SELC recommends rebuilding the existing 460.

Town Attorney Wallace Brittle noted that SELC has “a lot of horsepower” and usually wins its cases.

PC member Glynn Willis said the plan gives the ACOE an alternative.

“Something might really happen in two years, or it’ll be just a dead project,” Carney said.

Stubbs asked about lack of interchange, to which Carney said wetlands was the consideration in that decision.

Willis added that the Virginia Department of Transportation’s proposal is significantly different from the public hearing last year at Windsor High School.

Speaking of proposals, the town commission also got a report on a workshop opportunity with the Citizens Institute on Rural Design. This is a national competition, and Carney said he had no idea of the town’s chances. The cost is $10,000 to match a grant of the same amount.

The closest that the director knew of a Virginia location that’s benefited from expert designers is in Pembroke.

“They gave them a battle plan for designing their downtown. It’s small-town oriented, which I think would really fit our situation,” said Carney. On a related matter, he added, “There is funding for a formation of an arts council. What’s come out of the mural project last year is an interest in the arts.” He’s looking to see if anyone would be willing to organize a non-profit, and the town could apply for a $5,000 grant to get the organization started — seed money, as he put it.

On the issue of landscaping for new or enlarged developments or businesses, a list of trees and shrubs was offered, including Southern Magnolia, White Oak and Green Mountain, Flowering Dogwood and Forsythia, to name a few.

The suggestion was made to speak with garden clubs to vet that list.