Windsor’s loss is Keysville’s gain

Published 11:53 am Saturday, December 31, 2016

Earlier this week, Dennis Carney was in his office tidying up the proverbial loose ends for his successor, whoever that might be. The Town of Windsor’s Planning and Zoning director for six years and eight months, Carney begins his new responsibility as town manager of Keysville starting this Tuesday morning. He thinks he might be the first, for up until recently the mayor had been running the town.

Located in Charlotte County, it’s got a population of 879 to 900 people. Like Windsor, it has the potential for what he called “really good economic development.”

“It has a really quaint downtown. The library is located in a Presbyterian church,” he said.

Carney’s motive is one of logistics: he needs to be closer to his wife, Laurie Watkins-Carney, and their home, which is in Buckingham County. The drive from there to Keysville is about 40 minutes, which he calls “drivable.”

The opportunity to move arose when he saw an advertisement and put in his application.

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Following graduate school, he went to work in the Planning department for South Hill during the recession of the late 1970s.

“I learned more on how to write than any other place,” Carney remembered about that job.

Following that, he went to Whiteville, North Carolina, and then returned to Virginia to become the planner for Martinsville, King William County (10 years) and Buckingham, respectively.

As for how he came to Windsor in the first place, Carney credits the recession for sending him in this direction. When he arrived — on April Fool’s Day 2010 — Michael Stallings was the Planning director, but had moved up to become town manager, and Carney filled the vacancy.

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Thinking back on the time here, he’s proud to be of assistance even in a minor way of helping the local Girl Scouts’ mural project become a reality. Carney added that it gives the town a better look and it’s something for people to remember Windsor.

Other professional accomplishments he cited include redoing the land development ordinance and making it usable, as well as completing the comprehensive plan, albeit with a little help from the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission.

“It’s more usable and makes more sense,” Carney said.

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  1. Macon Edwards III, who serves both as councilman and a planning commissioner, had only praise for Carney.

“I’m sorry to see him leave. He’s been with us for about 6 and a half years. He’s done an incredible job and I’m sorry to see him leave. He’s going to a higher position and I understand that,” said Edwards. “He’s a people person and easy to get along with. The town’s going to miss him.”

Mayor Carita Richardson shared those sentiments.

“We are going to miss Dennis a lot. He fit in so well with the Windsor community and staff. He always gave extra,” she said, citing his helping to paint the the walls in the gym of the future town center along with other volunteers.

Carney “had so much to do when he came on board. We rewrote all the land development ordinances. They were really out of date. Meantime, he doing the usual things. Also, the Planning Commission had to do a new Comprehensive Plan; [the issue of] 460 was an added difficulty.

“We’re happy for him,” Richardson said. “He deserves to be a town manager. We’re excited for him.”