IW county amends fireworks, Chesapeake Bay ordinances

Published 9:46 am Monday, June 19, 2017

Isle of Wight County’s Board of Supervisors voted unanimously at its meeting on Thursday evening to amend its ordinance prohibiting the sale of certain types of fireworks to allow sellers to provide either a bond or certificate of insurance in order to sell legally within the county. Previously, the county’s fireworks ordinance had only allowed sellers with a bond. The ordinance’s restrictions on the types of fireworks that may be sold and used remain the same, that being only those that do not explode into the air.

They also voted to amend a provision of the county’s Chesapeake Bay Preservation Area Ordinance to allow for landowners of lots developed prior to 1989 that meet three conditions to be able to apply for an exemption to the ordinance administratively rather than going before the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors.

Those conditions are that “encroachments into the buffer area shall be the minimum necessary to achieve a reasonable build-able area for a principal structure and necessary utilities,” “where practicable, a vegetated area that will maximize water quality protection, mitigate the effects of the buffer encroachment and is equal to the area of encroachment into the buffer area shall be established elsewhere on the lot or parcel” and “the encroachment may not extend into the seaward 50 feet of the buffer.”

With the changes to the ordinance, those seeking an exemption who’s lots meet the above requirements can appeal to Isle of Wight’s planning and zoning director, Amy Ring, or assistant planning and zoning director, Richard Rudnicki, thereby incurring less administrative fees than if they were to go through the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors.

The vote on the changes to the Chesapeake Bay ordinance was likewise passed unanimously. However, Newport District Supervisor William McCarty said he wanted to make sure the board and planning commission were both kept informed of any approved exemptions. Smithfield District Supervisor Dick Grice suggested adding any Chesapeake Bay ordinance exemptions to the county administrator’s report during meetings. The board also suggested having a report completed after one year to measure how effective this new wording is in streamlining the administrative process.

The board also finalized its bylaws for a proposed storm water advisory committee, which specify a total of nine members, seven of which will be voting members. The committee will be tasked with making recommendations for prioritizing the county’s upcoming storm water projects.

The group will include one representative from each of the county’s five voting districts, plus one representative each from the towns of Windsor and Smithfield. The remaining two seats will be filled by members of the Board of Supervisors, who will serve as liaisons and be non-voting members. Grice and McCarty both volunteered to be on the committee.

Each district’s supervisor will recommend a representative to the committee from that area. Representatives from each town will be recommended by the town managers.

The board then approved $32,125 in economic development retention grants to be distributed to businesses negatively impacted by the county’s adjustment to the way it calculates machinery and tools taxes. The grants constitute a one-time adjustment to the county’s machinery and tools tax rate for fiscal year 2017-2018 and will not be offered in subsequent fiscal years.

They also voted to memorialize their intentions in the form of a resolution to deduct funds previously authorized for Isle of Wight County Schools annually until the $7.9 million career and technical education program loan is paid off.

The final action the board took that evening was to transfer $15,600 from its contingency fund to its debt service fund to cover cost of services provided by Davenport and Company last year when the board opened a line of credit to cover potential costs related to its machinery and tools tax adjustments.

Assistant County Administrator Don Robertson said that though the county ended up not needing the line of credit, it still must pay the associated costs. He said this should not be considered money down the drain, however, since the county still has access to the line of credit should they ever need it.