Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Pittsylvania County residents speak out on comprehensive plan

Oh, Mr. Sides! You've just divulged that you're most likely a mine investor! That means you have a serious conflict of interest with what's best for Pittsylvania Co. and should resign from the BOS immediately! How the prospect of a uranium mine can be left out of a comprehensive plan is stupefying to me! (Having served on a Planning and Zoning Commission that had to do a comprehensive plan every 5 years, I know a bit about the process.) You really said, "We honestly don’t know what’s going to happen" regarding the mine?? Where have you been for the past 2 years? There have been several presentations in your county telling you, and others, exactly what's going to happen if a mine is situated in PittCo. If I'm not mistaken, you were provided a DVD with the complete presentation on it just so you and other elected officials could see what's going to happen if you permit the uranium mine! You've had it a year...have you not watched it yet?? Geez, Mr. Sides...what have you been doing?

To ignore the possibility of something as devastating to the area as a uranium mine is utterly irresponsible. Frankly, PittCo needs to develop 2 comprehensive including the mine and the other not including the mine. They will be radically different. Much of PittCo will no longer be habitable if a mine is premitted. There will be no need for a "Cultural Heritage/Tourism Commission" since no one will be able to (or want to) tour the area once the mining commences and deadly radon gas begins to permeate everything in its path. The rich heritage of the area will be lost. Mr. Giles will be left with nothing to do! Awww! But he's drunk the VUI Kool-Aid...we've commented on it here. He knows that what he proposes is foolish in the face of a uranium mine!

Sooo, Mr.'s time for you to move on. It's apparent you have no interest in preserving or protecting what's good about Pittsylvania Co. if you've gotten to the point that you can exclude a uranium mine's presence from a comprehensive plan.

By John Crane

Published: September 22, 2009

BLAIRS — Pittsylvania County officials heard from residents during a public-input meeting on the update of its comprehensive plan Tuesday night, with one person recommending that the county form a Cultural Heritage Commission.

The 18-year-old plan covers an array of topics and provides a guideline for county development. It would be the first time the county has revamped its plan since adopting it in 1991.

The Pittsylvania County Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors will use the plan as a guide for making future land-use decisions, including those for rezonings and special-use permits, transportation improvements, public facility and economic development investments and utilities enhancements.

The document covers a plethora of subjects relating to the county including quality-of-life, economic development, the natural and cultural environment, demographics, health care, housing, education, zoning, land use and growth management, transportation, public safety and other issues. State law mandates that the county review its comprehensive plan every five years.

Glenn Giles, a Mount Hermon resident with the Pittsylvania Historical Society, said a Cultural Heritage Commission would benefit the county economically and would be tasked with developing a strategy for future programs focusing on the county’s heritage.

“…It will provide an economic development resource through the long overlooked benefits of a Cultural Heritage Tourism initiative,” Giles said during the meeting held at Chatham Middle School on Tuesday night.

A commission would also “promote the interests of culturally-endowed citizens” and coordinate “the activities of current cultural and heritage organizations,” Giles said. It would also promote county pride and knowledge among citizens and young people, Giles said.

It’s paramount that the county have a commission in place for its 250th anniversary in 2017, less than eight years away, Giles said.

Attendance at the meeting was sparse, but attendees were outspoken about their viewpoints.

George Stanhope, a Chatham resident, told county planner Greg Sides he wondered what uranium mining would do to the Chatham-Gretna area. Sides said the plan will not take a position on uranium mining and that the topic was talked about in 1991, the last time the county had a new plan.

“We honestly don’t know what’s going to happen,” Sides said.

Charles Miller, a member of the Pittsylvania County Planning Commission, said during an interview residents in the Hurt and Sycamore areas have to cross the county line into Altavista to shop because businesses have left Hurt. Also, area young people who go to college must leave the region to find a career to match their skill sets, Miller, a father of four, said.

“I’d like very much to see my family to be able to come back here and find positions commensurate with their skills and training,” Miller said.

Miller, who also serves on the Pittsylvania County School Board, said the county school district’s high-quality education system makes this area ripe for economic development.

“Pittsylvania County needs to be marketed,” Miller said.

The plan will include six goals and other strategies in a rough draft. The goals include:

• Stimulating economic activity and encouraging development supporting a healthy, stable and diverse economy.

• Anticipating and planning for population change and accommodating it in an orderly and efficient manner.

• Promoting the preservation of the natural and cultural environment for present and future residents of the county.

• Providing public services and community facilities necessary to support development as economically and efficiently as possible.

• Encouraging aesthetic, health-promoting residential communities, and providing choices in housing so that all residents may find affordable, comfortable, safe and sanitary housing.

• Promoting the efficient and financially sound operation of the county government and minimizing the financial burden on county taxpayers.

More public input meetings will be held, beginning at 7 p.m. and ending by 9. The remaining meetings are Monday at Dan River Middle School, Tuesday at Tunstall Middle School and Oct. 1 at Gretna Middle School.

The draft plan will be posted later on Pittsylvania County’s Web page at with another opportunity for public comments online. When the draft is finalized, the Planning Commission will vote whether to recommend the plan to the Board of Supervisors. The board will hold a public hearing before voting on the matter, Sides said.

Sides the plan will go before the board by the end of the year.

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