Powhatan Supervisor Jim Icenhour of James City County’s board sent a message this week to local Democrats, outlining his concerns with the current Comprehensive Plan and asking them to share their thoughts at Wednesday evening’s public hearing on the plan.
In August, Icenhour sent a fundraising letter to his constituents suggesting the board had failed to control growth in the county. In the letter he also said since the election of Republicans Jim Kennedy, Mary Jones and re-election of Bruce Goodson, the board has approved 100 percent of the 775 new residential units proposed in 2008. He categorizes them as “developer-funded candidates.”
Kennedy and Goodson argued that Icenhour was using the issue to spur his campaign, though he’s running unopposed. Read more about it here.
While he didn’t go on the attack against his Republican counterparts in his most recent message, he did reiterate some of his concerns about growth and about the divide citizens seem to feel exists between their ideas and that of local government leaders.
He points out that a recent survey of county residents found that 83 percent think development is happening too quickly, 60 percent do not approve of the overall direction local government is taking, and 70 percent don’t feel that the local government listens to them. This survey has been quoted often by various planning commissioners during their discussions about the draft of the Comp Plan.
He also discusses build out, or the population estimate if all parcels are developed based on current zoning. His estimate is that under the current plan, build-out population could be as high as 200,000, though during plan discussions, a figure of around 180,000 was used (the build out according to the 2003 Comp Plan).
The average residential home, he says, costs the county about $1,000 more a year in services than it produces in tax revenues, so an additional 58,000 homes (if build out were to be reached) would cost the county an extra $58 million.
Some questions he says need to be answered are why the current Comp Plan draft doesn’t control population or define a sustainable population based on availability of current resources like water.
“The Board’s record on growth speaks for itself,” he says. “In the past decade it has approved 93 percent of the 6,020 proposed residential units it considered. If we don’t slow this development binge, our community will be irreparably harmed.”
He asks Democrats to do two things to address these issues on the Comp Plan: “First, forward this email to as many of your friends in the county as possible and ask them to attend the public hearing. A packed Board room is hard to ignore. Second, make plans to attend the public hearing yourself and voice your views on the Comp Plan. If you cannot attend, email your thoughts to the seven commissioners listed.”
The meeting is at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday in Building F at the County Government Building.