JCC Supes Share Thoughts on Tree Preservation, Timbering and More

July 28th, 2011 by Desiree Parker

The James City County Board of Supervisors hashed out their ideas on tree preservation, timbering and sound walls during discussion Tuesday about the ordinance update that is currently underway.

During their several hours of discussion on the zoning ordinance update, the Board agreed to add incentives for planting more trees on land to be developed; they supported staff’s new policy plan for sounds walls though one member had reservations; and they decided to reach out to land owners before making a decision on changing the county’s tree harvesting ordinance.

Staff offered a revised draft of the landscaping ordinance to include tree preservation. The new ordinance would require, among other things, a tree preservation plan for new developments.

Board members were generally supportive of the change, but Supervisor John McGlennon argued the county should go further by not just minimizing the reduction of trees but by actively restoring the tree population.

The focus of the Comprehensive Plan is sustainability, he argued, so the county should “look for ways to achieve those objectives.”

The Board agreed to have staff include language that would offer developers incentives for adding more trees.

Supervisor Jim Icenhour pointed out that the ordinance change regarding a tree preservation plan pertains to developments other than residential ones, and he suggested they be included.

Supervisor Bruce Goodson was concerned that builders of single-family residences would need to spend a lot of additional money to have someone complete a site plan of the area, and didn’t like Icenhour’s idea for that reason.

Staff suggested a tree preservation plan could be offered as a proffer by developers of residential areas.

Supervisors also discussed a new policy draft staff developed that would establish new sound wall guidelines that includes better communication with the Virginia Department of Transportation on the design and creation of the walls.

Staff pointed out that the county could not create an ordinance that would attempt to regulate VDOT, but that VDOT agreed to work within the new policy as much as possible.

McGlennon shared his reservations about the use of sound walls in general, and said sound walls are “a reflection of a failure” in the planning process that allows high-speed roads too close to residential areas.

“We’ve used sound walls to address [this] failure,” he said. “My preference would be for our policy to avoid sounds walls by proper planning” by keeping these sorts of roads further from residential areas.

Staff told the board that the circumstance is avoided when possible, and that VDOT actually decides when a sound wall is needed, not the county.

During their meeting, the board considered three various options for updating the county’s timbering ordinance for any future timbering operations.

Staff suggested an option that would ensure a company planning to timber would offer verbal notice to the county of their intent, while the Planning Commission’s Policy Committee favored a written notice.

There is already ordinance language that discusses setbacks of timbering operations within the Primary Service Area, but the planning commission’s favored option also includes language that requires any timbering in General Agricultural Land outside the PSA and near a Community Character Corridor to have a 50-foot buffer.

Staff said they had not yet discussed the options with land owners who might be affected by any changes.

Board Chairman Mary Jones said she “would be uncomfortable moving forward [on a decision] without getting input from [affected] property owners.”

Supervisor Jim Kennedy said he had heard from his constituents and several of them were concerned about the plan and didn’t understand it very well. He also wanted more information on the feasibility of some of the requirements.

Staff will reach out to affected property owners and get some more information for the board.

The ordinance update is now in its second stage, which means staff is presenting drafts to the Board for feedback. The board looked at many more proposed changes Tuesday evening than the few discussed above; citizens can read the drafts discussed on the county website or watch the video of the work session.

10 Responses to JCC Supes Share Thoughts on Tree Preservation, Timbering and More

  1. Anonymous

    July 28, 2011 at 12:42 pm

    Is that much time and energy really saved by not typing 5 more letters when referring to our elected representatives?

    Calling our duly elected representatives “supes” is profanatory, not only to the office and it’s occupant, but also to the electorate these people represent.

    These Supervisors have been duly elected to represent the citizens of James City County and some actually do!

    My point is not that of elitism, it actually is about the responsible leadership displayed in setting the appropriate tone of respect in civil discourse. With such behavior by the media, it comes as no surprise that certain members of the public and even certain elected representatives show no limits in their disregard and disrespect for manners, decency and respect of their fellow citizens and colleagues or that such appalling behavior often goes unreported, because it is so unfortunately common.

    Again, calling our duly elected representatives “supes” is profanatory, not only to the office and it’s occupant, but also to the electorate these people represent.

    Who’s next the Dels, Sens, Cons (no pun intended), Govs or Pres…

    To agree or disagree with them is one thing. To show such deliberate and consistent disrespect of others something else entirely. Is it any wonder why so many in this community have no respect for others property and only consider their own self-interests before attacking others. What ever happened to civility and manners? Where is the respect or honesty in any of these stories? Is this “what democracy looks like”

    Ms.Parker and WYD Editors, excepting a few recent articles and headlines such as this, many have been impressed by your actual reporting of late. Please continue to do so factually and respectfully!

  2. Anonymous

    July 28, 2011 at 1:00 pm

    I would think a 50 ft buffer may help make a real difference along street views for both locals and visitors to our area. Rt 5 in Charles City County was once written up as one of the top 5 scenic routes in the SE in Southern Living Magazine – enticing tourists to add this to their vacation plans and in turn having a positive affect on Plantation tours, extending their stay, etc. Now, when I drive that route, I see the ugly remains of decimated forests behind thin veils of trees. What is that amount of setback?

  3. Anonymous

    July 28, 2011 at 1:36 pm

    Sound walls do not have to be a bad thing. I have seen stretches of the wall along I-64/CSX corridor in Newport News where trumpet vines have completely obscured the wall from view. One really has to make an effort to notice that there is a wall there.

  4. Anonymous

    July 28, 2011 at 2:27 pm

    Civil Discourse,

    We have the utmost respect for all people and groups we report on, and always use proper titles in news articles we publish. It is important, though, to keep headlines as short and succinct as possible, and for this reason we often shorten words or phrases (this is why we use JCC instead of spelling out James City County, and why we use info instead of the word information in headlines).

    Thank you for reading WYDaily, and for taking the time out to consider such matters and share your thoughts with us.

  5. Anonymous

    July 28, 2011 at 5:23 pm

    Ms. Parker,
    Thank you for your comment and respecting journalistic integrity of late. Many are commenting specifically regarding your efforts, as unfortunately your general respect for reporting and respect for other has seemed sorely lacking by others.

    Many consider the lack of 5 letters profanitory and quite disrespectful, which is why the specific example of Congress was eluded to. To abbreviate such could mislead some to consider something other than the respectful acknowledgement of those elected to represent US, whether deserving or not.

    Civility of discourse, or the lack thereof, seems to be taking on a whole new meaning lately and we are simply asking that you respect and acknowledge your leadership role and positively contributing to that dialog, as you have so admirably done with your reporting.

    Yesterdays headline referencing Board warranted no such comment, nor would simply eliminating JCC in lieu of the addition of 1 letter in order to properly call our elected representatives Supervisors while maintaining your concise headline.

    Leadership, both good and bad, does set the tone of respectful and civil discourse and again your overall objective reporting of late exemplifies this positive request, so again we thank you for you efforts in helping to restore Honor in your profession.

  6. Anonymous

    July 28, 2011 at 5:25 pm

    One way to address the timber issue in the comp plan is to leave A1 as A1 and stop the residential sprawl into A1. Timber harvests are a good thing, but only if they are allowed to continue, they are bad if after a timber harvest the land is sold to a developer/rezoned & houses built where trees were farmed.. then you need preservation ordinances.. duh..

  7. Anonymous

    July 28, 2011 at 5:26 pm

    Too bad there wasn’t a tree preservation plan in place before developers just took out way too many trees in Pointe at Jamestown neighborhood. Trees were removed where houses aren’t being built (set aside green space area), and way too close to the Greenspring Trail/Mainland Farm. Very sad and unsightly.

  8. Anonymous

    July 28, 2011 at 6:27 pm

    More trees, yes. But let’s make them native trees
    that benefit insects and birds. White oaks, for example, provide food for some 500 different insects, who in turn provide food for song birds. Most of the landscaping trees and shrubs offered by greenhouses are non-native material which do not provide sustenance to native wildlife.

  9. Anonymous

    July 28, 2011 at 7:58 pm

    Oh deer.
    Literally, the deer decimate native species. That is why greenhouses have to provide somewhat exotic species that will not be destroyed by the overpopulation of deer.

    [quote name=”Gadfly”]More trees, yes. But let’s make them native trees
    that benefit insects and birds. White oaks, for example, provide food for some 500 different insects, who in turn provide food for song birds. Most of the landscaping trees and shrubs offered by greenhouses are non-native material which do not provide sustenance to native wildlife.[/quote]

  10. Anonymous

    July 28, 2011 at 8:15 pm

    If you want to visually see what a 50 foot buffer looks like, checkout Court House Commons. It buffers nothing. A 100 foot buffer should be implemented.

You must be logged in to post a comment Login