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The reversion agreement, signed by the Bedford County Board of Supervisors and Bedford City Council last year cleared a major hurdle on Monday.
County Attorney Carl Boggess reported to the supervisors, at their regular Monday night meeting, that the Virginia Commission on Local Government has accepted the reversion agreement that the supervisors and Bedford City Council signed last year. The agreement, however, will require a new public hearing and another vote by the two local governing bodies, as there were some minor changes to the document. One change involves a provision that a sewer and water agreement between Bedford and Bedford County be completed by July 1, 2012. Work on this is still in progress and Boggess expects it to be completed in the fall.
Bedford County is scheduled to have its public hearing, and vote, on Aug. 13. Boggess recommends holding the hearing and vote at Bedford Science and Technology Center to be sure that there is enough space for everybody who wants to attend the hearing.
Once this is complete, Boggess said that a petition must be filed in Bedford County Circuit Court to request the Virginia Supreme Court to appoint the three-judge panel which must ultimately approve the reversion.
Reversion means that the county will have to residents will become county residents, requiring election districts for the board of supervisors and school board to be redrawn. Boggess said that he hopes that the same committee that handled redistricting following the 2010 census can be used. He also recommended that this be done in time for the 2013 local elections.
"They [the Commission on Local Government] recognized that it was a good agreement, that it was beneficial to all the parties," commented Bedford City Manager Charles Kolakowski in a phone interview.
Kolakowski, along with Boggess, attended the Commission's meeting in case the Commission members had any questions.
He said finalizing the sewer and water agreement has taken longer than expected, but that city and county staff are working on it.
"It's just a very important, complicated agreement," Kolakowski said. "We want to make sure it is done properly."
Kolakowski expects a public hearing, followed by a vote by City Council, on Aug. 14.
In business, the supervisors approved, on a 6-0 vote, a rezoning request by a Forest developer. District 6 Supervisor Annie Pollard was absent.
Andy Maddox, who built the Gables of Jefferson Commons, had purchased two parcels, each approximately an acre-and-a-half that lie between the Gables and U. S. 221 in Forest. The two parcels lie on either side of the entrance road to the Gables. Maddox said that these weren’t part of the original project but that he had purchased them so that he could control what is built there.
Maddox wanted them rezoned from C-1, on office zoning, to C-2, which allows general commercial development. He wants to build a shopping center there with high-end restaurants and coffee shops on the first floor of two structures and apartments on the upper floors. The apartments will be one and two bedroom apartments and he expects them to rent for between $750 and $1,000 per month. He said that these will be attractive to singles and young couples, but would not appeal to families, so he anticipates little impact on public schools.
The supervisors also instructed county staff to develop a plan to provide containers at certain convenience centers for county residents to dump storm debris.
“There is quite a bit of debris down,” said District 4 Supervisor John Sharp, who brought up the idea. Sharp said that the debris will become a fire hazard, once it drys out, if it isn't picked up.
County staff was instructed to implement this as soon as possible with the brush collection system remaining available through the end of the month.