Monday, July 19, 2010

Fwd: York County District 5 Report July - August 2010

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Thomas Shepperd <>
Date: Jul 19, 2010 8:36 AM
Subject: York County District 5 Report July - August 2010
To: Thomas Shepperd <>

Dear Neighbors,


The District 5 Report for July - August 2010 is provided with the intent of keeping you informed about local and state government actions that could impact our homes and communities.  The Report is produced about every two months and distributed to residents on the York County District 5 Report email list.  I will gladly add you to the distribution list upon request to or  Please include your name and address in the request.  All information is kept confidential.  Residents and homeowner associations are encouraged to share the information with others within their communities.  Comments and questions are always welcome.  You can reach me at the phone numbers and email addresses listed below my name.  I greatly appreciate your help in disseminating the report to other residents of our communities.




Tom Shepperd

District 5 Representative

York County Board of Supervisors


Home (757) 868-8591, Office (757) 225-2108

Fax (757) 890-4082


------District 5 Report August 2010*------


1.  Crime Watch – District 5 has been relatively quiet except for the brush fires in Running Man.  In early July, several brush fires were reported near the power lines in Running Man.  It took over four days with fire fighter help from Newport News and as far north as the Naval Weapons Station to finally extinguish all fires, which appear to jump locations.  We were fortunate in that only 30-acres were burned.  Thank heavens for light winds!  Continuing dry conditions make fires particularly dangerous for all homes bordering the wooded area between Victory Boulevard and Running Man Trail.   I encourage residents along the wooded area to remove all dried plant material away your home until we receive a substantial amount of rain.

             For everyone, several young people were observed in the power line area before the fires and, in talking to a previous resident of the Lotz Acres neighborhood, children have been caught setting fires in the wooded area in prior years.  Do not hesitate to dial 911 to report suspicious behavior or a fire.


2.   York County Ratings – If you want to know why people want to live in York County, just consider the following:


            a.  On June 15, the Daily Press reported that in Newsweek's "America's Best High Schools" in which 27,000 high schools were ranked based on "how hard schools work to challenge students with Advanced Placement level courses and tests," York County high schools ranked as follows:  York HS – 270; Bruton HS – 491; Tabb HS – 651; Grafton HS – 877.   Awesome!  The complete list of the top 1600 schools can be viewed at


            b.  Rankings on the health of all U.S counties was released in February 17, 2010 by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in cooperation with the University of Wisconsin's Population Health Institute.  Out of 132 cities and counties in Virginia, York County ranked 5th overall.   You can see a complete list of the rankings and health factors by visiting


3. Development News – Several residents have asked me about the land clearing that is taking place on the left side of Victory Boulevard as you enter the City of Poquoson.   There are three projects underway along Victory Boulevard.  One is the Moore Creek Phase 2B, which runs from near Fire Station 2 to the corner of Calthrop Neck Road.  Another project is the HRSD capacity upgrade, which includes all the large steel pipes stacked along the road.  The large clearing just as you enter Poquoson is a city economic development effort in which the land is cleared to entice a perspective business developer.  The land has undergone Corps of Engineer permitting and the clearing must be accomplished before the permits expire.  Currently, there are is no specific development plan for the site.


4.  Board of Supervisors Actions


            a.  On a vote of 4 to 1 the Supervisors rejected a proposal to eliminate the York County Wetlands Board.  Comment:  The Wetlands Board is comprised of citizen volunteers who address issues concerning the development of the shoreline.  The Wetlands Board provides a means by which waterfront property owners can have their proposed projects reviewed and ruled on in a timely manner without undue delay.  York County's awarding winning Wetlands Board provides a significant contribution in the ongoing effort to balance the desires of the property owner with the requirement to minimize the negative impact of development on the coastal environment.


            b.  Unanimously approved modification of the firearms discharge ordinance.   The approved Ordinance No. 09-8 (R-2) modified Section 16-7 of the County Code by:


                        (1)  Removing restrictions on the discharge of pneumatic guns in the County

                        (2)  Added the Wythe Creek Farms, Sherwood Forest, Overlook Point and Villas on Shady Banks subdivisions to the list of neighborhoods where the discharge of firearms is prohibited

                        (3)  Requires notification to the school of an intent to discharge a firearm between 300 to 1,000 feet of a school.   Discharging a firearm within 300 feet of a school is still prohibited.


                        Comment:  The Board of Supervisors will conduct a public hearing on Tuesday,  July 20, 2010 to consider eliminating the County's restrictions on the discharge of firearms.  Sheriff Danny Diggs has proposed that the County's current restrictions are nearly impossible to enforce.   The Sheriff points out that state code covers nearly all possible circumstances involving the dangerous handling of firearms and that the history of firearm arrest does not warrant a more restrictive County code.  Due to the sensitive nature of this proposal, I have suggested and the other Supervisors agreed that the County will contact all homeowner associations with notice of the public hearing.  If you want to be heard on this issue, you may participate in the public hearing, which takes place in Historic Yorktown at York Hall located at the corner of Ballard Street and Main Street.  Public hearings begin at 7 p.m.  You will be allowed 3 minutes to address the Board of Supervisors when your name is called.  Another option is to send an email to  The email will go to all the Supervisors.


            c.  Unanimously approved Ordinance No. 10-10, which eliminated the requirement for a Tot Lot/Picnic Area on East Bristol Lane in the Yorkshire Downs subdivision.  Comment:  The Tot Lot/Picnic Area was an original subdivision requirement that became a community problem area.  The site was no longer required by the County or desired by the homeowners associations.


            d.  Unanimously approved the Secondary Road Program, which allocated $1.3 million for road projects over the next 6 years.  Comment:  VDOT is significantly short of road project funds and the $1.3 million allocated to York County is insufficient for road construction.  For example, the road improvement projects at the intersections of Big Bethel Road and Victory Boulevard and Big Bethel Road and Hampton Highway, cost just over $2.4 million.    Unless the County is allocated additional state funding, the Secondary Road Program for all practical purposes is dead.


5.  Hurricane Questions.  Hurricane season does not end until November 30th.  Recently, a homeowner asked a few questions concerning hurricane preparation that I thought might be of interest to you.


            a.  How will hurricane information be disseminated to the public? (I heard of a new system implemented by the authorities in Poquoson).  Answer:  York County provides information via public media outlets, the internet at, as well as through an agreement with 99.1 FM.  Additionally, the Virginia Department of Emergency Management Public Information Officer/Public Affairs Staff will be providing information via both traditional (media) and non-traditional means (e.g. social media).


            b.  What to do with water / natural gas / electricity supply to our homes in case of an evacuation?  Answer:  The Country's website has evacuation preparedness information including recommendations to lock your home and shut off the water and electricity, but leave the gas on unless instructed otherwise. The specific decision must be made by the homeowner--for example some homeowners may decide to leave the main power on but unplug most major electronics and appliances hoping that electricity may not be lost and thus refrigerators or freezers may continue to operate. If, however, power is lost for a lengthy period of time the food stuffs may spoil. 


            c. We are the happy owners of a whole house generator with an automatic transfer switch. Should we leave that active when evacuating our home?   Answer:  Congratulations on having a whole house generator. We recommend obtaining information from the generators manufacturer and when in doubt, shut the generator off.  This recommendation is consistent with our above recommendation to shut off the water and electricity, if evacuating.  We did seek information from other sources for guidance and received similar input as provided here.  


            d.  In case of an evacuation should we leave our houses open for inspection or should we lock everything preventing possible burglary?  Answer:  It is not recommended that you leave your home accessible (i.e. unlocked).  County officials including emergency responders will not enter your home without your knowledge unless there is an emergency situation that requires them to so, such as a fire, major structural damage, search for occupants and/or perceived or unknown life safety/hazardous situation. 


            e. I suggest a card to be attached to the front door, showing relief workers that the house concerned has been evacuated also presenting a way to reach the owners (i.e. telephone number).  Answer:  The County website provides a recommendation for you to leave a note and/or notify a neighbor of your whereabouts if you evacuate.  Your note can be left inside your residence and therefore would be accessible if we absolutely had to gain entry.  The preferred method would be to notify a neighbor that may remain in the area.  While we understand and appreciate your suggestion, we also realize that everyone in today's society marches to the beat of their own drum and may not be as well intentioned as we would like to hope.  The card, while a wonderful device to alert County officials and emergency responders would also serve as a placard that no one is home and therefore could make your residence an easy target for unlawful persons. 


* Comments and opinions expressed in this report do not necessarily represent the position of other members of the York County Board of Supervisors.  If you wish to obtain comments from members of the Board of Supervisors, please visit the York County website at  Supervisor contact information is located on the website under the title "County Government."  Homeowner Associations are encouraged to use portions of this report in preparing their association newsletters.

Alexander of York

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