Thursday, April 26, 2012

District 5 Report May 2012 by Supervisor Tom Shepperd

Dear Neighbors,


The District 5 Report for May 2012 is designed to keep you informed of local and state government actions that impact our homes and communities.*  Crime Watch information is included as a supplement to your local Crime Watch Program.  York County residents are added to the distribution list for the District 5 Report upon request by email to either or  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

Chairman and District 5 Representative

York County Board of Supervisors


Home (757) 868-8591

Cell (757) 604-3079


------District 5 Report May 2012*------


1.  Crime Watch Notices


a.  Door to door solicitation (Watch for the Scam Artist).  I witnessed firsthand a scam artist at work and I must say his performance was very convincing.  However, his antics did not work thanks in large part to reports from citizens like yourselves who have experienced similar scams over the years.  Here is how it went with me.  I was approached by a clean cut young man who said his name was Chad.  I estimated his age to be around 22 to 25.  He said he lived in my neighborhood.  When I asked where he lived he gave me an address at the other end of the neighborhood, described the house in relationship to other homes on the street, and even referenced the names of some residents that I know.  Chad stated that he was a UVA graduate student in an honors program working to pay for a trip to Europe as part of his graduate work.  Chad talked about the UVA program and described how the university had arranged for a team of students to interview an internationally known celebrity.  He said his dad, a retired Air Force flight surgeon, had agreed to pay for half of the trip but demanded that his son work for the other half.  The trip would cost $3,200.  As the conversation continued, Chad produced a tri-folder wallet containing a sales application to purchase magazines.  He also produced a couple of official looking documents, one of which stated that the magazines would be delivered to wounded warriors at VA hospitals of my choice in Virginia.  Wow!  This guy was hitting on every level.  However, thanks to your past reports, I said that I would not buy the magazines.  However, I offered to call his father to see if it was okay for me to contribute towards the trip.  Chad, without batting an eye, gave me his dad’s name and phone number.  He then moved on to the next house.  Later that same day a neighbor approached me with a sales slip in which her friend gave a young man named Chad $40.  She wanted to know if I thought the sale was a scam.  I recommended she use the information on the back of the receipt to call and email the company.  In the mean time, I would validate Chad’s address.  As you might expect, Chad, his home address, and the company were all fake.  I reported the situation to the Sheriff’s Office and gave them all the information I received from Chad.  An investigation, including a photo lineup of suspects, showed that all the information was bogus.  I have shared this information so that you too can be prepared for the scam artist.  Later this year, the Board of Supervisors will consider placing limitations on door to door solicitation to give law enforcement better tools in responding to this type of scam.


Scamming the unwary is becoming increasingly more sophisticated and specialized.  Not only is there the face to face scam artist but the Worldwide Web is becoming increasingly more popular as a target area.   The Sheriff’s Office reports that scams involving purchases through websites such as Craig’s List have become more common and recommends that you spend time to verify who you are dealing with.  If an items looks too good to be true, it probably is.


b.  The Sheriff’s Office reports that three individuals (two adults and one juvenile) were arrested in connection with the break-ins of homes in our area back in February.  The charges involve Grand Larceny, Breaking and Entering, Possession of Burglary Tools, and Conspiracy to Commit a Felony.  Some of the stolen items have been recovered.  Also, items stolen from unlocked cars continues to be problem.  Just the other day I received another report in which an IPod and some other items were taken from an unlocked car.  The Sheriff recommends that you lock your unprotected car during the evening hours.  Thieves have a tendency to bypass cars with locked doors.  Breaking into a locked car is noisy and risky business.


c.  Recently I was notified by homeowners in a nearby subdivision of a home in which the owner simply walked away and stopped paying the mortgage.  With no one to take care of the home, the property quickly fell into disrepair and is now having a negative impact on the surrounding homes.  County Codes and Compliance visited the residence and determined that not only was the three foot high grass in violation of County code but that several structural modifications were done to the house without the required inspections.  As a result, the house was experiencing structural integrity issues. 


The County can, in extreme cases, condemn and demolish unsafe structures.  Action by the County to bring a house into compliance with building or zoning codes quite often results in a lien on the property that can eventually result in court action or a payment due when the property is sold.  Most importantly, neighbors need to pay close attention to any unoccupied home near their property as these homes have a tendency to attract vagrants and illegal drug activity.  Do not hesitate to call the Sheriff’s Office if you believe illegal activity is occurring in an abandoned home.


Let’s work together to keep our homes and neighborhoods safe.


2.   Street Paving Schedule Impacting District 5 Residents



a. Route 17 from Newport News/York County boundary to Hampton Hwy (Rte  134)

b. Route 134 from Rte 17 to the Hampton City Line in both directions

c. Route 171 Victory Blvd., Newport News boundary to Rte 17


Surface Treatment (tar and gravel)

a. Woods of Tabb:  Willard’s Way, Terry’s Run, Walton’s Approach, Kubesh Court, Champions Path, Melvins End, Coach Hovis Drive, Chris Slade Chase, Michells Method, and Trei’s Trail E&W

b. Meadowlake Farms:  Meadowlake Road, Susan Newton Lane, Sherman Crescent, South Bowman Terrance and Jackson Circle


Slurry Seal (tar sealant):  Holleymead:  N. Bowman Terrace and S. Shannon Drive


You can contact VDOT to report a road problem by either calling 1-800-367-7623 or filling out a work order online to  On the left side of the VDOT webpage you will see a small box with an orange banner labeled “Report Road Problems.” 


York County Event Calendar:   Looking for new and exciting events to enjoy with your family and friends this year?  Then be sure to pick up a copy of the 2012 Historic Yorktown Events, Festivals, and Activities Calendar, which is packed with information for the entire year.  Event calendars may also be viewed and downloaded in a PDF format online at


6.  Board of Supervisors Actions


a.  The Budget and Tax Rates.  The BOS adopted the FY2013 budget at $127.2 million, which is an increase of $4.2 million or 3.4% from the FY2012 (current year's) budget of $123 million.  The increase in expenditures is driven by the addition of $3.9 million or 8.6% to the County's funding for school operations.  This brings the County’s support for school operations to $48.9 million.  When added to the $7.8 million for school capital and debt, the County's total for schools is $56.7 million, which is about 44.6% of the County's operating budget.  Non-school funding increased by approximately $332,000 or 0.5% bringing the total to $70.5 million. 


In order to fund the FY2013 budget it was necessary to raise the real property tax rate by 8.4 cents, which is expected to increase real property tax receipts by approximately $5.4 million.  A loss of about $2 million in machinery and tools taxes is expected due to the closing of the oil refinery and the Phillip Morris/Altria plant.  Other County revenues are expected to increase by about $800.000.


The initial $129.9 million budget proposed by the County Administrator included a proposed real property tax rate increase of 11.75 cents.   However, the Board of Supervisors reduced the Administrator’s proposed budget by $2.7 million during their many meeting and deliberations.  Major steps taken to trim back the budget included reducing the School Board’s additional funding request from $4.6 million to $3.9million, shifting the County's $800,000 voluntary Recycling Program from a tax based to a fee based system, eliminating 10.5 employee positions, (9 in Building and Grounds Maintenance, 1 in the Public Information Office and 0.5 in mosquito control) resulting in a reduction of approximately $700,000 and eliminating the $600,000 included for a proposed employee pay increase.


For those you interested in numbers, the nominal tax rate increase of 8.4 cents represents an increase of 12.8%.  However, the nominal rate of 8.4 cents only yields an effective rate increase of  5.3 cents or 7.7%.  The significance between the two rates is that nominal tax rate is simply a numbers drill while the effective tax rate shows the average actual increase.  I won’t go into greater detail on the differences between nominal and effective rates in this report but if you would like to see more detail on how to determine the two rates and what they mean, just send me an email with the request.


b.  Change in the Recycling Program.  By now you should have received a letter from the County notifying you of the changes in the recycling program.  The new service charge for curbside collection is $6.25 per month, which will appear on your bi-monthly utility bill as a charge of $12.50.  In order to receive uninterrupted curbside recycling service, you must subscribed to the new program by June 15th.  You can do so by calling 890-3780 or visiting the


In order to reduce the tax rate for the FY2013, the Board of Supervisors shifted the Recycling Program to a user fee based system.  In the past, the County has paid between $800,000 to $1 million a year to have curbside recycling service.  Despite the fact that the service was made available to approximately 22,000 households, only 11,000 participated in the program.  The County received no revenue from the curbside recycling program.  Another troubling fact with our recycling program is that in today’s hot recycling market, nearly all our recyclable products are shipped to either China or India.  These countries and many others have considerably lower standards of protection for human health and the environment.  As a result, the processing of recyclable material ends up polluting the world’s oceans and atmosphere. 


The question now is what is the future of the County’s recycling program?  The County can meet its state mandated recycling quota of 25% though commercial recycling.  The County’s contract with Tide Water Fiber for curbside recycling still has two years left on the contract.  However, the contract can be cancelled at anytime.  The downside to cancelling the recycling contract is that there will be no further curbside service.  The recycling fee of $6.25 is based on an estimated 11,000 households participating in the program.  As of this report, just over 2,200 households have signed up to recycle under the new program.  The County will be required to provide supplement revenue for the recycling program if the contract is not cancelled and less than 11,000 households participate.  If more than 11,000 households participate, the cost per month will decrease and be reflected in the bi-monthly utility bill. 


I suspect that if the 11,000 household participation point is not achieved before the June 15th, the Board of Supervisors will decide either to scrap the recycling program in its entirety or revert it back to the old program for two years.  If we revert back, the $800,000 recycling bill can be paid in FY2013 from the County’s $16 million contingency fund.  Where the funds will come from during the last year of the contract will have to be decided during the budget development process. 


c.  Application No. PD-31-12 (February 21, 2012) –  Approved a request to rezone approximately 50 acres behind the Kmart in Kiln Creek from Economic Opportunity (EO) to Planned Development Mixed Use (PDMU).  The PDMU will consist of 334 rental apartments, 94 townhouses, 16 live-above condominium or rental units, and over 40,000 square feet of commercial space. The traffic for the 444 residential units will connect both to Victory Boulevard  (Rte 171) and George Wash. Mem. Hwy (Rte 17).  Comment:  It would have been better if the entire area from behind Kmart all the way over to Route 17 could have been developed as a single planned community.  Unfortunately, the developer and property owner could not reach agreement on the land purchase price.  However, there will still be a road connecting the neighborhood to Rte 17.  The complex is expected to generate up to 151 students, which is within the capacity of our current schools.  The traffic study showed that the Level of Service for the intersections near the PDMU would decline marginally by 2018.


d.  Application No. UP-802-12 (Feb 21, 2012) – Approved a special use permit for an accessory apartment on the second story of an existing detached garage in the Edgewood neighborhood.  Comment:  Neighbors in the subdivision were opposed to the special use permit.  Arguments against the special use permit seemed to center more on the applicant’s character and the permitted land use as stipulated by homeowner association rules.  The Planning Commission, which reviews requests for special use permits from a land use perspective, recommended approval of the application.  The Board of Supervisors reviews special use permits from a much broader perspective.  Their review may include history of the applicant to comply with County code, reasons for noncompliance with code, community input, homeowner association actions, activities on the property such as noise levels, care for the property, etc.  In this particular case, arguments against the garage structure were undermined because the HOA had approved the structure and the HOA rules permitted accommodation for a live-in servant.  This essentially left the Supervisors with only considering the issue of the applicant’s character as it pertained to noncompliance with County code because the application was an after-the-fact request.  The applicant’s statement as to the reasons for the after-the-fact request were determined to be plausible and not uncommon by a majority of the Supervisors.  The applicant had relied on her builder to comply with County code, which is a very common mistake.  Since the required permits for the building were not obtained by the builder but by the applicant, the County’s Code and Compliance Department sought out the property owner to fix the violations.  The most valid argument against the special use permit came from a neighbor who complained about noise from the apartment and its proximity to bedroom.  However, these points were undercut by the fact that the applicant no long lived in the home (it is being rented) and the that the HOA had approved placement of the structure.  Also, noise issues can be addressed by calling the Sheriff’s Office.  It is important to note here that accessory apartments cannot be rented separately from the primary residents.  Also, homeowner association rules and covenants are contractual agreements established among members of the association.  The Board of Supervisors may consider HOA input during their deliberations but do not take action specifically designed to enforce HOA rules.  More often than not, HOA rules are much more restrictive than local government codes.  The significant point of this application is that while Supervisors must follow state and County codes when making their decisions, their perspective of an issue is often colored by a broad spectrum of assumptions, facts and their own experiences.


e.  Application No. UP-805-12 (March 20, 2012) – Approved a special use permit authorizing the establishment of a miniature golf course on a two acre parcel located next to the Shady Banks Shopping Center.  Access to the miniature golf course will be through the Shady Banks Shopping Center parking lot.  No additional parking is required for this project.  The facility will have three nine-hole courses with a clubhouse, restrooms building, picnic area, and a koi pond.  The clubhouse will be approximately 1,000 square feet in size and contain a walk-up windows for concessions and an area where customers will be given their golf ball and clubs.


f.  Approved resolution R12-20 (March 27, 2012) authorizing a lease agreement between the County and Yorktown Sailing Charters, LLC whereby the three-masted schooner Alliance, and the two-masted schooner Serenity will lease docking space at the Riverwalk Landing pier for river cruises.


g.  Approved resolution R12-36 (March 27, 2012) authorizing a lease agreement between the County and Captain Alexander whereby York River Charters will lease docking space at the Riverwalk Landing pier for the purpose of fishing and sightseeing cruises.


h.  Approved Ordinance No. 12-3 (R) to impose tax levies upon tangible personal property, upon machinery and tolls, upon mobile homes, and upon real estate for Calendar year 2012:


Real Estate – $0.7415

Tangible Personal Property - $4.00

Tangible Personal Property owned by a disabled veteran - $1.00

Manufactured Homes - $0.7415

Boats and watercraft weighing five tons or more - $1.00


i.  Approved resolution R12-48 to approve the budgets and appropriate funds for the County of York and the York County School division for fiscal year beginning July 1, 2012 and ending June 30, 2013


School Board Budget - $119,708,053 (Federal contribution:  $13,903,556; State contribution $55,401,165; County contribution $48,860,951; Other revenue: $1,542,381)


County Appropriations:

Education & Educational Services - $59,351,414

Public Safety - $29,498,930

Capital Outlay, Fund Transfers & Non-Departmental $8,704,664

Finance & Planning - $8,652,990

General Services - $6,411,805

Environmental & Development Services  - $3,667,002

Human Services - $3,230,897

Community Services - $2,997,116

Judicial Services - $2,677,880

General Administration - $1,999,972

Total General Fund - $127,192,670


j.  Application No. UP-800-11 – Denied a special use permit authorizing seafood harvesting as a home occupation in the York Point area.  Comment.  This is a case where no one in government knew of the code violation until the applicant approached the County to ensure his harvesting operation was grandfathered, if the zoning rules were changed.  You may recall the issue where the Board of Supervisors considered eliminating agriculture as permitted use in residential areas as a result of the state’s attempt to meddle in local zoning issues.  It was during this time that the applicant approached the County.  After nearly three hours of the public hearing, I decided to support this application because the applicant’s property abutted the water, he had been in business for nearly two years without incident, only a small portion of the business was conducted on shore, and as a result of numerous inputs from the York Point residents, the application was heavily restricted to mitigate any negative impact on the community.  In fact, this application had a provision where the special use permit would not be automatically renewed after one year.  While I do appreciate the concerns voiced my many residents of the York Point community, it seems to me that we must always be mindful of the tendency to fear the unknown and as a result, restrict actions that can be costly to all in the long run. 


k. Application No. UP-806-12 – Approved a special use permit to authorize a five-pump (10 fueling station) gas station in front of Kroger grocery store off of Victory Boulevard in the Kiln Creek area. 


* 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.

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