The Amherst County Board of Supervisors recently interviewed Madison Heights resident Leslie Irvin for potential appointment to the Amherst County Service Authority’s board of directors.
Supervisors in recent months decided to open up the five-member ACSA board, which for more than 60 years has been composed of members of the board of supervisors, to two citizens. Wesley B. Wells, a local business owner and part-time farmer, in January became the first citizen appointee out of three applicants interviewed at the time.
Irvin, a former member of the Amherst County School Board and the Amherst County Planning Commission, said he is a customer of the authority, which provides water and sewer services to a portion of county residents. He said he considers the authority as playing a major role in potential growth and development.
“It’s going to be key to seeing us grow Amherst County in a designated growth area,” Irvin said.
He said the county hasn’t done as good a job in that area compared to localities such as Bedford County, particularly the Forest community, because of successful development. “They’ve got plenty of money because they did a good job developing.”
He said during the interview he knows how to work well with boards and described himself as a leader. While previously on the county’s planning commission he said he was against a previously proposed cell tower locating next to Elon Elementary School, a plan that failed moved to forward. “I did not want to landlock that school if it needed future expansion,” Irvin said of his opposition to the tower.
When asked during the interview if he’s willing to commit time to serve on the ASCA board, he said, “I’m retired. I’ve got all day.”
The board still is in the process of interviewing for the second open seat and did not take action on the matter during its March 17 meeting.
In another matter, the board voted to rearrange the representation of two members of the Amherst County Planning Commission, Derin Foor and Catherine Gamble. Foor, who has represented the District 2 seat, is moving outside the district and Gamble, who lives in District 2, has served as an at-large member. The board agreed to flip their roles after Foor and Gamble requested it.
Gamble also addressed the board during a public comments portion of the meeting and asked the county to put together a taskforce to review the county’s comprehensive plan and county ordinances to make sure departments and offices of county government are operating on the same page.
She brought forward concerns on the village district, saying the county has designated the Virginia 130 corridor as a scenic byway to preserve views of the mountain backdrop but residents in the Elon area are “being plagued with the possibility of a hideous cellphone tower blocking their view from Tobacco Row Mountain.” Gamble was referring to a proposed 195-foot-tall cell tower Verizon Wireless is proposing for 801 Phyllis Lea Drive that drew heavy opposition from nearby property owners at a Feb. 20 public hearing the commission held on the company’s request for a special exception. The board postponed issuing a recommendation and the matter remains under review.
Gamble also said she is concerned with how the village district’s language pertains to storefronts. She feels the county has not been specific enough in areas such as road frontage and signage. She mentioned a Dollar General store planned to locate in the village of Elon, which received recent site plan approval from commissioners.
“I do not want to see the village district end up with signage like Madison Heights where everything is competing for visual attention,” Gamble said.
Tucker said the county’s attorney, Michael Lockaby, is working on the county’s review of those areas. The board also reappointed Gamble to an at-large seat on the Amherst County Board of Zoning Appeals.
Reach Justin Faulconer at (434) 385-5551.