April 10, 2012

MINUTES OF THE BROOKNEAL TOWN COUNCIL

7:00 PM – The regular meeting of the Brookneal Town Council

The municipal government of the Town of Brookneal met with the following members present:

Phyllis Campbell, Mayor

James Nowlin, Vice Mayor

Robert Jean, Richard Adams, Tracy Meisenbach, Mark Wilkes, and Barbara Laprade, Council Members

Russell B. Thurston, Town Manager

Bobbie Waller, Clerk/Treasurer

Mike Crews, Public Works Director

Ricky Baldwin, Chief of Police

INVOCATION AND PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE TO THE FLAG

PUBLIC HEARING CONCERNING ELITE OF VA, LLC'S APPLICATION FOR A CONDITIONAL USE PERMIT TO OPERATE A VINEYARD ALONG WITH THE PASTURING OF LIVESTOCK ANIMALS ON PROPERTY IN THE TOWN LIMITS

Mayor Campbell opened the public hearing at 7:01 p.m. Mayor Campbell said that in contacting the town attorney, Frank Wright, as she had mentioned at the March 2012 meeting, Mr. Wright said that his firm was already representing the Monroe family. She said he felt it inappropriate for him to represent both parties, so he referred the case to Mr. David Shreve in Altavista. Mr. Shreve said that according to our zoning ordinance and comprehensive plan, it would not be legal to approve this conditional use permit without making changes to both the zoning ordinance and the comprehensive plan. She said that the Council wanted to hear the public's comments tonight.

Paul Anctil of Mt. Calvary Road, Brookneal, spoke concerning the proposed vineyard on Booker Road. He said he wanted to give a little information on what the vineyard operation at Sans Soucy has done for his family and for Campbell County. He passed out some informational data for his winery concerning visitors to his winery. He said 53% of his visitors are from Virginia with 47% being outside of the state of Virginia. He said his gross sales for last year exceeded 6 figures which he said represents a good percentage of sales tax going to the county. He said they only have 6 acres which keeps him and his son employed full time. He said at harvest time, they use as many as 20 part time people. He said people that visit his vineyard ask about restaurants and lodging, and sometimes take the time to visit Red Hill. He said their Shrimp and Wine Festival at Sans Soucy drew 500 visitors, 75% of which were from out of town.

W. T. Carr said that his land joins the vineyard, and he said the Monroes have spent so much money cleaning the area, that it has helped his property values. He said it was a completely different area as far as being clean. He said Dean Monroe had spent a lot of money, and he said anything he could do to help them with the vineyard he would be glad to do it.

Tracy Meisenbach asked to speak as a citizen. Ms. Meisenbach said that as another agricultural owner in this town, she understood the concern with aligning things with the guidelines of the comprehensive plan. She said a couple of changes were made to make sure that the Town ordinances do not conflict with the comprehensive plan. She said but in reality, the Town does not have ordinances that specifically ban certain things. She said there is no ordinance that bans a vineyard in town, nor does the Town have an ordinance that bans livestock in Town. She said the change to the comprehensive plan is not as extensive an undertaking as a change to our ordinances. She said the comprehensive plan is a guideline, and at the time it was put in place, no one was thinking of a vineyard in the Town. She said on the livestock issue, rather than kill the whole thing, put in a proposal that governs how many livestock per acre. She said we need to look at what this Town needs to grow.

Mayor Campbell said that at the last Council meeting, the Council had discussed the animals and limiting a number, but at that time, Mr. Shreve had not been consulted. She said Mr. Shreve said that the Town will have to re-zone in order to grant the conditional use permit. Ms. Meisenbach said that the definition of livestock in Town is based on livestock "at large." She said if your livestock are running around loose, then you have a problem. She said the maintaining of livestock in Town is only stipulated in that you can't have them penned closer than 200 feet to a lot line, but she said a pen has never been defined in the ordinance. She said that she could understand the re-zoning if the lawyer thought it was necessary, but she said that she didn't see why we would have to do that since the Town allows conditional use permits. Mayor Campbell said that Mr. Shreve said that with all conditional use permits issued in the Town, there should have been re-zoning. Mayor Campbell said that Mr. Shreve advised that in order to be legally doing what should be done, then a property should be re-zoned when a conditional use permit is issued.

Town Manager Russell Thurston said that in the current Town code under zoning regulations, page 67, chapter 153.131, the attorney pointed out that the code says "any conditional use--all these conditions shall be in conformity with the comprehensive plan." He said that the attorney said that the Town does not allow for any use for agricultural, vineyard, livestock, or anything. Mr. Shreve said that if the Town moves forward and approves this, with the code now saying that all of the conditions of use shall be in conformity with the comprehensive plan; then, if in the future an adjoining property owner were to challenge this, the Town would have a weak defensive legal position if the Town can't prove from the comprehensive plan, where the Town Council agreed and voted to amend the comprehensive plan to support this type of use. Mr. Thurston said that the Town code covers residential, industrial, and commercial, but there is no where in the Town code that allows for agricultural use. He said that it is a lot easier to allow a house to put a home based business in, if that is already being done someplace in that jurisdiction. Mr. Thurston noted from the state code section 15.2, that a lot of zoning related cases were overturned (decisions made by the county or the town) because of not following due process. Councilperson Jean noted that he would want to do whatever is the most expedient for the vineyard. Mr. Thurston said that the language would have to be drafted for the ordinance change.

Mr. Dean Monroe noted that when it comes to towns or businesses, attitude and perception is just about all that matters. He said that if we can't change the perception of Brookneal a little bit, then nothing is going to get done. Mr. Monroe noted that he wanted to address a comment made by the town manager from the last Council meeting. He said the comment was why the town should take on the problem of a company if it makes what they are trying to do unfeasible. He said the Town does not have to take this on, if it makes it unfeasible, but he said only the really good towns or cities make their resident's problems their own. Mr. Monroe noted that as long as he was not selling a grape, he was not breaking any laws.

Councilperson Laprade noted that everyone wants the vineyard to be here and to move forward, but she said we have to attack every avenue that might come up. She said we might have a few stumbles along the way, but she said that in the end she thinks we will reach the end result that is needed.

Mr. Thurston noted he is trying to protect the vineyard operators as well as the Town of Brookneal. He said that he has looked at the law, and he has seen decisions made by Council overturned because due process was not followed, the amendments to the zoning ordinance were not handled properly, and did not align properly with the comprehensive plan. He said he would hate to see the Monroes invest a lot of money into something, and somebody come back and challenge the decision made by this Council. He said it would only take one disgruntled property owner that says due process was not followed, and a circuit court could overrule the whole thing, issue an injunction, and shut down the vineyard operations.

Mayor Campbell started to close the public hearing at 7:42, but Richard Elder asked if he could see the MSDS sheets on the chemicals that are going to be sprayed on the grapes when they are available. Mr. Gary Booker said he was in favor of the vineyard, but not the livestock. Mayor Campbell replied to this with Mr. Dean Monroe's statement at the last Council meeting, that if the animals became a nuisance, then he would take care of them. Mayor Campbell then closed the public hearing at 7:44 p.m.

PUBLIC HEARING ON PROPOSED ORDINANCE CHANGE TO THE WICKLIFFE CEMETERY ORDINANCE

Mayor Campbell opened the public hearing at 7:45 p.m. concerning the proposed ordinance change to the Wickliffe Cemetery Ordinance. She said the proposed ordinance changes the existing ordinance from limiting one body per grave to allowing 2 cremains to a grave or a casket and a cremain to a grave.

Vice Mayor Nowlin also noted that there will be a price increase for the cemetery plots at the Wickliffe Cemetery. Councilperson Meisenbach said that this change does not address an infant being buried with a parent. Mr. Nowlin said that they were not going there and the changes were a done deal.

No one from the public spoke during the hearing, so Mayor Campbell closed the public hearing at 7:48 p.m.

APPROVAL OF AGENDA

Upon motion by Robert Jean, seconded by Mark Wilkes, and unanimously carried, Council approved the agenda for the April 10, 2012, regular meeting of the Brookneal Town Council.

MINUTES

Upon motion by Barbara Laprade, seconded by Robert Jean, and unanimously carried, Council approved the March 13, 2012, Town Council meeting minutes.

TREASURER'S REPORT

Mayor Campbell asked that the April 2012 treasurer's report be filed for audit.

PRESENTATION AND APPROVAL OF INVOICES

Be it resolved that motion was made by James Nowlin, seconded by Mark Wilkes , and unanimously carried, authorizing the payment of the invoices for the period of March 14, 2012, to April 10, 2012, in the amount of $16,517.12.

PUBLIC COMMENT

No one spoke during public comment.

POLICE REPORT

Chief Ricky Baldwin distributed the police report for March 2012. He said 80% of the 68 calls for service were answered by the Brookneal Police Department. Chief Baldwin said that his department was going to be involved in the Drug Take Back Program on April 28. He said he would be collecting any expired or unused prescription or over the counter drugs from 10 am to 2 pm on that day at Food Lion. He said they would be safely disposed of by the DEA.

PUBLIC WORKS REPORT

Mr. Mike Crews, Public Works Director, said that opening ceremonies for the Dixie Youth Boys Baseball and Dixie Youth Girls Softball groups would be on Saturday, April 14.

TOWN MANAGER REPORT

Town Manager Russell Thurston said that the office staff has spent a lot of time working on the budget. He said he has also spent a lot of time working on this vineyard project. He said the Rush Street project will be starting soon, and a pre-construction meeting will be held in the next week. He said he was working with Scott Smith on the comprehensive plan. He said he had spent a lot of time working on pursing delinquent accounts.

Mr. Wilkes asked if his request at the last meeting about street signs being knocked down and missing had been checked on. Mr. Crews said that it was going to be very expensive to replace the signs. Mayor Campbell told Mr. Crews that we were going to have to have these signs for 911, and asked him to go ahead and find and order the needed signs.

• MOTION TO REVISE COMPREHENSIVE PLAN TO ACCOMMODATE THE VINEYARD

Upon motion by Robert Jean, seconded by Tracy Meisenbach, and unanimously carried, the Council voted to add to the new comprehensive plan what is needed to accommodate a vineyard and related activities.

Upon motion by Tracy Meisenbach, seconded by Robert Jean, the Council voted to follow through with changing the ordinance to issue the conditional use permit to the Monroes for the proposed vineyard.

A verbal vote was taken:

Ms. Laprade Aye Mr. Jean Aye

Mr. Adams Aye Mr. Nowlin Aye

Ms. Meisenbach Aye Mr. Wilkes Aye

Mayor Campbell Aye

MOTION TO APPROVE THE PROPOSED CHANGE TO THE WICKLIFFE CEMETERY ORDINANCE

Upon motion by James Nowlin, seconded by Robert Jean, and unanimously carried, the Council voted to change the Wickliffe Cemetery ordinance Chapter 91, section 91:16, Part D to allow for one cremain and one casket to be entered into one grave or two cremains to be entered into one grave.

FINANCE AND PLANNING COMMITTEE PRESENT THE FY12/13 BUDGET TO COUNCIL

Finance and Planning Committee chairperson Richard Adams presented a balanced budget for the general fund and the utility fund for FY13. He said the Town will absorb a 10% health insurance increase. He said there was a mandatory increase in VRS retirement of 4.5% and a 1.04% increase in VRS life insurance for FY13, and he said this budget factors in a 3rd part time police officer. He said the sewer fund has carried a deficit for many years, and he said a change to the sewer rates is factored into this budget which includes a base rate increase of $1.00, and lowering the sewer rate threshold from 4000 gallons to 2000 gallons per month. He said there was a correction on the utility fund on the last page of the expense side. He said the sewer expense side should show $3,419.60 in line 02-2401-7010 (contingency fund) which would balance the sewer fund revenue of $115,968.76 to the sewer fund expense of $115,968.76.

RECOMMENDATION TO ADVERTISE PUBLIC HEARING FOR THE FY 12/13 BUDGET

Upon motion by Richard Adams, seconded by Robert Jean, and unanimously carried, the Council voted to advertise for a public hearing on the FY2012-2013 budget with the recommendation including the general fund budget and the water and sewer fund budget along with the Personal Property Tax Relief Act for 2012.

RECOMMENDATION TO ADVERTISE PUBLIC HEARING FOR SEWER RATE INCREASE AND SEWER RATE THRESHOLD DECREASE

Upon motion by Robert Jean, seconded by Richard Adams, the Council (with Councilperson Meisenbach voting nay) voted to advertise for a public hearing for the sewer rate increase from $11.50 to $12.50, and the sewer rate threshold decrease from 4000 gallons to 2000 gallons.

A verbal vote was taken as follows:

Ms. Laprade Aye Mr. Jean Aye

Mr. Adams Aye Mr. Nowlin Aye

Ms. Meisenbach Nay Mr. Wilkes Aye

Mayor Campbell Aye

REQUEST FOR TRANSFERS OF APPROPRIATION

Upon motion by Richard Adams, seconded by Mark Wilkes, and unanimously carried, the Council voted to approve the following transfers of appropriation.

REQUEST FOR TRANSFERS OF APPROPRIATION

To: Brookneal Town Council

Date: April 10, 2012

The following Appropriation Transfers are requested for FY2012:

General Fund As of 4/10/12

Category—Expense ADD New Total Balance in Account

Recreation—Vehicles Supplies—01-7104-5408 $ 12,437.00 $13,637.00 $ 0.00

Category—Expense DELETE New Total Balance in Account

Town Manager—Hospital Ins.—01-1201-2005 $ 8,795.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00

Category--Expense DELETE New Total Balance in Account

Contingency Fund—01-8102-7010 $ 3,642.00 $ 9,316.98 $ 9,316.98

To cover the cost of a new tractor for the ball park.

General Fund As of 4/10/12

Category—Expense ADD New Total Balance in Account

Sanitation—Safety Equipment--01-4203-5801 $ 477.00 $ 1,077.00 $ 161.40

Category--Expense DELETE New Total Balance in Account

Contingency Fund—01-8102-7010 $ 477.00 $ 8,839.98 $ 8,839.98

To cover the cost of uniforms for rest of FY12.

General Fund As of 4/10/12

Category—Expense ADD New Total Balance in Account

General Property Repair—01-4302-5407 $ 500.00 $ 5,296.00 $ 460.32

Category--Expense DELETE New Total Balance in Account

Contingency Fund—01-8102-7010 $ 500.00 $ 8,339.98 $ 8,339.98

To cover the cost of general property repair for FY12.

General Fund As of 4/10/12

Category—Expense ADD New Total Balance in Account

Recreation Repairs & Maint.—01-7104-5407 $ 900.00 $ 3,028.00 $ 329.32

Category--Expense DELETE New Total Balance in Account

Contingency Fund—01-8102-7010 $ 900.00 $ 7,439.98 $ 7,439.98

To cover the cost of recreation—repairs & maintenance for FY12.

Respectfully requested by:

_________________________________

Treasurer

_________________________________

Date

COMMITTEE RECOMMENDATIONS

• CHANGE IN CEMETERY POLICY

Upon motion by James Nowlin, seconded by Mark Wilkes, and unanimously carried, the Council voted to increase the cemetery rates as follows:

• In town rates increase from $150 to $250

• Out of Town rates increase from $250 to $500

• Additional fee of $100 if more than one remains is put in one grave

(Ex#1 A casket and a cremain in one grave would cost an in town citizen $350

Ex#2 Two cremains in one grave would cost a out of town citizen $600)

Councilperson Richard Adams asked that the Council get back to looking at discussions on economic development for the Town.

ITEMS FROM TOWN COUNCIL

Councilperson Laprade asked to clarify something that was discussed in the meeting in March concerning the Wickliffe cemetery. She said the monument fee she talked about was $10 and not $50.

Councilperson Meisenbach said that while the Council was revising the comprehensive plan and ordinances, she said there are two ordinances which need more modern definitions. She said section #14 in the Town Charter discusses exhibitions which needs more definitions concerning what a "show "is. She said she was concerned about this because if "Staunton River Roe vineyard" wants to hold wine tastings, and they invite other vendors to participate, by state code, it qualifies as a fair or a show. She said this needs to be clarified as to what constitutes a show. The other ordinance she was speaking of is Section 34.131 about circuses, carnivals, dog and pony shows, or other similar shows. She said there is no definition of "dog and pony show." She said she suggested removing the term "dog and pony show." She said that since the Town is working on the vineyard issue, the Council needs to look at the ordinance that says livestock or any animal cannot be penned within 200 feet of a yard or lot line. She said "pen" needs to be defined.

ADJOURNMENT

Upon motion from James Nowlin, seconded by Richard Adams, and unanimously carried, Mayor Campbell announced that the April 10, 2012, meeting was adjourned.

___________________________                                              ____________________________

Bobbie A. Waller                                                                          Phyllis L. Campbell

Clerk/Treasurer                                                                          Mayor

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