Residents at a town hall meeting White Hall District Supervisor Ann Mallek held Nov. 16 at the White Hall Community Building raised concerns over illegal hunting, intoxicated drivers leaving local wineries and the future of county solid waste services.
Albemarle County Police Chief Steve Sellers said that tips from residents in the area had resulted in the arrest of two men who were spotlighting deer from roadsides along Rt. 810. The county now has three game wardens working in it, he noted, and more attention is being paid to hunting violations. He asked citizens to help the police with information and said they are particularly desirous of car identifiers.
Mallek urged residents to take pictures of car license plates with their cell phones.
One resident raised a worry over drivers leaving local wineries after a day of touring and tippling. Others in the crowd agreed with the concern but said they do not blame the wineries for the problem. Well Hung Vineyard owner Kathy Rash was present and though her winery does not have a tasting room, she said wineries are concerned, too, because they have seen some patrons leave in less than good shape. Vineyards should be allowed to have kitchens and serve more substantial food than nuts and crackers, she said.
One citizen expressed alarm over the closing of the Ivy transfer station, which will require western Albemarle residents to haul some forms of trash—tires, paint, appliances, mattresses, yard debris—to Fluvanna County to dispose of them.
Mallek said that the Ivy transfer station was meant to be a self-sustaining operation but that after the City of Charlottesville “moved away from sending their trash there,” (others might see it as abandoning their obligation to the Rivanna Solid Waste Authority, a joint creation of the City and Albemarle County) that volume went down and the transfer station began to need an annual subsidy. Mallek said that one of three “convenience centers” planned to replace the transfer station will be near Crozet in a location that has not been found yet. She suggested the Acme location as a possibility.
The center would be fenced, manned, and have roll-off containers for household trash and recyclables. It will not be available for commercial waste. Each of the convenience centers planned will cost about $400,000 to build, roughly the amount of the county’s annual subsidy.
“I hate to see Ivy close,” said Herbert McAllister. “I’d hate to have to go to Zion Crossroads.”
Mallek said she is becoming interested in the idea that the county would secure the state permit the RWSA now holds and devise a plan to keep Ivy, which is set up to handle anything, open. “We need to restructure what we’re doing,” she said.
Elbert Dale praised Mallek for her efforts to stop roadside chemical spraying to control vegetation. “There’s too much use of chemicals,” he said. “Many are now known to be dangerous that we were assured were safe.”
At a town hall meeting Mallek hosted three days later in the Crozet Library community room, residents raised the landfill issue as well.
“Why can’t Ivy stay open?” asked Paul Grady. “Why spend money to make something somewhere else? We need the hazardous waste days.” He said the public also needs access to the mulch Ivy generates and that the station’s “encore store” was a helpful place to find items that are still useable.
Russell Gough told Mallek, “The county should spend the money to keep Ivy open.”
Mallek said she would “push for the county to get the RSWA’s permit” and added, “We’ve dropped the ball on this.”
Citizens again raised illegal hunting as a concern and police Lt. Greg Jenkins, commander of the western district, said that the police now have plain clothes and decoy operations going to catch hunting law violators. He said the county has recently filed about 20 charges against “five or six individuals.” Rifle season goes through mid-January in Albemarle. He said there has been a problem with deer carcasses being thrown off bridges into creeks.
Year–to-date crime statistics for Sector 8, which includes Crozet, are: 21 DUI arrests, 183 larcenies or vandalisms with 149 arrests, and 10 burglaries with four still unsolved, Jenkins said. There have been 54 car accidents in the sector in the last month.
Since the department went to 10-hour shifts in November, officer morale is up, Jenkins said, and there have been 34 extra patrols in his district.
Mallek said the idea of using the Crozet depot as a police station is now percolating in the county’s capital budgeting process and “floating a year out.”
Citizens raised the problem of professional firefighters not being able to volunteer with the volunteer stations such as the CVFD. Mallek said the policy was based on “risk aversion to federal labor standards,” though neighboring counties do allow it so long as the firefighter does not volunteer at the station he is normally employed at. No firefighter is paid at the CVFD so it is hard to see how coercion by an employer, even subtle, could be in play there. “I’ve known the volunteers all my life,” said Mallek, “and the benefits [from their service] are far greater than the risks.”