Rockfish Valley News: July 2022

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Nelson High School seniors Max Schneider, Ishmael Monroy, Alora Minor and Savanah Ramsey.

Rockfish Valley Ruritan Park Foundation

Ruritan members raise funds throughout the year to award scholarships to graduating Nelson High School seniors. This year’s awards were presented at the June meeting to four students. Rockfish Valley Ruritan Park Foundation awarded to Ishmael Monroy, Roseland. Rockfish-Lovingston Ruritan Club awarded Alora Minor and Savannah Ramsey. The S.O. Mawyer Citizenship Award was given to Max Schneider.

Ruritan members are asked to help maintain the Rockfish Valley Ruritan Park grounds located on the corner of Route 151 and School House Lane. The next meeting will be at the park pavilion on Monday, July 11, at 6 p.m. offering a potluck summer picnic. The meeting is an opportunity to bring a neighbor or friend to meet others and learn what Ruritans offer the community. 

Board of Supervisors

A round of applause followed the introduction of Candice McGarry as the new Nelson County Administrator at the Board of Supervisors meeting June 14. McGarry was promoted with 22 years of experience in Nelson County administration in finance and human resources. 

Board of Supervisors meetings are held monthly on the second Tuesday at 2 p.m. and open to the public. Live and recorded viewing is available on a Nelson County YouTube channel. youtube.com/ channel/UChUoY8nd FlroUccCYASY5cw/featured 

McGarry reported on a dozen items currently under review by staff, among them:

Scope of Work Contract for New Offices

The plan for a new office building for Department of Social Services, Planning and Zoning and Building Inspections is underway with a scoping document provided by PMA Architecture. County-owned land off Callowhill Drive in Lovingston is designated for the new construction. Phase 1 is the project scope and site assessment. Phase 2 will seek approval of building design, followed by Phase 3, construction. Funding is not yet determined.

Renaissance Ridge

The developers of the Renaissance Ridge housing project have submitted their preliminary site plan to County Planning and Zoning. No VDOT, DEQ, or VDH state approvals were included, so the plan will not be reviewed until these state approvals are included in a final plan. 

Albemarle County Regional Jail 

A revised member representation agreement with Nelson County was approved by Albemarle County Regional Jail (ACRJ) Board of Directors June 9 that provides for an additional Nelson County representative. An appointment of a non-serving Nelson citizen or a current Nelson Board of Supervisor will be added for the August 11 meeting. The new member will join the current staff and sheriff office members, bringing the total to three. 

In April, Nelson County had 49 inmates at ACRJ, representing 14.5% of the total jail population. The ACRJ renovation and expansion project plan is underway.

Comprehensive Plan 

A joint meeting of the Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors was held with the Berkley Group May 31. A project website has been initiated to engage with the public online at www.Nelson2042.com. The website has an “Idea Wall” for comments and concerns. A citizen survey will be available July 1-August 15 online and paper copies are also available. Workshops for the public are scheduled at 5:30 p.m. in three locations: Nelson County High School in Lovingston, July 13; Rockfish River Elementary School in Afton July 20; and at Nelson Heritage Center in Arrington August 3. Sessions will be offered in the evening for 1- to 2-hour duration. Citizens are encouraged to get involved in the survey and public workshops. 

Special Use Permits Approved

Nelson Addy, LLC (Formerly Nelson Addy) received approval for an Outdoor Entertainment Venue at the June 14 Board of Supervisors meeting. The 12.25-acre property at 56 Rodes Farm Drive in Nellysford is zoned SE-1 Service Enterprise (Tax Map Parcels #22-A-39 and 39A). Ernie Reed, supervisor of the district where the property is located, was the sole vote against the approval. 

An approval was also granted for general advertising signs for the Blue Mountain Barrel House to have a large sign on Route 29 to direct motorists to the location on Cooperative Way. 

VDOT Planning for the Future

In the June 14 meeting, the Board of Supervisors also reviewed a presentation by Rick Youngblood, VDOT District Planning Manager. A Smart Scale project application required approval to prioritize state funding for transportation infrastructure improvements.  

Discussion and approval of proposed projects included Route 29 and Front Street signalized R-Cut intersection to replace the only traffic light in Nelson County, with a special intersection cut to decrease travel time through the intersection. 

A second improvement was sought for Route 151 to replace the uncontrolled Route 6 T-intersection with a single lane roundabout to reduce conflict and improve capacity. 

The intersection improvements of Route 151 at Tanbark Road include regrade of the embankment for visibility of Rt. 151, curve radius modification, and new stop signs and bars at the intersection. 

Youngblood said a new Route 151 study is coming this fall to update the study VDOT completed in 2014. He said VDOT is planning to have in-person meetings and an online survey as part of the effort.

Fireman’s Carnival Returns

Rockfish Valley Volunteer Fire Department is hosting the summer carnival again at their Rockfish Valley Highway location in Afton. Mark your calendars for this family style event on August 4-6 from 5 to 10 p.m. Potential vendors and volunteers are asked to call Lindsey Craig at (540) 649-0916. The raffle for the grand prize—a 2022 Yamaha Kodiak 4×4—and cash prizes will be held Saturday, August 5.

Deep Roots Milling at Woodson’s Mill

The historic Woodson’s Mill, circa 1794, was reopened last year in full operation as Deep Roots Milling (DRM), the only water-powered mill still in operation in Virginia. The team at DRM includes Charlie Wade, Aaron Grigsby (lead miller), and Ian Gamble, a wood-fired oven builder. The team rotates their presence at local Saturday markets, including the Nelson Farm Market from 8:30 a.m. until noon in Nellysford. Mill tours and sales are offered monthly at Mill Race Markets, located off Rt. 151 at 3211 Lowesville Road in Roseland. August through December tour and sale dates and vendor information are available at www.deeprootsmilling.com/mill-race-market.

DRM is one of eleven food and farming projects throughout Virginia to be awarded state matching grant funding. The money will upgrade the mill’s third floor to create a sifting room and to purchase new bagging equipment. 

Skate Nelson JAM Festival Fundraiser

In a final event at the Rockfish Valley Community Center (RVCC) Skate-ramp, the 7th Annual SK8 Festival will be hosted on Saturday, July 23, from 4 to 9 p.m., rain or shine. Skate competitions and lessons, live music, food and beverage, vendor fair, raffles and more are part of this family event. Min Pin skate jam session begins at 4 p.m. and the Best Trick Competition runs from 5 to 8 p.m. Admission is $8 in advance and $10 at the gate with kids 12 and under free. Proceeds go to pay the annual insurance cost for operating this free Skate Park at RVCC, a 501c(3) non-profit. Live music with local musicians including Sally Rose in Shagwuf, 7th Grade Girl Fight, Quincy Kaine Morris and Lionel Jones.

Sponsors include Blue Mountain Brewery, Cardinal Point Winery, Bold Rock Cider, Mike Bailey Farmers Insurance, Cville Skates, Action for All, Blue Ridge Bucha, Upper Level Screen-printing and Strangehouse Skateshop. Vendors and sponsors are welcome to contact [email protected] for information. 

Leadership Change at Rockfish River Elementary School

Jody Coffey, RRES assistant principal, has been promoted to principal effective July 1. Coffey has been in her role at RRES for four years following classroom teaching in Augusta County for 12 years. She holds a master’s degree in education and supervision from Shenandoah University. 

Chrystal Choate has served as principal for the past ten years at RRES and was appointed as Supervisor of Human Resources and Communication for the Nelson County Public School Division. She will address employee turnover and strengthening recruitment efforts. 

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