The Mecklenburg Board of Supervisors have finally moved forward with a plan for the Confederate Monument located in Courthouse Square in Boydton. After both the Town of Boydton and the Sons of the Confederate Veterans requested possession of the statue. Both organizations were given a 30 day period to propose a new location for the statue.
The Town of Boydton has proposed to the Board relocating the monument to the Presbyterian Church graveyard off of Highway 58.
As we heard in the last meeting, both the Town of Boydton and the Sons of the Confederate Veterans would work together to find a new location for the statue. However, some Board Members expressed concern over which organization would be receiving possession of the statue. David Brankley stated, “My understanding was that the Sons of the Confederate Veterans wanted us to give the statue to them and they were working with the Town of Boydton to have a place to put it which is up there at the church.”
Brankley was concerned that if possession of the statue was given to the Town of Boydton, 20 or 30 years down the road the Town could make the decision to dispose of the statue which against the wishes of the Sons of the Confederate Veterans.
County Attorney Russell Slayton explained that Virginia Code states that in this case the Town of Boydton, identified by the code as a favored group, “can come forward and express a desire to take possession of the monument. The code does not say if you are mandated to give it to them.” Mr. Slayton advised that if possible, the Board should donate the statue to Boydton with the condition that if it is relocated somewhere down the line, the Sons of Confederacy will be consulted.
Finally—after minutes of discussion and clarification—the Board made a motion to, “[transfer] its ownership and interest in the monument jointly to the Town of Boydton and the Sons of the Confederate Veterans, on the condition that the county is paying for relocation to the Boydton Cemetery—the designated spot—and the implication of joint ownership is that each entity would have to agree if there is to be a future relocation of the monument.”
Wayne Carter shared that he had spoken to Mr. Jefferson—who has relocated two other monuments in Brunswick and Greenville—regarding a quote for the cost of relocation. Mr. Jefferson gave a $62,300 estimate that would include the cost of a foundation for the new location.
After speaking with Russell Slayton, the Board voted to reject the initial bid of $62,300 for relocation. They adopted a motion that directs staff to solicit bids for relocation that comply with Virginia Code.
The Board held a public hearing for the Microsoft Corporation’s application to rezone 13.97 acres from agricultural to industrial land. As representatives from the corporation explained, “This parcel is a residual remnant from previous land transactions on the north end of the BN campus. When we started looking at siting this…processing center warehouse, we realized we had some cleanup to do with the parcels. This parcel had not been rezoned from agricultural to M1 as all the other parcels within the BN campus are.”
Microsoft plans to rezone the parcel, then seek to recombine all of the parcels it purchased to facilitate site development for the circular cloud processing center that was referenced in their application. The building that will be constructed will be a warehouse facility that will, “be used as a staging area within the secure campus perimeter when upgrading and outfitting data centers. As upgrades are made, this will be a shipping and receiving warehouse on the facility which does not currently exist in that capacity.”
The planning commission unanimously recommended that the Board adopt this rezoning application; the Board voted according to the planning committee.
An application was also submitted by the Friends of the Meherrin River to amend Article 20 zoning ordinance. Mr. Hendrick explained that this organization has hired an attorney that recommends amending certain sections of the Article 20 to make things stricter for solar farms. The planning committee listened to all of the recommendations amendments and recommended that the Board deny this application, however, they did find some of the amendments interesting.
Wayne Carter elaborated, “Their concern is that—based upon what has happened at both the Grasshopper and Bluestone projects (runoff, etc.)—they want some additional conditions put up for any future permit—especially special exemption permits. Many of the things that are in his proposal I don’t even think by law you can do…The commission, when they listened to it, felt there was some worth in what he was proposing on some of the items, especially with regards to erosion and sediment control requirements.” Brankley proposed waiting until the public is able to attend meetings again so the public can have an input on the proposals.
The Board voted unanimously to deny the application as was recommended by the Planning Commission.
Regarding COVID, Jon Taylor relayed to the Board that Mecklenburg County, “[is] up to 173 active cases that we know of…That’s the highest that it’s been without an outbreak, so this is all community spread we’re seeing right now. Actually it’s much worse than before…As far as the vaccine side of it, right now we’ve vaccinated roughly 120 first responders, EMS, fire, and have started into law enforcement last week. Hopefully we’ll be knocking some more of that out…” The County will continue with vaccination efforts and hopes to see a change in numbers following this effort.
The Board reappointed Lisa Gillespie for the Mecklenburg/Brunswick Regional Airport Commission.
They also adopted a resolution honoring Jeff Hinkle, the retiring Executive Director of the Roanoke River Service Authority. Barbour stated, “Jeff was there from day one. So, we are doing a resolution to honor his tenure in helping to actually develop the whole system. We wish him well in his retirement.”
Another resolution was brought forth honoring Denise Hite, Executive Director of the FSA in Mecklenburg County. Denise has served as part of the FSA for roughly 35 years, and has been a member of Mecklenburg’s FSA for about 15-20.