Sunday, December 26, 2021

Top post: Commotion at the Clubhouse

I noticed a lot of sheriffs deputies at the clubhouse around noon. Anyone know what was going on? ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌
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Wednesday, December 15, 2021

York County District 5 Report - December 2021 by Supervisor Tom Shepperd

Dear Neighbors,

The purpose of the District 5 Report is to keep you up to date on activities
in and around our area. Residents and homeowner associations are encouraged
to share the information with others in their communities. For those who do
not receive the report, I will gladly add you to the distribution list upon
request to either or Please include
your name and address in the request. Comments and questions are always
welcome. You can reach me at the phone numbers and email addresses listed
below my name.* I greatly appreciate your help in disseminating the report
to other residents of our communities.



Thomas G. Shepperd, Jr.
District 5 Representative
York County Board of Supervisors

(C) 757-903-1875
(H) 757-868-8591

........................June 2021 District 5 Report.................

1. Announcements:

a. Real Estate Assessment - Every two years property owners in York County
receive their real estate assessment. You should receive yours by December
31st. Over the past couple of years, we have seen a significant jump in
home prices due to high demand and the limited availability of homes. The
County assessors have been somewhat conservative in their assessments, and
we can expect to see on average between 7 to 12 percent increase for
residential property. Commercial property assessments will be flat to down
while apartments and timeshares will be up. Keep in mind that the County's
assessment may not reflect the actual market value of your property.
Several ways to determine your property's market value is to review the sale
price of homes in and around your property and to discuss with your
insurance company what it would cost to replace your home. For example,
USAA will show you what your home is insured for and what it will cost to
replace it. Probably the most accurate way to value your home is to hire a
professional assessor. However, if you are not selling your home, just
doing a little research will give you a pretty good idea of its value. The
assessment you receive from the County will become effective on January 1st.
The assessment will be used by the County to determine your annual property
tax once the Board of Supervisors sets the tax rate in May 2022. In the
meantime, you can use the current tax rate of $.795 per $100 of assessed
value to get an idea of what your property tax will be in 2022.

The County assessment you receive in the mail will provide you with
information on how to appeal your home's assessed value. Options for
appealing the assessment include calling the Assessor's Office, applying to
the court appointed Board of Equalization or filing suit in Circuit Court
and having your appeal heard by a judge. Keep in mind that there are time
limits for each appeal. Complete details about the appeals process are
available on the Real Estate Assessment website at<>. When you get to the website
select "Government" then select "Real Estate Assessment ." The appeal
process will be on the left side of the Real Estate Assessment page.

b. Sports Tourism - Creating a family friendly indoor complex in the
Williamsburg area has been discussed for years. The idea is that such a
complex will enhance our competitive position as a tourism market.
Currently, York County receives about $15 million a year in revenue from
tourism. York County is a small county and, to make the economics of
constructing and operating a successful sports facility, requires partnering
with other municipalities such as the City of Williamsburg and James City
County. We recognize that all three communities receive tourism dollars and
see the value in leveraging a small portion of the tourism income to grow
the tourism business.

The City of Williamsburg has taken a position that it will provide some
capital for construction. The Greater Williamsburg Tourism Council has a
reserve fund for tourism projects, which should be available to complete the
required construction and the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation has offered
its Visitors Center property as the site for the new sports complex. The
advantage of the site is that it includes existing infrastructure, a
convenient location for all three localities and excellent interstate access
for future sports tourism participants. The successful construction and
operation of the tourism facility represents one of the most innovative and
complex intergovernmental projects ever undertaken by the three localities
of the Historic Triangle. It is not achievable without the collaboration of
all three jurisdictions.

c. Fire Station 7 - The County is converting the Crossroads Community Youth
Home to a new fire station in the upper part of the County. The new fire
station will be designated as Fire Station Number 7. The property is owned
by the City of Williamsburg and will be leased to the County for $5000.00 a
year. The conversion will cost about $3.5 million and include the
construction of a pre-engineered metal building with 3 drive-through bays
and associated mechanical, electrical, and plumbing work.

d. ARPA funds - The American Recovery Plan Act (ARPA) was signed into law
March 11, 2021 and provided $1.9 trillion nationally in response to the
negative economic impact of Covid-19. The Act provided $4.3 billion to
Virginia for allocation to local governments though the General Assembly.
In addition, the ARPA also provide State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds
(SLFRF) directly to local governments. York County will receive $13.3
million through SLFRF. There are restrictions for use of these funds and
since the funds are non-recurring, the County Administrator is recommending
that we apply 80% of the money to cover items in the County's and School's
Capital Improvement Programs. The remaining 20% will be divided equally to
provide community support and to meet one-time County needs.

e. Redistricting - The York County Planning Department presented options
for redistricting based on requirements stemming from the 2020 census. The
County population now stands at 70,045. The average annual growth rate for
the past 10 years is 0.7%, which is the lowest since the 1950's. The
current population by election districts is District 1 - 15,220, District 2
- 12,836, District 3 - 14,805, District 4 - 13,446 and District 5 - 13,738.
To ensure equal representation, the district lines will need to be adjusted
so that the population for each district falls between 14,743 and 13,339,
which is historically an allowable 5% variation. The future growth in
housing is an aspect of the census that is being considered. Based on
future housing units in the development pipeline, District 1 will have 1,890
new homes over the next 10 years. The other districts will have: District 2
- 367 units, District 3 - 762 units, District 4 - 121 units, and District 5
- 73 units. The Supervisors can take future growth into consideration as
long as the population variation remains with 5% for each district.
Currently, we are waiting to see what the state proposes for the General
Assembly and federal congressional boundaries. We need to understand the
impact of split districts.

2. Crime in York County - Over the past 20 years, I've provided crime
watch updates and for 20 years the number one crime in our County continues
to be larceny from vehicles. Larceny means stealing something. This year
there have been 195 cases in York County. The best way to prevent these
larcenies is to remove valuables from the car and lock the car doors. Out
of every 100 larcenies from vehicle cases approximately 99 involve unlocked
cars. Also, you might want to remove keys from your car. There were over
30 reported cases of stolen vehicles in York County. Other crimes of note
this year were the theft of over 60 catalytic converters. Catalytic
converters are required for your vehicle to protect the environment. They
can cost thousands of dollars to replace. Security cameras, parking in a
lighted area, and even etching your vehicles VIN number or license plate on
the converter can help deter catalytic converter crimes.

It never ceases to amaze me the number of copycat crimes that pop up after a
serious incident. The recent incident at Oxford High School in Michigan
where four people were killed and seven injured has led to at least 20
juveniles on the southside of Hampton Roads and now three high schoolers in
York County being arrested for threatening to kill teachers and students or
blowing up a school. Thanks to an attentive parent and the quick action of
York County School Department and Sheriff's Department personnel, a
potential ugly incident at Grafton High School was averted. There are
several lessons here for parents and kids that need to be restated. First,
threatening to kill, harm, or do damage to someone particularly on school
property is taken very, very seriously. While a child may think it's funny
to pull such a stupid prank, in the end after seeing the embarrassment and
financial hardship the action can cause the family and spending time in
juvenile lockup can be an attitude changer. Also, just saying you're sorry
and that you didn't really mean it, doesn't cut it. You are now in the
court system, which can drag on for months if not years. The second big
lesson is that paying attention and reporting a potentially dangerous
situation is critical to stopping the chain of events that can lead to
tragedy. Parents, please talk with your children about what they should do
if they hear, see, or receive information concerning a potential threat.
For the parents and even the children, you can call the 24/7 non-emergency
dispatch number at 890-3621, to be put in contact with a deputy to discuss
the situation. Whenever in doubt, call 911. Finally, parents we have a
right to bear arms, but we also have a responsibility to ensure firearm
safety, which includes training and storage. Apparently, the parents of
the child involved in the Oxford HS incident failed on both counts and now
face charges of involuntary manslaughter.

3. Transportation Update.

a. I-64 Widening Project on the Peninsula - The widening of I-64 from
Jefferson Avenue to the Lightfoot exit is now complete. It is amazing to
see the tremendous construction progress taking place along the I-64
corridor since 2015. The three segments of the I-64 widening cost
approximately $532 million. The citizens of the 14 local governments that
make up Hampton Roads paid about 60 percent of the total cost of the
project. This is a great example of what can be accomplished when the state
and federal governments get out of the way and allow local governments to
work together to solve regional problems.

b. Wythe Creek Road (Rt. 172) Widening Project - The project is on schedule
with the primary purpose of providing improved emergency evacuation. The
project will start in the City of Hampton and proceed to the City of
Poquoson. Plans include a new 1,544-foot bridge over the causeway. The
bridge will be elevated about 11 feet, which puts it above the 100-year
flood plain and has 3 lanes towards the City of Hampton. There will be
significant intersection improvements at the Carys Chapel Road intersection
to include the installation of a traffic light, crosswalk, and sidewalks.
The old bridge will be reduced in size for use by pedestrians and
bicyclists. The project will encompass road widening from Langley Boulevard
in the City of Hampton to 700 feet north of Huntlandia Way in the City of
Poquoson. Utility relocation started in 2020 and the project was advertised
in the fall of 2020. Completion of the project is estimated to be in 2024.

4 . Development Update:

a. Proposed Lotz Acres Development - Celestial Way is the name of a
proposed by-right development in District 5. The property connects at Big
Bethel Road near the stream out flow next to the New Bethel Baptist Church
and expands out on the raw land that lies between the neighborhoods of Lotz
Acres Estate and Tequesta Village. The County has not received a
development plan, but it appears that Celestial Way will most likely connect
to Lotz Acres Estate by way of the stub streets on Heavens Way and Orion
Court. To develop the property, Mr. Lotz would be required to divert the
current stream that flows across the property. This would result in an
unsightly and not environmentally friendly 20-foot wide by 4-feet deep
concrete ditch that diverts the stormwater around the perimeter of the
property. The County has proposed a stream restoration project that will
provide a more esthetically pleasing and environmentally friendly solution.
The restoration is called the Moore's Creek Stream Restoration Project,
which is fitting considering that the original Moore's Creek Project
resulted in outflow stormwater from Woodlake Crossing being deposited across
Mr. Lotz's property. Mr. Lotz is in favor of the stream restoration
project, which will save him the cost of diverting the stream. However, the
development will have to be reduced by 4 or 5 lots to accommodate the
restoration. The County has discussed the stream restoration with the
Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ). DEQ believes the
restoration is a good candidate for a State Local Assistance Fund Grant
because of the positive impact it will have on the Chesapeake Bay.
Restoration projects not only help the Bay but also meet requirements of the
Federal Clean Water Act by providing credit towards reducing the County's
Total Maximum Daily Load of sediment, phosphorus and nitrates discharge.
The Moore's Creek Stream Restoration Project is a Capital Improvement
Project proposed in the FY2023 Budget with construction slated for FY2024.

b. Hampton Road Sanitation District Pressure Reducing Station (PRS) and
Tank Project - Recap: HRSD purchased the 26-acre parcel behind Tabb High
School for the purpose of constructing a facility that would help in
managing the sewer flow and pressure along two major sewer truck lines that
intersect in the area. The project will consist of a partial below ground
PRS and two 2.3 million gallon above ground tanks. This is not a sewer
treatment project.

HRSD conducted an Open House meeting on September 9th at Tabb High School to
present the project and receive comments. About 25 people attended.
Written comments received by HRSD can be found online at<>. As a result of the meeting, HRSD
conducted an analysis to determine if there was a viable site option other
than the current property behind the Tabb Fire Station. The analysis looked
at vacant land of suitable size (7.5 acres) within a one-mile radius of the
current proposed site and found 3 potential sites. It was determined from
the analysis that that the current property provided the best option for the
PRS and tanks. On November 12th, I met with the HRSD Staff to receive an
update on the planning. My takeaway from the meeting is that HRSD will
select Site 2, which is next to the powerlines. Site 2 provides additional
distance from the homes in the Holly Meade neighborhood and more spacing
from the Tabb High School property. The project is currently in the design
phase with 50% expected to be completed this winter and 90% in the Spring of
2022. The final design will be in the Summer of 2022 with construction
beginning in the Fall. Construction is expected to be completed in the
Spring of 2024.

5. Summary of Board of Supervisors Actions:

a. Approved Resolution 21-98 to approve a two-year extension of a Special
Use Permit for a solar energy facility on 380 acres off Penniman Road in the
northern part of the County.

b. Approved Resolution 21-93 to approve a Special Use Permit that allowed
the Magruder-Tabb Animal Hospital to relocate from its current location to a
new 3.2-acre site at 3525 Hampton Highway, which is next to the Yorkshire
Downs neighborhood.

c. Approved Ordinance No. 21-25 establishing the interest rate on payments
made to the County and eliminating fees for certain electronic checks
returned for no account/unable to locate or invalid account number.

d. Approved Resolution 21-106 to endorse a proposed sidewalk construction
project under the federal transportation alternative set-aside program and
approved Resolution 21-107 to approve and endorse York County's FY 2023
request for funding through the revenue sharing program for transportation.
Comment: These resolutions continue our work toward providing walkway and
bike ways throughout the County. Evaluation of project will be based on
criteria such as: (1) Utility in linking neighborhoods; (2) Community
support i.e., do residents along the corridor want the sidewalk/bikeway; (3)
Feasibility i.e., reasonable cost; (4) Compliance with State/Federal
Standards, which allows for use of State and Federal funds.

e. Approved Resolution 21-113 to modify an agreement between the County and
the Hampton Roads Criminal Justice Training Academy to permit improvements
for law enforcement training at York-Poquoson Sheriff's Office Firearms
Facility in York County.

f. Approved Resolution 21-110 to authorize the County Administrator to
execute a contract to provide construction services for the site work for
the Sheriff's Department building on Goodwin Neck Road.

g. Approved Resolution 21-129 to execute an amendment to the contract with
Metro Fiber Networks, Inc. for the expansion of dark fiber to the upper
County facilities. Comment: Dark fiber increases bandwidth by over 10,000
percent. Dark fiber, which is used in the lower end of the County for Fire
and Life Safety, is not available in the upper County. The installation of
dark fiber will provide a more reliable and secure system for Fire Stations
Number 3, Number 5, and Number 7.

h. Approve Resolution 21-130 to authorize payment of retention bonuses to
state supported law enforcement personnel from state funding and to all
other County full time employees with exception of department directors and
senior management from existing appropriated funds. Comment: The state
approved $3,000 hazard pay bonus for state supported positions in the
Sheriff's Department, which is approximately 50% of the department. To
insure we retain trained staff, the Board of Supervisors approved a
retention supplement of $3,000 for all uniformed public safety personnel and
Emergency Communications Telecommunicators (911 folks) and $1,500 for all
other full-time staff members.

i. Approved Resolution 21-144 to approve an automotive oil change service
building located at 4507 Geo. Wash. Mem. Hwy., which is the empty corner lot
at the intersection of Rt.17 and Oriana Road. Comment: It has taken nearly
20 years to complete the redevelopment of the intersection.

j. Approved Resolution 21-148, a concurrent resolution with the City of
Williamsburg, James City County, and York County to create the Historic
Triangle Recreations Facilities Authority.

k. Approved Resolution 21-154 to authorize the extension of the County's
sewer system to the Victory at Tabb development, which is at the corner of
Meadowlake Road and Hampton Highway.

* Comments and opinions expressed in the District 5 Report are authorized
and approved by me and do not necessarily represent the position of other
elected representatives. All email correspondence to and from this address
is subject to the Virginia Freedom of Information Act and to the Virginia
Public Records Act, which may result in monitoring and disclosure to third
parties, including law enforcement.

Wednesday, December 8, 2021

The Jefferson Journal: Youngkin To Withdraw From RGGI, End Carbon Tax

The Jefferson Journal
Youngkin to Withdraw from RGGI,
End Carbon Tax
By Stephen D. Haner
12/8/2021 -- Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin told a business group audience Wednesday afternoon that he intends to withdraw Virginia from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. His decision came two days after Dominion Energy Virginia filed a petition to increase the RGGI tax on its bills by 83 percent next year. 
“RGGI describes itself as a regional market for carbon,” Youngkin told a meeting of the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce. “But it is really a carbon tax that is fully passed on to ratepayers. It is a bad deal for Virginians. It is a bad deal for business and as governor, I will withdraw us from RGGI by executive action. I promised to lower the cost of living in Virginia and this is just the beginning.”
The Thomas Jefferson Institute for Public Policy sought to dissuade the state from joining RGGI and imposing this carbon tax and has reported on the development and imposition of Dominion’s bill added to collect it. We applaud this decision, knowing that Youngkin may face a struggle to implement it. 
Virginia has been part of the interstate tax, cap and trade compact for a year now. Every large electrical generating facility in the state must buy allowances in a multi-state auction equal to the number of tons of carbon dioxide its operations will emit. With the only large fleet of Virginia coal and gas generators, this is basically about Dominion Energy Virginia and its 2.6 million customer accounts.
During the four RGGI allowance auctions held in 2021, Virginia collected about $228 million from the sale of CO2 allowances.  Dominion has been buying them since 2020, but in September of this year added a cost line to all of its customer bills to collect that money back from customers, with interest and even some profit. 
The State Corporation Commission reviewed and approved an initial charge of $2.39 per 1,000 kilowatt hours of usage, starting this past September, but that was always a backward-looking figure. Allowance costs have been far higher than originally projected by the Governor Ralph Northam administration when it peddled this idea to the General Assembly. The knowing underestimate is also something the Jefferson Institute warned about years ago. 
Looking at the 2021 RGGI allowance costs, on December 6 Dominion sent the SCC its first annual update for the special charge on its bills. It wants to increase that $2.39 per 1,000 kWh to $4.37, an 83 percent jump in just one cycle. Even that may not be enough for Dominion to have fully recovered the cost of RGGI allowances it will have used in its first two years.  
The first auction in 2021 set a price of $7.60 per ton of CO2 emitted, and by the fourth and final 2021 auction last week that has risen to $13 per ton.  Dominion’s new request is based on a projected $10.53 per ton. That won’t cover the full tab going forward and they know it.
All customers pay this tax, of course, not just residential users. All customers of any size pay the same amount, with no volume discount. So $4.37 per kWh represents an even higher percentage of the typical bill for a large industrial or commercial user.  The SCC’s process for reviewing this will have to proceed despite Youngkin’s announcement, which at this point is just a proposal. If he succeeds with the withdrawal, Dominion will likely still recover its costs to that point. 
The previous governor, Terry McAuliffe, started the process of requiring electric utilities to pay for carbon allowances as a proposed air pollution regulation. The General Assembly split on partisan lines on the proposal with Republicans throwing up roadblocks when they had the votes. Once the Democrats won full control in the 2019 election RGGI proceeded.
The 2020 Virginia Clean Economy Act and other bills “authorized” the executive branch to participate in RGGI and implement the regulation, but no law mandates that Virginia remain in RGGI and continue to require the allowances. The Memorandum of Understanding behind the interstate compact allows for withdrawal by member states upon notice. Regulations can be amended or appealed within the executive branch. 
Youngkin’s exact plan or timetable for extraction was not detailed. Other laws passed under Governor Northam create broad goals for reducing or eliminating the use of fossil fuels throughout the Virginia economy, including for power production, and if those transformations take place as planned those higher costs are also coming the way of Virginia consumers. 
First out of the box with a comment today was future Speaker of the House Todd Gilbert, R-Shenandoah, praising Youngkin’s decision while also pointing out that Virginia was already reducing its CO2 emissions before any RGGI tax was created.
"When a policy costs the public a significant amount of money for no tangible benefit, that policy should be examined carefully, and if practical, rolled back. Governor-elect Youngkin's announcement is a perfect example of the common-sense decision making we've been missing for the past 8 years," Gilbert wrote. 
Stephen D. Haner is Senior Fellow for the Thomas Jefferson Institute for Public Policy. He may be reached at
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