Saturday, July 14, 2012

BZA/BoE member selection process in York Cnty & throughout VA


As my Senator suggested, this is an issue that could be taken up with the Cities & Towns committee if a good alternative is presented.  Would like to hear suggestions on new procedures.  I can understand that when the "appointees" are expected to make judgments on the actions of the "appointers" there can be an appearance of improper influence or quid pro quo concerns whether real or not.  I'll have to admit that I've not studied past actions so I can't make a judgment on that.  That said, legislators get their best ideas from citizens who have or are facing the issues. 

From my limited Freshman point of view, I'd suggest that proposals for change should be run by all involved before coming to Richmond.  Local quarrels won't get much play in the House or Senate committees; just too easy to send back until some consensus is reached.  Must also consider that changes will have implications beyond one county.

I do appreciate your effort to make sure that citizens don't feel like they are wasting their time when "fighting City Hall" or Richmond or Washington for that matter.  We have a lot of fighting to do, especially in the next 4 months.


Mike Watson, Delegate 93rd District



From: []
Sent: Saturday, July 07, 2012 8:27 AM
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Subject: China Provision & BZA/BoE member selection process in York Cnty & throughout VA


Here is Senator Tommy Norment's open minded response that many of you did not receive.



Senator Tommy,

Thank you for your response and consideration on this significant property rights/fair govt issue. I don't know the answer. However, anytime a BoS/City Council is selecting or recommending members for Boards that are set up to determine if their own County/City staff has made the correct decision that affects citizens, there is a high probability that insiders will be selected/recommended. This is not good for property rights & does not promote fair government. All we want are fair minded, knowledgeable, independent thinking citizens on these boards. What if our statewide elected officials chose them just like you choose judges? Aren't these boards set up to render opinions on individual situations like judges do?




Thank you for pointing out that we have this same scenario with the Board of Equalization.




Can you please weigh in on this issue?




In a message dated 7/6/2012 7:53:31 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time,  Senator Tommy Norment writes:

I have never looked at this appointment process. Is it established by statute; and do you have an alternative approach. Appears to be an issue the Local Government Committees of the General Assembly could take up.

-----Original Message-----
From: []
Sent: Friday, July 06, 2012 05:14 AM Eastern Standard Time
To: Norment, Thomas K., Jr.;;;;
Subject: Agenda item: FOIA : BZA Hearing outcomes in York County

Tommy, Brenda, Mike, & Gordon,

We need your help!!

We need a fair and objective Board of Zoning Appeals in York County.

For more then 10 years the BZA HAS NOT SIDED WITH A SINGLE CITIZEN on a single issue !!!!

What should be done about this?

The process is that the Bd of Supervisors(or County Administrator)  gives a list or hand selected people to the Circuit Court Judge and normally the people on the list are put on the BZA.... and then they side with the County Zoning staff, and not citizens.

This is a significant property rights issue that needs to be addressed. When citizens know that they are wasting their time "fighting city hall", it is not a good situation. We should be encouraged to stand up for what we believe our rights to be and have a fair hearing to prove it.



Fellow citizens,

Feel free to reply on this issue to our Senator & our Delegates. They are all good people that care about your property rights. They are also in a position in Richmond that they can change this "selection process" that ensures that the York County officials get people on the BZA that will side with them.

This is especially important now that York County passed the China Provision in Nov 2011 and added it to the Zoning Ordinance that determines what you can & cannot do on your private property.

Here it is, in case you missed it:


The China zoning provision:

In the event a particular use is not listed in this chapter(the chapter that lists activities you can or cannot do on your land) as a permitted use, a specially permitted use, or an administratively permitted use, and such use is not listed in section 24.1-307 as a prohibited use and is not prohibited by law, then such use shall not be permitted unless the zoning administrator shall determine whether a materially similar use exists in this chapter.

It is very clear....

If you want to do something on your property, that is not currently written in the Zoning Ordinance, & the Zoning Administrator(Zoning Czar) does not find a similar use in the Zoning Ordinance, then YOU CANNOT DO IT !!!

How else can this be interpreted?

I have attached the list of changes made in Nov 2011 if needed.

Look where else this provision is popular......

The Soviet Union's Continuing Influence on America
by James Bovard, Posted October 20, 2011

The reigning principle of legislation in the Soviet Union was "Everything is prohibited which is not specifically permitted."

If you want to read the entire article:




Sent: 7/5/2012 9:28:47 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time
Subj: RE: follow-up on your research about BZA Hearing outcomes in York County


You are correct - all appeals, other than the one you mention below, have upheld the county's decision.

- Christie

Christie P. Powell

Public Information Officer

York County, Virginia

work: 757-890-3300

cell: 757-272-3641


Thank you for your research.

Can you confirm that the BZA has not sided with a single citizen in over 10 years on a BZA Appeal?

You don't have to mention the one time that they sided with me on the helicopter issue and then sided with the County at the very next meeting thereby creating the desired result of the County to disallow helicopter landings in any area that is zoned any form of residential.



Greg Garrett
offices in Hpt Rds from Chesapeake to Williamsburg
Licensed in Virginia
cell # 757-879-1504

Please let me know who needs to buy or sell a house

Help Orphans NOW!
(click here)


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