Until three years ago Xena frequently attended the Prince George County Board of Supervisors (BOS) meetings. The meetings were often boring or highly charged emotionally … or both.
The March 27, 2012, meeting was much of the same. She expected that the character of the meetings would have changed with a newly elected Supervisor, and different County Attorney and County Administrator.
Three of the five Board members have been on the panel for many years with the Chair having served for over thirty years. One member is just beginning his second term and the other was elected in November to his first term.
The meeting began with the carefully orchestrated order of invocation, pledge of allegiance, adoption of consent agenda, awards, recognitions, commendations and little self-deprecating jokettes. The pleasantries soon ended, however, when the pubic hearings began.
One, a rezoning application, had packed the meeting room with unfamiliar faces from other localities and a purported NAACP firebrand from Richmond. Included in the mix was a large extended family who would benefit financially from the proposed development because the property in question is landlocked and the family holds the acces to his property.
Not spoken … the elephant in the room … was that the Board was all white. The developer and the extended family were black. The opposition to the project were all white (well mostly so …one young man of color spoke in opposition to the rezoning but didn’t appear to have much conviction behind his prose.)
You know the outcome. The rezoning was denied… 4 to 1 … because of traffic safety concerns and the articulation by the Chair that the BOS was inclined to give preference to the wishes of the “neighborhood.” Hmmmmm.
Xena had found herself among and admidst the members of the extended family who, while behaving in a perfectly dignified manner, whispered all sorts of juicy gossip, allegationss and sardonic retorts under their breaths.
The applicant’s second request for special exception became moot when the rezoning request fell to the traffic safety and neighborhood concerns of the BOS.
Xena was surprised that Reid Foster, recently defeated Board member, spoke about his concerns for traffic safety. Is he attempting a come-back in four years? He did it once before. Just asking.
The public hearing on the personal property tax rate increase was anticlimatic. No member of the public spoke pro or con, though the undercurrents in the exchanges among the BOS members was palpable. Motion carried …4 to 1.