Letter – Preventable fiascos by IW
Published 3:41 pm Tuesday, February 7, 2023
Editor, The Smithfield Times:
The Smithfield Times’ edition of Feb. 1 illustrates two of the many failures of Isle of Wight County government to protect the taxpayers’ hard-earned money from being wasted.
Regarding the article “Isle of Wight repays IP $8.3 million,” those who have followed this issue in the newspaper are aware that the cost could have been reduced by stopping litigation and saving the legal fees by returning the money to IP in a timely manner. Yet those county officials responsible for this fiasco suffered no consequences.
Next is the “Stoup property sold for $100.000” article. County officials rationalized this action by noting that the seven lots totaling 1.07 acres that make up the Stoup property contain “very little usable space” since much of the land is in a resource protection area, or RPA. The county continued to elaborate that its Chesapeake Bay preservation ordinance mandates a 100-foot-wide vegetated buffer adjacent to an RPA and that development is prohibited in the buffer area for the purpose of minimizing soil erosion.
But the aerial photograph of the property accompanying the article shows that most of the RPA space has been destroyed and devoid of vegetation by the “rip-rap” used for erosion protection. Presenting the RPA regulations by county officials as a factor for devaluing the property appears to be an excuse but brings a wider issue.
Those in the county owning properties affected by the RPA regulations are robbed by the 100-foot buffer rule with no compensation, which in fact affects how those properties’ acreages are taxed and not allowed to be used, which is a clear case of violation of property rights. Additionally the RPA regulations, in my opinion, appear to be selectively enforced since it looks like more vegetation was destroyed in 2022 in some of these areas than in the previous 10 years with the passive witnessing/consenting of those in charge of the program.
Jose E Hernandez