VaNews for Franklin County
Virginia's Supreme Court ruled in favor this week of a home school family in Franklin County.
As we first reported in 2018, the Sosebee family filed a legal complaint against the Franklin County school board.
It was over a policy implemented in July 2017 that required home school families to submit to the school board a copy of their child's birth certificate and proof of residency.
The judge described Virginia’s pipeline surveying law as a “legislative failure” but said Monday that he felt compelled to enforce it.
The extended family that owns and operates Four Corners Farm in Franklin County repelled surveyors working for Mountain Valley Pipeline five times over the course of about 13 months.
After a hearing Monday, Franklin County Circuit Court Judge William Alexander ordered the family not to interfere the next time surveyors come calling
The Supreme Court of Virginia has agreed to hear another appeal challenging a controversial state law that allows surveyors for natural gas pipeline companies to enter private property without an owner’s consent.
Chuck Lollar, a Norfolk-based lawyer representing six landowners along the route of the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline, said he learned this week that the full court will hear the appeal filed in May.
David Paylor, director of the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, listened Thursday afternoon to residents of a small community in Giles County who are destined to live in a “high consequence area” if the Mountain Valley Pipeline project moves forward.
Later, on Thursday evening, Paylor heard from residents of Roanoke County and Franklin County who, like their counterparts in and around the village of Newport, fear the pipeline could divert or taint the pristine waters that sustain them.
About 9:20 a.m., Carolyn Reilly heard from across Teel Creek the cracking sound of a branch snapping. Seconds later, the sound repeated.
“Here they come,” she said.
On Thursday, Reilly and her family worked together to anticipate, encounter and peacefully repel from their Franklin County farm a crew of surveyors working for Mountain Valley Pipeline.
At least three Franklin County school board members were surprised to learn the school division had sent an information request to the board of supervisors under the state open-records law, which they viewed as an adversarial move.
School Board Chairman G.B. Washburn directed district Superintendent Mark Church in December to send a request under the Virginia Freedom of Information Act for requirements documents and feasibility studies for other county projects.
Though the Interstate 73 highway project has long been stalled, Franklin County and other localities in the region haven’t given up on the idea of a faster link to North Carolina.
At its November meeting, the Franklin County Board of Supervisors was visited by key players in moving the project forward: Sen. Bill Stanley, R-Franklin County, and Rob Catron with Alcalde & Fay — Virginia, a lobbying firm hired as a project advocate.
Rob and Pat Leonard sat and waited to be summoned for a three-minute session with a stenographer.
The Leonards came to Franklin County High School Wednesday night to articulate their emphatic belief that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has produced a woefully inadequate draft environmental impact statement for the proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline.
They were not alone in that assessment.
The Franklin County Board of Supervisors voted not to sell an easement to Mountain Valley Pipeline for land in the county’s new 550-acre business park.
The decision came after supervisors heard impassioned pleas against the sale from nearly 20 pipeline opponents during a Tuesday night public hearing, which became heated at times. Numerous speakers said that entering into an easement agreement before the pipeline has been approved would be premature and urged the board to wait.
The company that hopes to bury a 42-inch diameter, high-pressure natural gas pipeline through the region has been buying easements for the project from private property owners for sums that range from about $600 to more than $160,000.
In regional courthouses in recent weeks, Mountain Valley Pipeline filed dozens of permanent easement agreements with property owners in Giles, Montgomery, Franklin and Pittsylvania counties.