At the Louisa County Board of Supervisors meeting on March 7, the board discussed possible changes regarding large-scale running dogs. A leash law is currently in effect, but it only applies from April 1 to the end of June. Some subdivisions prohibit dogs from running free all year round.
Animal control chief Alyssa Ellison told the council she does not have the authority to charge dog owners who continually allow their animals to cause trouble on neighboring properties.
“We usually work with the owners to see how the dog escaped. We provide free resources to owners who need them. I have people who can build fences and I can help people with their ties. However, we have a few cases where this happens every day. I don’t have a summons that I can issue to them for their dog running loose,” Ellison said.
Ellison presented the Spotsylvania County ordinance as a possible model for Louisa. This county issues a class four misdemeanor for first-time offenders of the leash law; penalties increase with each violation.
Supervisor Toni Williams (Jackson) expressed concerns about this option. He doesn’t want a first-time offender whose dog might escape by accident to face a misdemeanor charge. Ellison said agents have discretion and wouldn’t necessarily charge a homeowner in that situation.
Free-roaming dogs weren’t the only animals to show up at Monday’s meeting.
Doug Hitchcock, owner of a farm near Ferncliff, said he had a problem with a neighbour’s farm animals repeatedly coming onto his property. He asked the board to take this into consideration when discussing ordinance changes for dogs running loose. In Spotsylvania, it is illegal for cattle owners to let their animals run loose.
Board Chairman Duane Adams (Mineral District) appointed Supervisors Eric Purcell and Fitzgerald Barnes (Louisa and Patrick Henry Districts) to gather information on these matters and present their findings to the Board.
Adams named Willie Gentry (Cuckoo District) and Rachel Jones (Green Springs) to a task force to discuss potential sports complex properties.
Agriculture on lots zoned residential
Nathan and Chelsea Newcomb have applied for a Conditional Use Permit to establish an agricultural operation on their property, which is currently zoned for residential use.
The Newcombs, who live on Owens Creek Road, want to use eight acres of their property for livestock. The conditional use permit, which the board unanimously approved, does not permit raising llamas, pigs or alpacas.
The council approved two amendments to the county’s zoning code related to small-scale solar projects. Maximum power increased from 15 to 30 kilowatts. Separately, the council gave the zoning administrator authority to approve landscape buffering for solar projects on a case-by-case basis.
“I think it’s appropriate for staff to have the flexibility, because all properties are different,” Purcell said.
Both amendments were approved by a vote of 6 to 1, with Gentry opposing.
Regarding the Solar Committee’s recommendations for large-scale solar power, presented in December, Adams suggested that the council hold a joint meeting with the Louisa County Planning Commission to discuss what to do next. . Supervisor Tommy Barlow (Mountain Road) was opposed to the idea.
“As a former member of the planning commission and a member of the board of directors, I don’t think the joint sessions are very good. This puts pressure on the planning commission.