As I wrote last week, the Covid-19 pandemic is upending a lot, but our local governments are continuing to function and provide the vital services we depend on.
One way Fauquier County has stepped up to address this crisis is by working with the PATH Foundation to provide internet hotspots at several locations throughout the County. According to Fauquier Times’ recent interview with Supervisor Gerhardt four locations are up and running and several more should be active soon.
As of April 1, internet access points at the following locations are operational:
- The commuter lot at Va. 605 and U.S. 29 in Warrenton;
- The commuter lot at Va. 28 in Midland;
- The parking lot near the water tower behind the post office in Warrenton, and
- The Warrenton-Fauquier Airport terminal parking lot in Midland.
Several other locations will be active this week according to Gerhardt:
- The WARF parking lot in Warrenton;
- The parking lot at Monroe Park in Goldvein;
- The Kettle Run High School parking lot in Nokesville and
- The parking lot of the Orlean Volunteer Fire Department.
With May 5 elections quickly approaching, the Towns of Warrenton, Remington, and The Plains are proactively encouraging residents to register to vote absentee to minimize health risk and maximize participation in these important elections.
As for public hearings and meetings, the planning commission, Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA), and committee meetings for April have been cancelled. The Board of Supervisors will have a virtual version of its regular meeting with a limited agenda on April 9th.
The Virginia Freedom of Information Act (VFOIA) requires that public meetings be open to the public. Recently, a flood of questions from localities led the Virginia Attorney General to issue an opinion. The Attorney General strongly discouraged localities from holding public hearings solely by electronic communication on issues not directly related to the crisis, however the Virginia Code does allow localities to enact an emergency ordinance during a disaster that allows them to suspend certain public process requirements.
During this time of crisis most local governments are postponing nonessential land use decisions in the name of good governance. Additionally, most committees such as the Transportation, Architecture Review Board (ARB), Parks and Recreation, Airport, etc. are also being cancelled.
Below is information to help you follow and participate in local government decision making remotely and a list of community resources that may be helpful during this time.
Board of Supervisors Meetings
April 9, 11am and 6:30pm: Virtual Worksession and Public Hearing to Consider Grant of a Temporary Construction Easement to VDOT
- To Review Meeting Agenda – http://agenda.fauquiercounty.gov/
- To Live Stream Meeting – https://vimeo.com/event/25618
- To View Archived Meetings – http://fauquier-va.granicus.com/ViewPublisher.php?view_id=1
- To submit comments email BOSpubliccomment@fauquiercounty.gov
Planning Commission Meeting
April 16, 2020: Worksession and Public Hearing (Cancelled)
Board of Zoning Appeals
Meeting April 2, 2020: 2pm, Board of Zoning Appeals Meeting (Cancelled)
Town of Warrenton
Town Council Meeting
April 9, 2020: 7pm, Town Council Worksession and Regular Meeting (Cancelled)
Planning Commission Meeting
April 21, 2020: 7pm, Town Planning Commission Regular Meeting scheduled
- To View Agendas and Video Recordings – http://www.warrentonva.gov/government/town_council/meeting_agendas.php
Town of The Plains
Town Council Meeting
April 20th, 2020: 7pm, Town Council Regular Meeting (Cancelled)
Voting in Town Elections
As a proactive measure, the Towns of Warrenton, Remington, and The Plains are all encouraging residents to vote absentee in the May 5th election. It only takes a couple minutes to sign up and there are directions at the top of the page for how to sign up due to COVID 19: https://vote.elections.virginia.gov/VoterInformation
Governor’s Executive Order of Temporary Restrictions and Closures of Restaurants, Recreational, Entertainment, Gatherings, and Non-Essential Retail Businesses – https://www.governor.virginia.gov/media/governorvirginiagov/executive-actions/EO-53-Temporary-Restrictions-Due-To-Novel-Coronavirus-(COVID-19).pdf
Food Access –
- Grab and Go Meal Program – https://www.fcps1.org/site/default.aspx?PageType=3&DomainID=4&ModuleInstanceID=2027&ViewID=6446EE88-D30C-497E-9316-3F8874B3E108&RenderLoc=0&FlexDataID=16047&PageID=1
- Fauquier FISH – http://fauquierfish.org/newsite/get-help
- PEC’s Buy Fresh Buy Local guide – (Local farmers may have meat, eggs, and produce local stores are out of. Make sure to check their websites / call ahead for potential delivery / pick up options!)Visit buylocalpiedmont.org to search the map, or view the print guide at: https://www.pecva.org/library/documents/Resources-Publications/Publications/BFBL-Guides/2019-2020/BFBL_NoPiedmont_2019.pdf
There’s a lot closed… https://www.fauquiercounty.gov/government/departments-h-z/parks-and-recreation But several trails and natural parks remain open like the Riverside Preserve… https://www.fauquiercounty.gov/government/departments-h-z/parks-and-recreation/facilities/parks
Broadband and Internet Access –
- The County Has Established Several Temporary Hotspots – https://www.fauquier.com/news/fauquier-establishing-temporary-internet-hotspots-during-covid-19-closures/article_6b9f4c12-72d3-11ea-948b-9753d757837d.html
- XFinity (Xfinity WiFi Public Hotspots are now open to everyone) – http://wifi.xfinity.com/
- Fauquier Public Library Internet to Go Program (Curbside Pickup Only) – https://fauquierlibrary.org/services/internet-to-go/
Mental Health –
Thanks for reading and please don’t hesitate to reach out to me!