Letters to New Kent County – Installment 5

Dear Friends in New Kent,

In this newsletter and subsequent installments, I voice a number of opinions about politics in New Kent County.  These opinions are strictly my own – although they probably reflect the views of other New Kent County residents.  None of my opinions should be interpreted as a commentary against anyone, or, indeed, personal at all. This is about politics and not individuals.

In December, 2023 a fascinating drama began at a meeting of the New Kent Board of Supervisors (BOS).  Before delving into it, here’s a short recap of the prior installments of this newsletter.

The Tidewater & Big Bend Foundation is concerned about the rapid pace of commercial development in New Kent County while simultaneously being engaged in the historical restoration of eight antebellum homes and 5500 acres of real estate in New Kent County.  As examples of poor landscaping and unfortunate site planning, we have criticized the current and expected physical outcomes of commercial sites on Highway 106 North and Highway 155 North.  The gas stations at 106 South near I-64, not previously referenced here, also are unattractively visible from the roadway.

Last December, the New Kent County Board of Supervisors appeared more or less evenly divided between proponents of commercial development projects (judging strictly by their prior actions) and Supervisors who encourage more cautious evolution of new development proposals.  On a five person Board, the ‘swing vote’ was Ms. Patricia Paige, the Supervisor for District 3, coincidentally my own District.

Sadly, on November 28 Ms. Paige died after a long illness, a real tragedy for many of us.  In December, at a closed meeting of the BOS not open to the public, the pro-growth-oriented members coalesced around their choice for a replacement Supervisor.  That candidate was appointed to the Board in an expedited manner with which the Attorney General of Virginia took exception.

On December 13th, having learned of the Board’s intention to replace Ms. Paige, the AG’s office wrote the County. Below, you will see a direct quote from the first of three letters delivered to the County in December and January by the Deputy Attorney General’s office.  The letters themselves are too long and complicated to print here. but the County Administrator, Rodney Hathaway, has said that he will furnish copies upon request.

Commonwealth of Virginia, Office of the Attorney General – December 13, 2024

“It has come to the attention of the Office of the Attorney General of Virginia that the New Kent County Board of Supervisors (the “Board”) intends to fill a vacancy on the Board that arose from the recent passing of Ms. Patricia Paige. We understand that Ms. Paige was reelected on November 7, 2023, to a new four-year term, beginning January 1, 2024. We also understand that the current Board intends to fill the vacancy on December 18, 2023 for the term beginning January, 2024. The Deputy Attorney General’s letter concludes “This Office believes your intended actions to be contrary to Virginia law…”

In subsequent installments, we will follow this time-consuming and largely unnecessary saga to a surprising but favorable ending that seems to be acceptable to most of the participants in the controversy between the BOS and the Attorney General’s office.


John Poindexter

New Kent County

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