The County

The locality of Greene County, Virginia is governed by a five-member board of supervisors, one each from the four voting districts of Midway, Monroe, Ruckersville and Stanardsville, and one At Large. Each is elected to a four-year term and the terms are staggered so that the entire governing body is not up for election at the same time.

Currently, the members are: Jim Frydl (Midway); David Cox (Monroe); Davis Lamb (Ruckersville); Bill Martin (Stanardsville) and Eddie Deane (At Large). Cox is chairman and Frydl is vice-chairman.

Both Cox and Lamb are running for reelection this year, and Deane is retiring. Cox is being challenged by a write-in candidate, Donna Harlow, while Lamb is being challenged by Michelle Flynn and Dale Herring and Bob Young are vying for Deane’s At Large seat.

Greene County supervisors pass and repeal ordinances, levy property taxes, are responsible for approving the county budget, and oversee county departments under the aegis of the county administrator, a position currently occupied by John Barkley.

As in other localities the Greene County Board of Supervisors oversees the county government. Similar to a city council, the Greene County Board of Supervisors has legislative, executive, and quasi-judicial powers. The important difference is that a county is an administrative division of a state, whereas a city council is a municipal corporation. Counties implement, and, as necessary, refine the local application of state law and public policy, while cities produce and implement their own local laws and public policy subject to the overriding authority of state law.

In addition to adopting all local ordinances and amendments, including the comprehensive plan and the zoning and subdivision ordinance, supervisors develop and adopt a budget for local operations, authorize expenditures, and authorize all public borrowing. They set the tax rates and authorize property tax assessments. They hire the county administrator, who typically hires a planning director and planning staff.

Planning and zoning department staff reviews various applications which include, but are not limited to, property development, property divisions, signs, and certifications to insure that county regulations are adhered to and meet the needs of the public. In order to achieve these goals, staff might work with other agencies to review, inspect, and enforce applicable requirements and regulations while assisting business owners, property owners, and applicants in accomplishing their proposed projects.

In Greene the planning and zoning staff consists of five people: Bart Svoboda, director of planning and zoning administrator; Stephanie Golon, county planner; Shawn Leake, zoning officer; Dan Ratzlaff; and Secretary Marsha Alley.

Of the five Svoboda is perhaps the most influential as it is his responsibility to interpret and enforce the zoning ordinance. He makes recommendations to the Greene County Planning Commission, consisting of five commissioners appointed by the Greene County Board of Supervisors.

This system gives Svoboda a substantial amount of influence over local planning.

Currently, planning commissioners are: Jay Willer of Ruckersville, chairman; Victor Schaff of Ruckersville, vice-chairman; Frank Morris of Stanardsville; Eva Young of Ruckersville; John McCloskey of Stanardsville; and Supervisor Davis Lamb, ex-officio member.

In Virginia, although no prior experience or training in planning is required to be a planning commissioner, the commission is charged with developing community land-use plans and providing recommendations on their implementation to the Greene County Board of Supervisors. Once supervisors make a legislative decision, that decision may be appealed to the county’s board of zoning appeals and then to the local district court.

On the official Greene County Web site, located at www.gcva.us, current members are listed as: Richard Herring of Stanardsville, chairman; Bob Runkle of Stanardsville, vice-chairman; Frank Morris of Stanardsville; Janet Frye of Stanardsville; Lyle Durrer of Ruckersville; Brent Wilson of Stanardsville, alternate; and Davis Lamb of Ruckersville, ex-officio member.

Violations of local land use regulations are considered misdemeanors and are minor criminal infractions. The district court is a court not of record, which means that no official record is made of its proceedings and although there can be no appeal of its decisions, someone who loses in district court can request an entirely new trial before the local circuit court. Because circuit courts are courts of record, their decisions can be appealed. The Virginia General Assembly appoints district court and circuit court judges for eight-year terms.

County Supervisors also appoint the county attorney, though there is no requirement that a locality have an attorney, and the job may be part-time. Although local government attorneys are not elected and have no formal role in the planning process, local government attorneys can have considerable influence on local land use decisions as his or her advice normally carries great weight with the supervisor, planning commissioners, and staff.

In Greene, the county attorney is Ray Clarke.

Other boards appointed by county supervisors are the Greene County Economic Development Authority and the Greene County Department of Social Services. In addition, supervisors appoint liaisons—taken from their own numbers or from the citizenry, to the Jefferson Area Board for Aging; Region Ten Community Services; and Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission.

In Virginia, a county sheriff, commonwealth attorney, commissioner of revenue and treasurer are constitutional officers and elected separately, but supervisors control at least a portion of their budgets.

For more information on the Greene County government call the county administrator’s office at (434) 985-5201.