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The Policy Committee of the James City County Planning Commission unanimously approved a priority ranking for 15 capital improvement projects Thursday, but not without expressing concern about the order of two projects.
All five members of the Policy Committee reviewed the CIP funding requests and scored them based on how they affect quality of life, infrastructure, economic development, health/public safety, the operating budget, regulatory compliance and timing/location.
The five scores for each project were then averaged. A higher number indicates a higher priority; a lower number indicates a lower priority.
Stormwater neighborhood drainage and water quality improvements were ranked No. 1 with an average score of 78, while the Lafayette High School walkway to the Williamsburg Indoor Sports Complex came in last with an average score of 21.
While the committee members present – Chairman John Wright III, Robin Bledsoe, Rich Krapf and Heath Richardson – agreed the top five projects were generally consistent with their personal rankings, Bledsoe said she was surprised about the ranking of an auxiliary gym for Lafayette and a splash pad for Chickahominy Riverfront Park.
The splash pad ranked No. 13 with a score of 37 and the auxiliary gym ranked No. 14 with a score of 35.
“I can’t live with the fact that a splash pad is higher than a school need,” Bledsoe said. “That makes no sense to me.”
Krapf noted that, in the rankings the WJCC School Division offered, the auxiliary gym was “in the middle of the pack” with a priority ranking of 5 out of 10. He said the Department of Parks & Recreation made a good argument for the splash pad that “nudged” him to rank it higher.
“The concern was without at least something else beside that big pool, there would be some impacts on the citizens,” Krapf said.
Before the committee agreed to support the rankings, Bledsoe requested a special consideration be submitted to the Planning Commission that she did not favor the order of the splash pad and the auxiliary gym.
Bledsoe said she was pleased with the process overall, particularly a schedule this year that permitted county departments and the school division to present their requests and offer rankings on the same day.
“I feel like this year we got the most information from [WJCC Schools] and I think we’re on the right track,” Bledsoe said.
Krapf said the policy committee’s ranking procedure and the weighted criteria “took a lot of subjective conversation” out of the final order.
“This is a much more disciplined approach,” Krapf said. “Even though people may not agree on the scores, it shows there was a lot more that went into the ordering than a conversation around the table.”
The Planning Commission will hold a public hearing on the CIP during a special meeting at 6 p.m. March 21 at the JCC Government Complex.
The Commission can choose to accept or reject the Policy Committee’s recommendation. It will then submit its decision to the JCC Board of Supervisors for review.
The projects and the averaged scores are listed below from highest to lowest priority:
- Stormwater Neighborhood Drainage Improvement and Water Quality Improvements (78)
- Transportation Match for Longhill Road Improvements (75)
- Jamestown Beach Event Park Improvements (65)
- James City County Marina (59)
- Jamestown High School Entrance Redesign (52)
- Norge Elementary School Entrance Redesign (51.1 Tied for No. 6)
- D.J. Montague Elementary School Entrance Redesign (51.1 Tied for No. 6)
- Berkeley Middle School Entrance Redesign (50.9 Tied for No. 8)
- Lafayette High School Entrance Redesign (50.9 Tied for No. 8)
- Toano Middle School Entrance Redesign (50.7 Tied for No. 10)
- Stonehouse Elementary School Entrance Redesign (50.7 Tied for No. 10)
- Stonehouse Elementary School Bus Canopy (41)
- Chickahominy Riverfront Park Splash Pad (37)
- Lafayette High School Auxiliary Gymnasium (35)
- Lafayette High School Walkway (21)