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Board to address two controversial issues

Posted on Wednesday, February 13, 2013 at 11:44 am

Two oft-tabled requests may be resolved by Northumberland County’s Board of Supervisors this Thursday night.

Phyliss Swift’s application for an extension of a special exceptions permit allowing her to operate a commercial kennel on Blundon’s Road near Burgess and Patrick Boone’s request for a conditional use permit allowing the operation of a tourist home at his property at 150 East Harbour Drive near Sunnybank both came up at the board’s Dec. 14, 2012 meeting and have been carried over until this week.

At December’s hearing, Swift’s application met with resistance from several people who said they believed she was operating a puppy mill and wasn’t treating dogs in her care properly.

Another objection involved noise from the kenneled dogs.

Swift had supporters at the hearing but the Board carried the matter over pending resolution of charges that she had mistreated animals brought by Animal Warden Kevin Keeve.

The charges were to have been heard Feb. 12 in general district court but were continued when Swift changed lawyers. Her new attorney, Rusty McKerns, asked for a continuance. The case will now likely be heard in March.

Boone’s matter has to do with objections registered by the homeowners association of which his house is part. Although the association’s covenants do not forbid tourist homes, its president, Andersen, told the Board that the majority of the residents opposed a tourist home in their association’s area. Boone contested Andersen’s assertions and the Board carried the matter over in hope sthat something might be worked out. As of last week, Cheryl Karic and Maurice Johnson who wish to buy Boone’s property and operate the home said in a lengthy letter to members of the association that no meeting had been arranged although they had tried. They filed a copy of the letter with its supporting documents with the Board of Supervisors.

County Administrator Kenny Eades said Monday that the public hearings on both matters were closed at the earlier meetings so unless the applicants wish to add something, he doesn’t expect any additional comments to be taken.

The Supervisors have one new request before them Thursday evening, John McShane’s for a modification of a conditional use permit that will allow his Great Wicomico Oyster Company to “tumble” oysters on Saturdays. Eades said that “tumbling” is a process by which smaller oysters are rolled to the top of the beds.

The hearings will start at the new courthouse in Heathsville at 7 p.m.

There will be an earlier meeting at 5 p.m. at which the Supervisors will receive reports from the county’s auditor, the Superintendent of Schools, Lien Groenwold regarding the public library and from Eades.