Orange Board Chairman Honors Fire Chief, First Responder and Newspaper Publisher | Local News



ORANGE—The Orange County Board of Supervisors took the time at its Aug. 23 meeting for a moving tribute to three well-known members of the community.

“People often talk about the perfect place to live in Orange County,” said Orange County Board Chairman Mark Johnson. “What makes one place better than another, really, is the people. And we’ve lost several important people over the past few weeks.

He mourned the loss of Fire Department Chief Mike Beasley, the kind of person who makes communities “like [Orange County] a nice place to live.

He paid tribute to Donnie Hughes, who also spent decades in the fire and rescue services and was featured in the Orange County Review last October when he was honored for creating the hornet logo for Orange County High School.

Finally, he noted the departure of longtime Review editor Jeff Poole, who he said “was the glue that held this community together”.

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After Johnson’s remarks, the board dug into numerous action items that included code changes, rural broadband expansions and permit applications.

The Orange County Broadband Authority has requested approval of a memorandum of understanding to allow it to cooperate with the oversight board to jointly apply for another VATI grant.

The move would provide much-needed funding for rural broadband and fund miles of new fiber optic cable installation. The memorandum of understanding was approved unanimously and quickly. According funds awarded will be announced in December.

Next, the board addressed the Special Use Permit filed by Willow Grove Inn LLC. The request was for the addition of two cabins and the expansion of the existing spa facilities. Planner Kyra Davies recommended approval for the permit, and the council unanimously agreed.

Planner Eric Bittner followed with three changes to the code that had been requested by the council. The adjustments related to the county’s ordinances code and centered on the issue of private roads.

The first narrowed the definition of “served” to mean a thoroughfare or easement legally accessible by another, the term “legally” being the addition.

The second was to add the term “private roads” to the definitions and codify their acceptance into the county’s transportation system.

In an email, Johnson said his goal was simplicity, “to just try to make the intent of the words ‘serve’ and ‘served’ clearer to everyone,” he said.

The other “allows the possibility of private roads in private communities that would otherwise not be permitted by our ordinances.”

One change added private roads to setback orders, including them in county traffic codes. As for the need for the changes, Johnson said that, like the roads themselves, the council takes action to correct codes when a hole is found.

“Council-initiated wording changes typically arise when the Council becomes aware of a case where there is an area of ​​ambiguity, contradiction or incompleteness in our orders,” Johnson said.

The next regular council meeting will be at 5:00 p.m. on September 13.


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