Confusion around BZA vacancy and application process

County residents interested in applying to fill a vacancy on the Rappahannock County Board of Zoning Appeals could be forgiven for being totally confused about both the vacancy itself and the application process.

In an April 4 email to the Rappahannock News, county resident Ron Makela, wrote: “I was aware that Bill Anderson was going to resign from the BZA. I went to the County [Administrator’s] office to ask how to apply for a vacancy on the BZA. They referred me to the standard board application which goes to the BOS. [But] the position is appointed by the Circuit Court. I went to [Circuit Court clerk] Peggy Ralph to get information and she said she had no idea how the process worked. I went to the Administrator’s office last Thursday, the day after [the BZA] meeting, to find out if Anderson had resigned. They had no idea. In this week’s paper, I see that he has resigned. I’ve checked on the State and County website and there is no information on how one applies for the position. I’m going to [County Administrator Garrey Curry’s] office tomorrow to see if he might know how one applies.”

To be fair, BZA vacancies occur very infrequently, so few officials are really familiar with the process.

In the BZA’s March 28 meeting, Chair Alex Sharp announced that member Bill Anderson had resigned. But as of press time, it appears that the county has not received a formal letter of resignation from Anderson.

In an email April 9, County Administrator Garrey Curry was asked if Anderson had officially resigned. Curry responded, “That is unclear to me at this time.”

Without a formal resignation, the county cannot activate the process to fill the position.

BZA Secretary David Konick also emailed that he too had not received a formal notification. Referring to the county code, he said: “The secretary of the board shall notify the court at least thirty days in advance of the expiration of any term of office, and shall also notify the court promptly if any vacancy occurs.”

Konick, appointed to the BZA in 2014 to fill out the term of Robert Weinberg, who resigned from the board, explained how previous vacancies had been filled.

“In the past,” wrote Konick, “when a vacancy occurs, the Circuit Court Judge has directed the Clerk to advertise the vacancy in the local newspaper with a deadline to submit a letter or interest and resume or equivalent. After the deadline, the Clerk submits the names of the applicants and supporting documents to the Court, who, in the past, then schedules interviews with one or more applicants at his discretion.

“When I get [notification of the vacancy], I shall notify the Court promptly, and the Court will then determine what procedure will be followed in the exercise of its wisdom and discretion and in accordance with Virginia Code §15.2-2308(A).”

About Patty Hardee 294 Articles
Writer, consultant, actor, director, recovering stand-up comic, Patty covers the county’s courts and other topics of interest for Rappahannock News. She lives with her grape-growing husband Bill Freitag in Flint Hill.