Windsor loses Carney to Keysville

Published 8:54 pm Tuesday, January 3, 2017

By Stephen Cowles

Special to the News-Herald

Last week, Dennis Carney was in his office tidying up the proverbial loose ends for his successor, whoever that might be.

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The Town of Windsor’s Planning and Zoning director for six years and eight months, Carney began his new responsibility as town manager of Keysville on Tuesday. He thinks he might be the first town manager there, for up until recently the mayor had been running the town.

Located in Charlotte County, Keysville has a population of about 900 people. Like Windsor, it has the potential for what Carney called “really good economic development.”

“It has a really quaint downtown,” he said. “The library is located in a Presbyterian church.”

Carney wanted to be closer to the home he and his wife, Laurie Watkins-Carney, have in Buckingham County. The drive from there to Keysville is about 40 minutes.

Following graduate school, he went to work in the planning department for South Hill during the late 1970s.

“I learned more on how to write than any other place,” Carney remembered about that job.

Following that, he went to Whiteville, N.C., and then returned to Virginia to become the planner for Martinsville, King William County (10 years) and Buckingham, respectively.

Carney credits the recession for sending him to Windsor. When he arrived — on April 1, 2010 — Michael Stallings was the planning director, but had moved up to become town manager, and Carney filled the vacancy.

Carney is proud of his role in helping the local Girl Scouts’ mural project become a reality. He said it gives the town a better look and it’s something for people to remember Windsor.

Other local accomplishments he cited include rewriting the land development ordinance and completing the comprehensive plan with help from the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission.

“It’s more usable and makes more sense,” Carney said.

Macon Edwards III, who serves both as councilman and a planning commissioner, had only praise for Carney.

“I’m sorry to see him leave,” Edwards said. “He’s done an incredible job. He’s going to a higher position, and I understand that,” said Edwards. “He’s a people person and easy to get along with. The town’s going to miss him.”

Mayor Carita Richardson shared those sentiments.

“We are going to miss Dennis a lot,” she said. “He fit in so well with the Windsor community and staff. He always gave extra,” she said.

Carney “had so much to do when he came on board,” she added. “We rewrote all the land development ordinances. They were really out of date. Meantime, he was doing the usual things. Also, the Planning Commission had to do a new Comprehensive Plan [The issue of] 460 was an added difficulty.”

“We’re happy for him,” Richardson said. “He deserves to be a town manager. We’re excited for him.”