NEW KENT, VA (WWBT) - A New Kent woman says county politicians should be held accountable for what she calls a conflict of interest.
Sharon Traylor wants to build a home for her son on her property, but the board of supervisors shot down her request. She thinks a violent family feud may have something to do with it.
There's nothing significant about her request on its face, but a closer look and you can see why it's a big deal to Traylor. She wants the board to have an open review in the interest of transparency.
Traylor has spent a large amount of money, about $2,000 she says, for perk tests and application fees - only to get turned down for a request that's far from controversial.
"I want to have a son next door to me, so as I get older, I can still live in this community and not have to leave," said Traylor.
Traylor showed NBC12 the area she wants to build on two acres. The New Kent planning commission approved her request, but the board of supervisors would not - partly because the county says it would set a precedent of dividing up land into smaller lots.
Traylor says her neighbor Ed Wood, who voiced his objection to the board, fought with her husband. She claims because of family ties, her request was voted down.
"My husband and Mr. Wood had it in for each other. They were Hatfield and McCoys. My husband had sued Mr. Wood when he slammed his leg in the car door, and he got community service," said Traylor.
Wood's son is married to board chairman Thomas Tiller's daughter. Wood's daughter is married to Vice Chair Thomas Evelyn. Traylor believes it's a conflict of interest for those two members to vote.
"They are directly related to the only person that objected to me dividing my land and giving my only son a house on my property," said Traylor.
She believes Wood has influence over both the chairman and vice chairman.
"Absolutely. Absolutely, and they would go along with it because it upset him," said Traylor.
The only board member willing to speak about the allege conflict of interest also supports Traylor and wants to help her. We asked New Kent Supervisor Ron Stiers if he thought the "good ol'boy network" is at work against her.
"I'm not going to say that. I'm not going to say good old...I can tell you one thing, I'm not part of the 'good ol'boy network.' It's not going to harm the county in any way to give this lady what she wants. I just hate to see her go through it," said Stiers.
Supervisor Stiers says Traylor should reapply, pay the additional fee and have her property rezoned from Agriculture to Residential.
Even if she does, there's no guarantee a second vote will pass.
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