At its first meeting of 2019 the Warren County Board of Supervisors took a step toward updating, and likely more strenuous enforcement, of rules to limit the verbosity of public speakers commenting on non-agenda items at future meetings.
The rules on time allowed to speak, total time devoted to non-agenda items, and how many times within a 12-month period a citizen may address the same non-agenda topic at a board meeting apply to what is variously called “Public Presentations” “Public Comments” or “Public Concerns” and is heard near the beginning of meeting agendas.
At the county supervisors meeting of January 8 when the rules were amended it came after the meeting’s call to order, pledge of allegiance, agenda adoption, and once-a-year election of officers Murray gains board gavel; reporter’s nomination for vice chair nixed – though no one took advantage of the opportunity to raise a non-agenda public concern before the board at its first meeting of the new year.
The rules approved unanimously on a motion by Happy Creek Supervisor Tony Carter, seconded by South River Supervisor Linda Glavis, are a limit of five minutes per speaker; a total of 20 minutes devoted to this portion of the meeting; and a limit of three times within a 12-month period that a citizen may address the same topic during this portion of a board meeting.
At Carter’s suggestion the individual speaker time was increased to five minutes from the existing three-minute limit presented in the staff summary of suggested rules adoption, as was the total time devoted to Public Presentations increased from 15 to 20 minutes. Discussion noted that the individual speaking limit could be increased to a maximum of 10 minutes by the board chair; and that such chair rulings could be overruled by a simple majority vote of the entire board.
Other rules not amended include that speakers first give their name and address; direct their remarks to the board; and treat the board with respect and civility, as they will in turn be treated by the board members.
“The Mark Egger Rules” as we like to call them will be revisited at a public hearing to adopt the approved meeting rule changes into the county codes at the board’s next meeting of January 22. That meeting convenes at 7 p.m., with public hearings scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m. County staff indicated that while absent from the January 8 rules change discussion, Mark Egger has requested information on the January 22 public hearing that will align county codes with the newly-adopted rule changes.
Egger, father of former Front Royal Town Councilwoman Bébhinn Egger, has repeatedly appeared before the supervisors in the past year or so since his daughter resigned from council to marry and move from the area. Mr. Egger has carried on expressions of concerns his daughter often voiced as a councilwoman regarding EDA operations – particularly the still-unrealized workforce housing project – and County oversight, or a lack thereof, over the local economic development authority. The county government has taken over sole operational funding and direct municipal oversight of the EDA as part of the ongoing town-county negotiations over the Route 522 North Corridor Agreement.
As questions about EDA operations and financing have mounted in the past year, Egger’s criticism of the county supervisors’ oversight role has intensified leading to one 15-minute public concerns statement allowed by then-Board Chairman Carter that ended somewhat testily.
The board and public may find out what Egger’s opinion of the public presentations rule changes are on January 22 – if it is ruled that his comments address a new topic, not the EDA and county board oversight criticism he has expressed over the past 12 months – we heard a rumor the board may consider its rule changes retroactive as they apply to that 3 times x 12 months limitation.
Watch the discussion here:
Council aligns with Planning Commission: No exemption from off-street parking
FRONT ROYAL – A motion to amend Front Royal Town Code 175-127.3 to exempt museums and art galleries from off-street parking requirements failed Monday evening (Jan. 14, 2019) at its second and final reading, as the Front Royal Town Council voted down the measure 4-2.
Councilman Jacob Meza and recently-elected LeTasha Thompson voted in favor of the code change to allow the exemption, while Councilmen Sealock, Tewalt, Gillispie and Holloway voted against the measure. Prior to the vote Sealock addressed his concerns about a lack of parking data and also reminded the panel that they had originally agreed to affirm the Planning Comission’s decision.
Virginia Beer Museum owner David Downes had previously submitted a request to receive an off-street parking exemption to expand the entity’s beer garden. The parking spots he hoped to eliminate are behind 14 and 16 Chester Street, where Downes’ law office and the museum are located.
He previously told Royal Examiner that his request was an attempt to be treated the same as the businesses on Main, Jackson and Chester streets, which are exempt from off-street parking requirements.
Last September, the Planning Commission unanimously recommended that Downe’s request be denied in favor of a town-wide parking study after a public hearing in which 14 citizens spoke in favor of the exemption, with three speaking against it.
In other business, the Town Council’s Monday:
- Appointed William C. Gordon to the Planning Commission, term expiring August 30, 2020.
- Appointed Eugene Tewalt and Jacob Meza to the Audit & Finance Committee, term expiring Dec. 31, 2019.
- Appointed William Sealock as Vice-Mayor. He will serve for two years, until the end of his term.
Town Summit – Part 6, Town Director of Finance B.J. Wilson gives us an ‘Financial Overview’.
In this 6th and final presentation of the Town Council Summit, Town Director of Finance B.J. Wilson gives us an ‘Financial Overview’.
Town Council Summit – Part 5, Town Attorney Doug Napier addresses the EDA
In late 1967, Town Council and the Warren County Board of Supervisors, by reciprocal ordinances, jointly formed the “Industrial Development Authority of the Town of Front Royal and the County of Warren, Virginia”, pursuant to State statutes. This local Industrial Development Authority (“IDA”) currently is known as the Economic Development Authority, or “EDA”. This session, Town Attorney discusses the EDA and its relationship with the County and the Town.
Town Council Summit – Part 4, Town Attorney Doug Napier addresses ‘Roberts Rules of Order’
In this fourth presentation of the Town Council Summit, Town Attorney Doug Napier addresses ‘Roberts Rules of Order’:
Town Council Summit – Part 3, Town Attorney Doug Napier addresses ‘Conflict of Interest’
In this third presentation of the Town Council Summit, Town Attorney Doug Napier addresses issues with Conflicts of Interest:
BOS Reports from County Administrator; County Attorney; WCPS; VDOT
At the Board of Supervisors meeting on January 8, 2019, the monthly reports from the County Administrator Doug Stanley, County Attorney Dan Whitten gave their reports:
Also Warren County Public Schools – Greg Drescher
And report from Ed Carter, VDOT