- Bring your chairs and picnic basket.
- Food truck, beer, soft drinks and C&C Ice Cream will be available.
- Tickets are available on our Facebook page & on Eventbrite.
Warren County Planning Commission considers short-term rentals
The Warren County Planning Commission Meeting of December 11th included a public hearing on a request by property owner Stephen Aaron for a conditional use permit for a short term rental on a property he owns in the River Ridge on the Shenandoah subdivision. Three other residents of the subdivision offered comments on the proposal, which the property owner described as an economic necessity due to the unforeseen cost of renovating the property which he purchased last May.
County planner Matt Wendling outlined some challenges the property owner had faced with the property since its purchase, when he found rotted floors under a bathroom and kitchen requiring complete renovation. In addition to those hidden condition problems, the property had never had a completed building final inspection or a certificate of occupancy. Mr. Wendling then outlined the conditions that would be required of the property owner in order for staff to recommend approval of the Conditional use permit.
Since the property lies within a subdivision with an Owners association, the property owner had submitted a document outlining his proposal to the owners association and received in return a list of issues from the association which he in turn had incorporated into his draft submission to the county.
During the public comment portion of the hearing, Vivian and Jack Paulikonis who are 23-year residents in the subdivision expressed their opinion that, while they were pleased to have a “nice family” as owners of the property, they were concerned about its use as a tourist rental with unknown people coming in and out of the gated community. Mr. Paulikonis indicated that the public hearing had been rushed through and that most owners in the subdivision were unaware of the activities of the planning department. They seemed to have less issue with the property owner or his plan for the actual use of the property than with the county’s approval process. Mr. Paulikonis described it as a “sneak attack”. The Planning staff reiterated that the public notice requirements had been met.
Mr. Pettengill, President of the property owners association and the nearest neighbor to the property in question weighed in by confirming that the property owner had sent the association a copy of his proposed property management plan after the association’s annual meeting in October, but that he had drafted conditions and cleared it with the association board of directors in response to the plan.
The property owner then provided background information indicating his willingness to incorporate all the input from the owners association and the county planning staff into his proposal and to continue to work with the county departments in completing the certificate of occupancy, required in any case prior to Board of Supervisors Approval.
After a few questions from commissioners and responses from Mr. Aaron or County staff, the commission voted unanimously to forward the request for a conditional use permit to the Board of supervisors, subject to the conditions outlined by the planning staff.
After the public hearing portion was closed, the planning staff outlined three additional requests that are preparing for public hearings at the January Commission Meeting.
Brian and Ann Conley, for a conditional Use Permit for short term tourist rental for their Agricultural zoned property at 64 rocky Lane in the South River Magisterial District.
Damon and Robin Feldman, for a conditional use permit for a short term tourist rental at their agricultural zoned property at 53 Crystal River Drive, also in the South River Magisterial District
Randall Parz, for a conditional use permit for an artisan and craftsman trades facility not to exceed 5,000 SF on his agricultural zoned property at 577 Esteppe Rd in the Fork Magisterial District.
Planning staff explained each of these proposals and the commission voted to authorize public hearings at the January 8, 2020 meeting.
Concluding its actions on proposals, the commissioner comments included farewells from three current members, Chairman Scott Stickley, Commissioner Ralph Rinaldi, and Commissioner Lorraine Smelser. Each of the three expressed appreciation for the hard work and professionalism of the commission members and the county planning staff. County planning Director Taryn Logan reminded the commissioners that they had made tough decisions and overseen many significant improvements to the county in their tenure and had plenty to be proud of.
Three new commissioners will be selected by the Board of Supervisors to begin service on the board in January.
Watch the entire Warren County Planning Commission meeting on this exclusive Royal Examiner video:
January 10th set for decision on EDA civil defendant motions to quash
Attorneys for multiple Front Royal-Warren County Economic Development Authority civil litigation defendants argued for dismissal of their clients’ inclusion in that list in Warren County Circuit Court on Thursday, December 12. After hearing over 4-1/2 hours of testimony surrounding a 45-minute lunch break, Judge Bruce D. Albertson took those arguments and plaintiff counsel counter-arguments under advisement.
After an explanation to defendants present, including Donald Poe, April Petty and Jesse Poe, about the reason for the time he will take before returning to court to make a ruling on their and other defendants’ counsel arguments, Albertson set a date of January 10, at 2:30 p.m. to make his ruling.
That is the same date the judge continued a scheduled Show Cause hearing on a Civil Contempt charge against primary EDA civil and criminal defendant Jennifer McDonald earlier during the Thursday docket. McDonald’s civil contempt hearing will follow an already scheduled McDonald criminal hearing on the 1 p.m. docket on January 10.
McDonald’s criminal case attorney Peter Greenspun informed Albertson he was taking over his client’s civil case as well in the wake of the withdrawal of her former civil attorney Lee Berlik.
Greenspun told the court he needed additional time to familiarize himself with the civil aspects of McDonald’s legal situation.
A third EDA-related hearing on Thursday morning’s docket was Donald Poe counsel William Ashwell’s motion to Quash a Perjury charge regarding the Earth Right Energy principal’s testimony to the EDA Special Grand Jury. That case went forward first on what was slated to be an 8 a.m. start to Thursday’s docket, delayed by late arrivals of a court reporter and McDonald’s Northern Virginia-based attorney.
After hearing Ashwell and new Rockingham County prosecutor’s arguments, Albertson deferred a ruling on dismissal of Poe’s perjury charge to the January 22 date on which that trial is scheduled to begin.
Ashwell told the court that his client was the one defendant “not on the continuance train” with an originally slated perjury trial date of December 6 having been moved to a three-day slot in January to accommodate the recent placement of a new prosecutor’s office to handle all the EDA criminal cases. Incoming Warren County Commonwealth’s Attorney John Bell has recused himself from EDA cases and current County Commonwealth Attorney Bryan Layton has withdrawn due to his pending departure from the office.
In addition to McDonald on her case and Donald Poe, April Petty and Jesse Poe who were present with counsel Thursday, EDA civil defendants represented in Thursday’s Demurrer motions hearing were Truc “Curt” Tran and ITFederal and Poe’s Earth Right Energy Solar Panel Installation company.
The basis of those defense counsel arguments for dismissal of their clients from the civil case revolved around several points. Primary among those is the plaintiff notion of an overarching conspiracy that somehow links the various defendants to central figure and former EDA Executive Director McDonald; and that there were definable contractual breaches by those defendants making them individually liable for funds that came their way through McDonald.
Lead plaintiff attorney Cullen Seltzer argued that there did not have to have to be direct knowledge among all defendants of each interlocking conspiracy McDonald is alleged to having been a party to for that conspiracy to exist.
He used an analogy to a gang that planned to rob every Bank of America in Richmond, saying a gang member assigned to one “bank job” did not have to know the detail of every other bank robbery to be criminally liable for the entire take.
Seltzer dismissed defense arguments that “McDonald is a rouge tornado dumping all this EDA money into all these pockets” without the recipients’ knowledge that something illegal was transpiring that they were beneficiaries of.
However, Jesse Poe and April Petty’s attorney William Schmidheiser argued that such a conspiracy theory did not apply to his clients, whose alleged “unjust enrichment” did not go directly to them, but rather to real estate companies handling the closings on their homes.
Schmidheiser noted his clients’ limited incomes, telling the court the reason he represented them both was a necessity to pool their resources to finance their defenses. He called their being packaged as part of an alleged $21 million civil suit conspiracy for mortgage payoffs of $125,000 (Petty) and $280,000 (Jesse Poe) was, short of the loss of a child or a cancer diagnosis, one of the worst things that could happen to an average person.
He said that while there might be “unjust enrichment” claims the plaintiff could argue – we’ll deal with those down the road, he told the court – the circumstance of his clients’ involvement distanced them from the plaintiff EDA counsel’s conspiracy theory.
He compared his clients’ circumstance to that of the casino McDonald is alleged to have lost at least $750,000 gambling at, noting that while the casino received cash from McDonald that could have been EDA assets, the casino was not a defendant.
In arguing that Earth Right Energy’s (ERE) contracts with the EDA through its then-executive director were valid and binding, attorney Ryan Huttar told the court that at the time those contracts were enacted “Jennifer McDonald (was) the EDA”.
That was a point the EDA legal team disputed, noting that large dollar (over $10,000) transactions had to be approved by the EDA Board of Directors, which they stated, did not happen.
ITFederal attorney Brandon Elledge argued that the EDA Board did approve the $10 million dollar loan it is seeking recovery of from his client, as well as the subsequent vendor payments of $1.4 million also in dispute.
Sands Anderson plaintiff counsel countered that the loan and the vendor payments were received under false pretenses concocted by Tran and McDonald in concert.
Elledge also stressed that Tran remains current on his loan payments, and that no proof had been offered that his client personally benefited from the payments, rather than professionally as intended. Oddly however, the Deed of Trust on the property was amended so that Tran only has to spend $2 million of the $10 million loan on the Front Royal property.
In setting the January 10 date for a decision on the motions to dismiss the defendants from the civil suit, Judge Albertson compared himself to a student.
“The attorneys teach us their view of what the law is” related to their cases “and it will take several weeks to fact check their arguments – I will treat this seriously, please be patient,” he asked the defendants present.
Warren County Market Report – November 2019
Watch this video for a quick summary of Warren County real estate for November 2019. Charts demonstrate the changes in the market, so be sure to click play!
In general summary:
- New Listings were DOWN -14.8% in October 2019. Numbers recover a little, but are still down by -7.9% in November.
- Closed sales are UP 46.5%.
- Average Median Sold $230,000 in October and has climbed to $252,500 in November.
- Average Days on Market 55. In my opinion, anything under 60 days is great!
*If you would like a copy of this report emailed to you, please send request to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Resource: 2019 Market Stats by ShowingTime
MRIS: Statistics calculated December 2019
Jennifer Avery, Realtor
“Your Happy Home Expert”
BPOR, SRS, CNE, E-Pro Certified | Licensed in VA
email@example.com | 540-683-0790
CRUM REALTY, INC | 318 S Loudoun St., Winchester, VA 22601 | 540-662-0400
Second Amendment Sanctuary
I couldn’t contain my amusement from afar when Warren County became a Second Amendment Sanctuary, particularly as local Democrats regurgitated worn out talking points. The Chairman of the Warren County Democrats claimed to see similarities between the sanctuary and the Massive Resistance of the 1960’s, and another of Warren County’s “best and brightest” took the curious position that resistance to unconstitutional usurpations was unconstitutional. Their Confederate forefathers would be quite proud.
Such dogma has clouded the unique history of these constitutional disputes. The doctrine of nullification was best articulated by Thomas Jefferson in 1798 in opposition to the Alien and Sedition Acts. It played a unique political role in the years preceding the Civil War. In his Farewell Address to the Senate in 1861, Jefferson Davis condemned the Northern states for their “disregard of its constitutional obligations.” Just what were these obligations? Enforcement of the Fugitive Slave Act.
The most heroic instance occurred in Wisconsin. The state legislature called for “positive defiance” of efforts by federal marshals to capture and return runaway slaves. “Personal liberty” laws were common in the North at the time. But local Democrats, then as now, seem to think that this act of resistance was just simply awful. Then as now, they would defer the matter to the Roger Taney’s of the courts for settlement. (Apparently the Second Amendment’s protection as an individual right hasn’t been settled by the Supreme Court according to local Democrats. But I digress.)
To their ignorance they have built common ground with the proponents of Massive Resistance of the 1960’s. In 1680, the Virginia General Assembly passed legislation making it illegal of a black person to carry any weapon. In 1723, they specifically forbade firearms. Predictably enough disarming blacks received support among the terrorist wing of the Democratic Party, the Ku Klux Klan. Rosa Parks recounted that her husband “slept with a gun nearby for a time,” and Frederick Douglass recognized that “A man’s rights rest in three boxes. The ballot box, the jury box, and the cartridge box.
From the apocalyptic outrage at the election of a Republican president to Ralph Northam’s classless costume choice, Virginia Democrats are certainly living up to their Confederate heritage.
Three lessons from Christmas
For people of most religious persuasions, Christmas represents the high point of the year, as stories of the Christ and His humble beginnings are told and retold, enriched by the millennia of traditions and practices, and passed on to each generation in turn. For the many without religious affiliation, the Christmas season presents somewhat of an enigma- the goodwill on public display, the celebrations of light and music, and the timeworn admonitions to “be good for goodness’ sake”, contrast sharply with the unbridled materialism and crass appeals to humankind’s worst instincts – greed, grasping, win-at-all-costs competition.
It’s possible to benefit from the true and transcendent values of the Christmas season even if one shrinks from the more spiritual interpretations. At the same time, people with a strong faith tradition would do well to consider the more practical lessons that Christmas is prepared to teach.
It’s true that the Christmas season does stimulate a desire in many to participate in the traditional gift-giving exercise, whatever the belief about the holiday itself – if it is only a deep need not to row your boat against the current of social convention. And seldom will a Christmas nonbeliever refuse a gift given them!
So lesson one could be: Think about every gift and give only what you believe will really be appreciated. It may be that something unusual or hand made by you will be much closer to the heart than a standard box of candy. If you don’t know someone well enough to give them something they will appreciate, as they say, you don’t know them well enough.
It’s also true that “Things” have value in different ways. Getting older makes one realize that the value of “things” with which we fill our homes gets drastically smaller over time. Christmas teaches us to reevaluate what is really important to have in our life. Sometimes a visit from a friend beats a gold watch!
So lesson two is: Identify what’s really important to you, and let go of the rest!
Our kids are inheriting much more from us than whatever we leave in a will – they are inheriting our values. Modern Christmas focuses so much on satisfying the material wants of our children that what they really need is often forgotten. If our own lives are filled with the pressures of succeeding in a competitive world, building up the net worth, appearing successful to the world around, while our children live in a form of emotional and spiritual poverty, we have failed the following generations.
Lesson three, then, is: Children are the most important thing we leave to the world. Christmas provides the opportunity to shape their worldview as influencers and leaders. Shouldn’t we strive to give them the best tools, opportunities, and motivations?
These three lessons seem simple, but the more you think about them, they capture the essence of a fulfilled life and a legacy for the future. As fractured as our world seems to be, sometimes the simple approach is best. For you and your friends and family, Merry Christmas!
How to choose plants for your aquarium
Selecting plants for your aquarium may seem simple, but if you want your fish and plants to thrive, you should put some thought into your choice.
For starters, choose plants that are well suited to your aquarium’s environment. The type of substrate that covers the bottom of the tank, the temperature of the water and the lighting will all inform what types of plants will do well.
Also, consider what types of fish you keep. Some species will eat the vegetation in their environment. If you keep rainbow fish, tetras or others that are known to nibble on plants, pick vegetation that’s resilient and has sturdy leaves.
Finally, it’s important to consider the size of your aquatic plants when arranging them in your tank. Short, slow-growing plants need to be placed in the front and along the bottom of your tank so as not to obstruct the view. Mid-sized plants should be planted along the sides and in the middle of the aquarium. The tallest plants should go in the back of the tank where it can hide the tank equipment and provide your fish space to play and hide.