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Rule change turf war – supervisors scuffle over timing of rule changes

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A clear and present minority – Tom Sayre, right, and Archie Fox lost a series 3-2 votes on motions regarding when a vote on public concerns speaker rules would occur. Photos/Roger Bianchini

A distinct divide on the Warren County Board of Supervisors appeared Tuesday morning in a series of motions made regarding changes proposed to meeting rules regarding public comments on non-agenda items.

Following Happy Creek Supervisor Tony Carter’s initial motion to approve Option A of two alternatives presented to the board at the February 5 meeting, Vice-Chairman Tom Sayre issued a series of three counter motions. All of Sayre’s motions were defeated by 3-2 votes with only Fork District Supervisor Archie Fox siding with the vice chairman on each vote.

Carter’s original motion mirroring most suggestions he made following a January 22 public hearing on incorporating recent meeting rule changes into county codes was then approved by the same 3-2 margin.

The board divide centered on approval of meeting rule changes regarding public comment on non-agenda topics proposed by Carter following an overwhelming January 22 public showing of opposition to previously-approved rule changes being adopted into county codes. Of particular public concern was a limit on the number of times a citizen may address any given topic to the board within a 12-month time frame. That limit was three times.

The three-times in 12 months limit (apparently approved then forgotten in 2017), five minutes per speaker (a 2-minute increase) with a 20-minute limit on total non-agenda public comment time (a 5-minute increase) had been approved into meeting rules January 8 by a unanimous vote. The January 22 public hearing was for a vote to incorporate those changes into county codes for consistency.

Carter’s proposed Option A meeting rule change of February 5 did not include the 12-month speaking restriction. But as he proposed on January 22, while increasing the public comment time allotted to non-agenda topics from the previously-approved 20 minutes to an hour, it also moved that comment period to the end of board meetings. That change appears designed to get scheduled meeting business in prior to potentially lengthy comment periods on matters of general concern not slated for board action or discussion on a meeting agenda.

Option A also proposed keeping a 20-minute public comment period early in meetings following adoption of the agenda for items “on the agenda not the subject of a public hearing.” Speaking times would be “divided equally among the number of speakers who have signed up”
Option A stated.

Another change for the 60-minute, end-of-meeting comment period on non-agenda items was removal of a specified time limit on individual speakers. Carter’s Option A proposal simply stated that the 60 minutes allotted to non-agenda items at meetings’ end “shall be divided equally among the number of speakers who have signed up.”

It is an interesting choice of wording that appears to create the potential for a lone speaker to wax poetic on a chosen topic for 60 minutes if so desired.

However the potential of a meeting being extended an hour by one riled-up and verbose citizen at meeting’s end did not appear to be the driving force of Sayre and Fox’s opposition to Carter’s Option A response to what he heard from the public on January 22.

Sayre’s first two counter motions were to table; then postpone a vote on new rules to the February 19 meeting. That meeting was to include a work session discussion and potential additional public input on the rules and code change discussion. Sayre’s third motion was to strike a sentence on the “three times within 12 months” restriction, though Carter’s motion on the table had no such sentence.

“In Option A it is struck out,” Board Chairman Dan Murray pointed out.

“So the motion is to strike something that’s not there,” South River Supervisor Linda Glavis asked.

County Attorney Dan Whitten observed that while not in the motion on the table, the sentence was in the existing rules and could be the intended target of Sayre’s motion. Wherever the targeted sentence was located, the vice chairman’s third counter motion failed by the same 3-2 margin his attempts to delay a rules change vote had.

The 3-member ‘let’s get on with it’ majority, Murray-Glavis-Carter, cast a wary eye in anticipation of another counter motion from Board Vice-Chair Sayre.

“This is not brain science or rocket surgery,” Carter quipped following the third consecutive defeat of Sayre counter motions. “This gives them everything they want,” Carter added of his perception that his offered Option A was a direct response to the public hearing comments of January 22.

Despite the fact the January 8 rule change vote was a unanimous one Sayre responded dismissively, accusing Carter of “fighting me and Archie every step of the way” on the rule changes.

Carter countered that he was just responding to the public input, which particularly sought elimination of the three times within 12 months and 20-minute per meeting conditions.

“I’m agreeing – and now you are disagreeing with me,” Carter said with some exasperation.

That exchange led to a vote on Carter’s original motion to install Option A as the new board rule on public comments time. It passed by the same 3-2 margin, Sayre and Fox dissenting.

Round 2

If that wasn’t enough entertainment for one evening, a related agenda item followed. That item was a reconsideration of the January 22 motion to postpone the discussion that had essentially just occurred regarding meeting rules, as well as the vote on code changes regarding meeting rules to February 19. Carter’s motion, seconded by Glavis, was to reconsider the motion delaying further discussion and a code vote to February 19.

Sayre asked if he could amend the motion to simply leave the code regarding meeting rules as it currently is. County Attorney Whitten replied that was not an acceptable amendment to the motion on the table.

Alert the media – Carter’s original motion to reconsider then passed unanimously!!!

Sayre then made a motion to amend the January 22 motion to delay discussion and a vote on the 5 minutes per speakerl/20 minutes total/3 times in 12 months code changes to a motion to not approve those code changes.

Alert the media again – Carter then seconded Sayre’s motion, which then passed unanimously!!!

Noting like a little unity to end a meeting on.

The end result as best we can ascertain with Board Clerk Emily Mounce’s help, is that what we affectionately termed the “Mark Egger Rules” (5 minutes each/20 minutes total/3 times a year) are now dead as both meeting rules and proposed county code changes.

Board Chair Dan Murray, left, may be wondering if it would be any easier if Bianchini occupied the vice mayor’s chair.

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EDA in Focus

Tederick to WC: Town can dissolve EDA unilaterally and take half what’s left

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Warren County Administrator Doug Stanley, left, watches as Interim Front Royal Mayor Matt Tederick gears up for some EDA liaison discussion.

Town-County Liaison meetings have tended toward briefly informative, not to mention municipally dry in recent years – enter Interim Front Royal Mayor Matt Tederick and soon-to-be-retiring County Board Chairman Dan Murray.

While it may have been the LAST agenda item to be discussed Thursday, July 18, the Tederick-propelled discussion of dissolution of the Front Royal-Warren County Economic Development Authority was FIRST on the list of NOT brief, nor dryly peripheral in recent memory.

One can only wonder what might happen when the full County and Town elected boards and staff gather in one room to continue the discussion. That meeting is being plotted for sooner, rather than later.

But we should work together to straighten this all out, or not: Warren County Board Chairman Dan Murray, County Administrator Doug Stanley and Interim Front Royal Mayor Matt Tederick search for common EDA ground.


Watch a surprisingly direct discussion of the future of the EDA in this exclusive Royal Examiner video – right after the dryer part of the meeting that led up to that municipal conversation:

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Warren County Board of Supervisors approves financing by fire dept., regional airport

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Photo by Mark Williams, Royal Examiner.

FRONT ROYAL—Financing by Winchester Regional Airport Authority and by the Front Royal Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department received approval on Tuesday from the Warren County Board of Supervisors.

Board members on July 16 adopted the two financing resolutions as part of a dozen consent agenda items.

The Front Royal Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department wants to finance up to $1.325 million to buy a 2020 Pierce Velocity Heavy Duty Rescue vehicle and a 2020 pumper from Pierce Manufacturing Inc., through Atlantic Emergency Solutions, said Warren County Administrator Doug Stanley.

“The United States Internal Revenue Code requires that for such financing to be carried out on a tax-exempt basis, the board of supervisors must first approve the financing,” Stanley told the supervisors.

The Town’s volunteer fire and rescue department on June 17 held a required public hearing on the matter.

“A total of nine people were in attendance, all members of the Front Royal Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department, there to support the process,” according to a June 18 email from District Chief Larry Oliver sent to Stanley. “No citizens and/or visitors attended the public hearing to ask any questions and/or provide comments.”

BB&T in Winchester, Va., has fully approved the total amount requested by the fire and rescue department, according to Brian Hester, BB&T Small Business Specialist II, who said the bank will use the department’s firehouse location at 221 N. Commerce Street in Front Royal as collateral to secure the loan.

“The company will receive payments totaling $200,500 in direct contributions from the County in fiscal year 2019-2020,” according to Stanley’s item report.

The second financing resolution approved by the County board of supervisors is for the Winchester Regional Airport Authority to purchase a hangar facility and related ground lease from Wells Fargo Bank for $1.25 million.

The facility, built in 2008, consists of roughly 27,000-square-feet of hangar floor space divided between two bays and 4,100-square-feet of office space, according to Stanley, who said the height and width of the doors “make it the only facility at the airport capable of large business-class aircraft storage.”

The airport authority also needs an additional $300,000 to make purchases that include more equipment and installation (estimated at $125,000); construction and project improvement (est. $75,000); and to pay for related administrative expenses (est. $50,000), according to Nick Sabo, executive director of Winchester Regional Airport.

Sabo wrote in a July 8 letter to County officials that the authority is exploring financing options, including the Virginia Airport Revolving Fund through the Virginia Resource Authority, and other suitable lenders.

Warren County had to adopt the airport financing resolution authorizing the debt per the Winchester Regional Airport Act of 1987, which requires each of the airport authority’s supporting localities to approve debt in excess of $500,000.

The total $1.55 million debt is to be repaid by the airport authority, Stanley said, adding that the County board of supervisors’ resolution includes language that stipulates: “Under no circumstances shall the payment of debt service on the bonds constitute general obligation indebtedness or a pledge of the full faith and credit or taxing power of any member jurisdictions (including Warren County).”

At the top of the meeting, Stanley also provided his administrator’s report to the supervisors and summarized efforts at both the Development Review Committee and Tourism Committee and provided updates on building inspections, Crooked Run West and other projects.

Regarding the Crooked Run West project, for example, Stanley said the board held a June 13 work session and learned that the applicant is making changes to its proffer statement and plans to resubmit a traffic impact analysis. He added that a public hearing is anticipated to be held by the board this fall on the project.

The County also is working on a project to replace the outdated fountain at Seide Park with a splash pad, according to Stanley’s report, which noted that the County has received three grants to help fund the project and on June 4 awarded a roughly $94,000 contract to Seaspray LLC. The project completion date is expected this summer, he added.

And H&W Construction is making significant progress on the new Rivermont Fire Station, another example cited in Stanley’s report. This month the company plans to start pouring footers for the building, which is slated for a fall delivery.

In other new business — as part of the supervisors’ adoption of the July 16 consent agenda — County board members also designated Joe Petty as the new Warren County Zoning Administrator, effective July 1.

Petty, who started with the County last year as a zoning officer, “has also been serving as the Deputy Zoning Administrator since February 2018,” according to County Planning Director Taryn Logan, who wrote in a report to the supervisors that Petty “came to the County with prior experience” and “has quickly learned the zoning ordinance, has taken over the approval of residential zoning permits, and has more recently become the staff member in charge of the Board of Zoning Appeals.

“He will handle zoning ordinance amendments and all zoning permits,” according to Logan’s report, which added that “Joe is an asset to our planning department team.”

The video of the Board of Supervisors meeting is [posted in this related story:

Warren County Board of Supervisors appoints new EDA board member

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EDA in Focus

Warren County Board of Supervisors appoints new EDA board member

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Board of Supervisors at the July 16th meeting. Photos and video by Mark Williams, Royal Examiner.

FRONT ROYAL — The Warren County Board of Supervisors during its Tuesday meeting unanimously appointed a new member to the Front Royal-Warren County Economic Development Authority (EDA), action that seemed overshadowed by Town and County citizens concerned about the EDA’s current financial entanglements.

The board of supervisors discussed the EDA Board of Directors during its closed session last night. Ultimately, the supervisors unanimously appointed Marjorie Martin of Front Royal, Va., to fill an unexpired term ending Feb. 28, 2022.

Martin will be joining the EDA board as it tries to maneuver a financial fiasco in which two former EDA staff  — Executive Director Jennifer McDonald and Administrative Assistant Michelle “Missy” Henry — each are in jail on multiple felony counts for their alleged involvement in the misappropriation or embezzlement of some $21 million in EDA assets.

The ongoing investigation and resulting lawsuits have left residents less than trusting of their local officials.

Melanie Salins of Front Royal, for instance, last night told the supervisors she was concerned about their continued closed session meetings and ongoing purchasing of properties “while we’re in the middle of this scandal.”

Melanie Salins voices her concerns about their continued closed session meetings and ongoing purchasing of properties.

Under the Virginia Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), the board of supervisors during their July 16 meeting held a closed session to discuss four items: the EDA Board of Directors personnel issue; acquisition of real property located in the Fork Magisterial District within the Town limits; and two consultations with legal counsel regarding possible litigation.

“I would like to ask you to please listen to your citizens,” Salins told the board of supervisors. “Stop doing this, right now at least — not forever, but at least for right now. Please stop buying more properties until we get this mess figured out.”

Paul Gabbert of Front Royal agreed.

Paul Gabbert agreed with Melanie Salins.

“To talk about purchasing more land right now, that’s ludicrous,” he told the County supervisors. “What are you all thinking? You buy this, you buy that, like money is coming off trees and then you raise taxes.”

Following the board of supervisors’ hour-long closed session, members returned to the dais.

The supervisors then made their EDA board member appointment, which wasn’t without a bit of drama.

Supervisor Thomas Sayre first put local EDA activist Mark Egger’s name into nomination, seconded by Supervisor Archie Fox. The move drew confused looks from Supervisors Linda Glavis and Tony Carter, who joined Board Chairman Daniel Murray in defeating Egger’s nomination by a 3-2 vote.

Murray then commented on the Fork District acquisition discussion held during the board of supervisors’ closed session.

“For clarification, since 2011 we have had an individual coming to the County offering their property for sale,” Murray explained. “The only reason why it was on our closed session tonight is because another letter came. We’ve taken no action.”

“A citizen sent a letter asking if we were interested in his property,” Supervisor Carter told the Royal Examiner. “The board has no interest at this time in this property.”

Residents continued to lament the EDA situation during the general public presentations comment portion of the supervisors’ regular meeting prior to adjournment.

“The EDA scandal is by far the No. 1 topic on the minds of most citizens and they feel angry and they feel betrayed,” said Walter Mabe of Front Royal, who announced his candidacy to represent the Shenandoah District, currently represented by Sayre, on the Warren County Board of Supervisors.

Walter Mabe is on the ballot in November for Board of Supervisors representing the Shenandoah District, currently held by Sayre

“I will work hard to renew their confidence in our local government leaders,” said Mabe, who among his professional skills has 21 years of experience as a project manager in the telecommunications industry and five years of service in the U.S. Marine Corps.

Mabe said that citizens have discussed many of their concerns with him and he’s chosen six topics to include in his platform: a balanced budget; managed taxes; improving the educational system; keeping the Shenandoah River clean; tourism; and smart county growth.

“I believe it is extremely important for the board of supervisors to put the county first,” Mabe said.

Bentonville, Va., resident Kristie Atwood voiced her concerns about the local $600,000 that she said has been spent to receive a preliminary report on the EDA’s current situation by the accounting firm Cherry Bekaert LLC.

Kristie Atwood voiced her concerns about the local $600,000 that she said has been spent to receive a preliminary report

“I have found so many errors in this report that it’s unbelievable,” Atwood said. “They were guided on a trip that someone wanted them to take” because the company had limited information to work with in its investigation and subsequent report.

“Now you four board of supervisors members, I am pleading with you,” she said, palming the podium, “you need to step in — and I take Mr. Carter and Doug [Stanley] and Whitten out of the picture,” she said, referring to the supervisor, county administrator and county attorney. “Y’all need to ask the FBI and the Virginia State Police … to come in here and do something that is fair because what’s going on now is not fair.”

Atwood thinks there is much more money unaccounted for than what’s been reported thus far.

“But you’ve gotta get the people’s hands out of it that want to cover their butts,” she told the board of supervisors.

The Royal Examiner’s camera was there:

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Town ups lost assets claim resulting from ‘sophisticated’ fraud scheme

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The EDA action or lack thereof, continues at the Warren County Courthouse. Royal Examiner File Photos/Roger Bianchini

In addressing the Town of Front Royal’s amendment to its lawsuit upping its estimate of lost assets due to financial fraud in the workings of the local Economic Development Authority from $3 million to $15 million, Town Attorney Doug Napier commented on what he perceived as a somewhat surprising degree of sophistication in how alleged embezzlement and misdirection of EDA, and consequently Town, assets was accomplished.

In its July 12 filing to amend the amount being sought for recovery from the EDA, the Town legal department notes that the “Financial Study” it had unsuccessfully been seeking a copy of from Warren County and the EDA over several months of FOIA requests had been “voluntarily” sent to it by County-contracted investigative accounting firm Cherry Bekaert. Information from that 2900-page report on signs of fraud within the EDA in hand, Town staff amended its original complaint upward by $12 million.

Asked about the additional loss estimate Napier told Royal Examiner, “During our review of the Cherry Bekaert financial study of the EDA, including the interviews of the EDA Board of Director and staff members some new facts and circumstances were brought to light which caused me to think that the Town’s consequential damages in particular, and even direct damages, might be larger than the Town had originally thought. So I thought the Town would be well served by getting out in front of this.”

Speaking of peripheral losses – what’s up with the Afton Inn in the wake of the project being cited by Cherry Bekaert as a conduit for McDonald embezzlements? That $2.5 million redevelopment Albatross is hard for town staff to ignore across the street from Town Hall.

Asked to elaborate, Napier added, “There are some indirect losses – we can’t blame it all, or say she took it all herself. But there are consequential damages or peripheral losses, a sort of ripple effect. And we wanted to be careful and aim higher, rather than lower in estimating our total losses.”

“She” is former EDA Executive Director Jennifer McDonald, jailed since May 24 on financial fraud charges. Related to some of the Cherry Bekaert information Napier observed, “In ways it is really complicated – her ability to figure out how to alter the books, forge documents – if what is in the report is what happened, if the (EDA) board is telling the truth about not signing those documents, it is really sophisticated. It makes you wonder if she had an advisor or she’s just really smart, or both. I really don’t know – but it took somebody who really knew what they were doing, to pull off.”

In the Town’s initial June 21st filing of a nine-page civil action against the EDA there was scathing criticism of a lack of oversight of McDonald through 2018, even after the May 2018 Town staff discovery of years of debt service overpayments to the EDA totaling over $291,000; and an apparently volatile August 23 confrontation between town officials and auditors with McDonald in the presence of then-EDA Board Chairman Greg Drescher and EDA Attorney Dan Whitten.

Somebody in town government was paying attention prior to mid 2018 – Councilwoman Bébhinn Egger faces off with Jennifer McDonald in October 2016. Unfortunately, none of Egger’s colleagues were paying attention.

“It was Town employees and agents who, on August 23, 2018, caused McDonald to admit, in person and while in the presence of the EDA/County Attorney and in the presence of the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the EDA, that McDonald had personally submitted false, and thereby knowingly and fraudulently, billing invoices to the Town for payment … Notwithstanding the events of August 23, 2018, the EDA Board of Directors, inexplicably, allowed McDonald to retain her position as Executive Director of the EDA with all of her rights, privileges and duties as before, with no known restrictions as such,” paragraphs 18-B and 18-D on page seven of the nine page complaint states.

As Royal Examiner reported at the time “inexplicably” was the operative word in the Town suit’s description of EDA board and staff behavior over the following four months preceding McDonald’s resignation under mounting evidence from the EDA and County’s own investigation by contracted accounting firm Cherry Bekaert.

“The EDA Board of Directors inexplicably did not immediately fire or otherwise discipline McDonald … inexplicably did not restrict McDonald’s access to the EDA offices or her duties … inexplicably did not immediately call law enforcement to investigate McDonald or her activities … not withstanding that the Town’s auditor on that date rightfully and appropriately personally called out McDonald for committing fraud upon the Town in the presence of McDonald … the EDA’s Chairman of its Board of Directors and in the presence of the EDA’s attorney,” paragraph 18-D of the initial Town complaint reads.

Better late than never – EDA board members and legal staff oversee the lockdown of Jennifer McDonald’s computer, work cell phone and office following announcement of her Dec. 20, 2018 resignation. Town officials wonder why such action didn’t come at least four months earlier.

But if the EDA and County Boards remained “inexplicably” oblivious to possible financial misdeeds by McDonald post-August 23, the Town did not.

“It was the Town …who almost immediately after August 23, 2018 contacted the Virginia State Police (VSP) and requested a complete law enforcement investigation of the EDA and McDonald, which the Virginia State Police immediately began, and continue to investigate to this date,” the Town complaint of June 21, 2019 reads.

The June 21st Town Complaint was served on two of those involved in that August 23, 2018 meeting: Whitten at his County Office as EDA attorney and McDonald at the Fairfax Adult Detention Center to which she was transferred from RSW Jail on June 11. The third recipient was new EDA Executive Director Doug Parsons, served at his Kendrick Lane EDA office. Parsons told Royal Examiner on July 17 that he hopes an accurate assessment of any money owed to either municipality by the EDA can be agreed upon and that the EDA will eventually be able to make right on its legally-verified debt to both the Town and County.

McDonald was arrested by VSP on May 24, after the first four of what now stands at 12 felony embezzlement and fraudulent movement of EDA assets indictments were handed down by the Warren County Special Grand Jury empanelled on April 1, 2019.

That empanelment followed a March 26 request to do so by Warren County Commonwealth Attorney Brian Madden. Madden’s request came the same day the EDA’s $17.6 million civil suit was filed. That suit is now amended up to $21.1 million the EDA is seeking recovery of from McDonald, her two real estate companies and five other surviving defendants: ITFederal and its CEO Truc “Curt” Tran; Earth Right Energy LLC and its principals Donald Poe and Justin Appleton.

A ninth defendant, former Warren County Sheriff Daniel McEathron, died on May 28 from what VSP described as “an unattended death with a firearm nearby”. McEathron was named in the suit due to his involvement in McDonald’s two real estate businesses and financial questions surrounding development of the criminal justice police training academy the EDA was involved in.
Recent motions filing in that EDA civil action will be the subject of coming Royal Examiner stories. In fact, a motions hearing on the EDA civil suit scheduled for today (Wednesday, July 17) was continued to an as-yet-undetermined date due to the judicial shuffling occurring in the wake of Judge William W. Sharpe’s July 12 recusal from all EDA matters.

McDonald criminal plea hearing postponed

At the time of the special grand jury empanelment request Madden said, “Since August of last year we have been working with the Virginia State Police as they investigated suspicious financial activities. Yesterday’s lawsuit filed by the EDA’s attorneys raises issues that are not presently being addressed by the VSP.

Local authorities, VSP and the FBI worked together during April 16 search of EDA headquarters and Jennifer McDonald’s office, the latter unused and apparently sealed since her Dec. 20, 2018 resignation.

“In reviewing the bill of complaint most of the allegations arise from an outside investigation conducted at the EDA’s request. To date this office has not been able to review any report generated by the outside investigation,” Madden observed.

Madden requests, Athey empanels special grand jury in EDA case

In the wake of Judge Athey’s May 22 order that EDA civil counsel produce the evidence upon which its now $21.1-million civil action is based, that is no longer true – even for the Town of Front Royal which had initially been blocked by EDA and County officials in its efforts to acquire information on the EDA fraud investigation.

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Front Royal Town Council goes behind closed doors on councilman’s right-of-way request

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Will we supply water or not? That's the question asked at the Town Council July 15th Work Session. Photo and video by Mark Williams.

FRONT ROYAL — Front Royal Town Council members on July 15 held a roughly 15-minute work session before heading into a closed meeting regarding the Town’s disposition of publicly held real property.

Specifically, Town Council members needed to discuss an application by Front Royal Town Councilman Chris Holloway, who owns the privately held Chris Holloway Construction LLC in Front Royal, Va., to purchase or have a portion of an unimproved right-of-way on Carter Street vacated by the Town.

While further details were scant on Monday night, the right-of-way request went behind closed doors because “discussion in an open meeting would adversely affect the bargaining position or negotiating strategy of Town Council,” according to the work session agenda. All council members present unanimously agreed to the motion to go into a closed meeting on the item.

Near the start of the work session, Councilwoman Letasha Thompson broached the Crooked Run 2 development company request, which seeks Town water-sewer service for primarily residential development outside the town limits.

“I’d like to get a public hearing or whatever it is we need to do” regarding the Crooked Run West project, Thompson said during the council/mayor related items segment of the work session.

Crooked Run West LLC wants to rezone from commercial to a mixed-use but primarily residential project if the Town of Front Royal will supply the necessary water and sewer for it. Currently, agreements between the Town and Warren County on supplying water-sewer services to this area only allow commercial development so the request requires a change in the comprehensive plan.

Town Manager Joe Walsh said Monday that he interprets Town Code to mean that once the County has made such a request, it’s the Town’s turn to determine how it wants to proceed.

“The way I read the code, the ball’s in our court to make a decision at this point,” Walsh told the council members, noting that the county must apply for the water prior to any rezoning.

Walsh added that the county’s letter of request was received in April, the council looked at it in April, “but we didn’t do anything about it,” he said.

Councilmen Jacob Meza and Holloway were keen on pushing the decision off until the council’s next work session until they receive more details and data from Walsh.

“We need to understand everything that goes into that, not just whether we’re going to supply water or not,” Meza said.

“That’s why I thought they were coming back to us,” said Vice Mayor William Sealock, referring to the Warren County Board of Supervisors. “The decision basically is we supply or do not supply.”

Walsh said the item could be placed on the calendar for the council’s August 15 work session. He said he’ll provide more information to better inform council members at that time.

In other work session business, Town Council members heard from Town Finance Director B.J. Wilson that no bids have been received to date for the non-exclusive cable system franchise bid opening.

“We will move forward with the franchise agreement in some fashion and come back to the council in the future,” Wilson said.

Jeremy Camp, Town director of Planning & Zoning, had pretty much the same report for Town Council members regarding bids for the Facade Improvement Program. He said only one bid had been received and “it was not competitive” and was “way out of the ballpark.”

Based on input from contractors, Camp said the program’s management team has decided to rebid it.

“We’ll get back to you once we go through that rerun of the bidding process,” Camp said.

The Royal Examiner’s camera was there:

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Warren County Comprehensive Plan review underway

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Warren County Planning Commission work session to review Comprehensive Plan. Photo and video by Mark Williams, Royal Examiner.

Following the July 10th Warren County Planning Commission meeting, the Commission went into a work session to start the Comprehensive Plan review process. The first chapter of the Plan to be reviewed is Chapter 3 – Natural Resources.

You can view the Comprehensive Plan on the Warren County site: Chapter 3: Natural Resources

This process is scheduled to run until December 2020.

The schedule will be:

July-August 2019 – Chapter 3 (Natural Resources)
September-October 2019 – Chapter 2 (Demographics)
October-November-2019 – Chapter 4 (Growth Management and Land Use)
December 2019-January 2020 – Chapter 5 (Community Facilities)
February-March 2020 – Chapter 6 (Economic Development)
April-May 2020 – Chapter 7 – (Infrastructure)
June 2020 – (Implementation)
July 2020 – Prepare final revisions
August-September 2020 – Planning Commission – Public Hearing
October 2020 – Present Comprehensive Plan to Board of Supervisors
November-December 2020 – Board of Supervisors – Public Hearing

From the County’s website:

The Comprehensive Plan is the County’s official policy guide for future development related decisions. The Plan is long-range in nature, and provides a picture of how the community wishes to develop over the next 15 to 20 years.

As a policy document, the Plan provides a framework for the County’s residents and decision makers to conceptualize how the County should look and function. Within each chapter of the Plan, there are implementation strategies identified. All or some portion of the strategies may be implemented to accomplish the goals and objectives for any particular topic addressed in the Plan. The major purposes of the Comprehensive Plan are:

  • Provide a guide for the numerous public and private decisions that will create the future County.
  • Promote the interests of the community as a whole.
  • Enhance, describe, and promote the County’s physical environment.
  • Develop a coordinated, well-planned system of public services.
  • Evaluate short-term actions against long-term goals.
  • Recognize the natural resources, historical, and architectural significance of Warren County and the surrounding area so that they can be more effectively preserved, protected, and integrated into an orderly pattern of development.
  • Fulfill the legal requirement of Chapter 11, Title 15.1 of the Code of Virginia.
  • The overall goal of the comprehensive plan is to: Maintain and enhance the quality and character of Warren County’s natural and man-made environment by promoting the efficient use and conservation of the County’s land and natural resources in order to effectively meet the social and economic needs of present and future citizens.
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Jul 22 @ 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
Design a chair for the SPCA CHAIR-ity Brunch @ SPCA of Winchester, Frederick, and Clarke Counties
Calling all artists!! Design a chair for the SPCA CHAIR-ity Brunch and save homeless animals. Pick up a chair from the SPCA Thrift Shop, build a chair, up-cycle a chair, paint a chair, or upholster[...]
Jul
23
Tue
1:30 pm Botanical Drawing 1 @ Art in the Valley
Botanical Drawing 1 @ Art in the Valley
Jul 23 @ 1:30 pm – 4:00 pm
Botanical Drawing 1 @ Art in the Valley
Learn and practice the art of botanical drawing in pencil with local artist and instructor Elena Maza. Tuesdays: 1:30pm – 4:00pm, July 9th – 30th. Classes will be held in our upstairs studio at 205[...]
Jul
26
Fri
6:30 pm Pour Me Another Fluid Art @ Strokes of Creativity
Pour Me Another Fluid Art @ Strokes of Creativity
Jul 26 @ 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm
Pour Me Another Fluid Art @ Strokes of Creativity
Two classes in July – the 18th and 26th at 6:30pm. Pre-Registration is a must! Pour Me Another is an actual class. You will learn the ins and outs of paint pouring and go home[...]
Jul
27
Sat
10:00 am Build a Whimsical Clay House @ Explore Art & Clay
Build a Whimsical Clay House @ Explore Art & Clay
Jul 27 @ 10:00 am – 1:00 pm
Build a Whimsical Clay House @ Explore Art & Clay
In this clay workshop you will make a whimsical house, using several decorating techniques to achieve textures, that you can later highlight with color. Perfect for beginners and potters alike. Choose to make it a[...]
3:00 pm Teacher Classroom Door Hanger @ Strokes of Creativity
Teacher Classroom Door Hanger @ Strokes of Creativity
Jul 27 @ 3:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Teacher Classroom Door Hanger @ Strokes of Creativity
Welcome in the new school year with a Personalized Classroom Door Hanger! Make your choice of a pencil, bus, apple or cloud sign. Must preregister with deposit of $10 and the choice of shape by[...]
Jul
28
Sun
12:00 pm Crop With Us @ Strokes of Creativity
Crop With Us @ Strokes of Creativity
Jul 28 @ 12:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Crop With Us @ Strokes of Creativity
Come Crop With Us Sunday, July 28, 12 noon to 5:00 pm. Receive a gift for pre-registering and attending. $15 No refunds. Feel free to bring your own snacks or drinks!
Jul
29
Mon
10:00 am Design a chair for the SPCA CHAI... @ SPCA of Winchester, Frederick, and Clarke Counties
Design a chair for the SPCA CHAI... @ SPCA of Winchester, Frederick, and Clarke Counties
Jul 29 @ 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
Design a chair for the SPCA CHAIR-ity Brunch @ SPCA of Winchester, Frederick, and Clarke Counties
Calling all artists!! Design a chair for the SPCA CHAIR-ity Brunch and save homeless animals. Pick up a chair from the SPCA Thrift Shop, build a chair, up-cycle a chair, paint a chair, or upholster[...]
10:00 am Let’s Explore Art @ Strokes of Creativity
Let’s Explore Art @ Strokes of Creativity
Jul 29 @ 10:00 am – 12:30 pm
Let's Explore Art @ Strokes of Creativity
Monday July 29th – Wednesday July 31st – Friday August 2nd 10:00 AM -12:30 PM Ages: 6-9 $100 per student: Includes an art supply kit and snack & drink Day One: Lines, lines, they go[...]
Jul
30
Tue
1:30 pm Botanical Drawing 1 @ Art in the Valley
Botanical Drawing 1 @ Art in the Valley
Jul 30 @ 1:30 pm – 4:00 pm
Botanical Drawing 1 @ Art in the Valley
Learn and practice the art of botanical drawing in pencil with local artist and instructor Elena Maza. Tuesdays: 1:30pm – 4:00pm, July 9th – 30th. Classes will be held in our upstairs studio at 205[...]