The Front Royal Town Council meeting on March 28, will include several public hearings on proposed tax rates, sewer service rate increases, Poe’s River Edge commercial campground permit proposal, and a Sanitary Sewer Easement request on Toray Drive. See the Town’s complete public notice released Thursday afternoon, below:
1) for the Fiscal Year 2022-2023, to consider the Real Property Tax rate at $0.13 per $100 assessed value, which represents no increase over the current year’s rates and has remained near $0.13 since 2014; and the Personal Property Tax rate at $0.64 per $100 assessed value, which represents no increase since 2014; and the personal property tax relief rate (PPTR) for qualifying vehicles at a rate of 49% of the value on the first $20,000 of assessed value for qualifying vehicles with an assessed value greater than $1,000; and a personal property tax relief rate of 100% for qualifying vehicles with an assessed value of $1,000 or less, pursuant to Virginia Code §58.1-3524.
2) to consider the partial vacation of an existing 20’ sanitary sewer easement located on Warren County Tax Parcel No. 12-G-1-2-1A1, at 195 Toray Drive, pursuant to Va. Code Section 15.2-1800 (B).
3) a Special Use Permit application submitted by Poe’s River Edge, LLC requesting permission to operate a commercial recreation facility on T.M. #20A1-3-5A1. The proposed facility will operate as a 200-site campground facility. The parcel is zoned I-2. Per Town Code Chapter 175-65.B, commercial recreation facilities are permitted only with a Special Use Permit.
4) to consider an ordinance to amend and re-enact Front Royal Town Code Sections 134-22.1 and 134-22.4 so that sewer service rates are increased. The Town’s legal authority to impose such fees and rates for water and sewer service can be found in Virginia Code Section 15.2-2119, 15.2-2111, and 15.2-2122. If approved, the following fees and rates would be increased as indicated July 1, 2022:
134-22.1 – Sanitary Sewer Service Rates
Sewer service base rate from $17.33 to $17.72
Sewer service rate above 3,000 gallons from $14.90 to $15.24 per 1,000 gallons
134-22.4 – Sewer Service Rates for Commercial/Industrial Laundries
In-Town laundry sewer service rate below 100,000 gallons from $15.98 to $16.34 per 1,000 gallons
In-Town laundry sewer service rate above 100,000 gallons and below 500,000 gallons from $14.52 to $14.85 per 1,000 gallons
In-Town laundry sewer service rate above 500,000 gallons from $13.80 to $14.11 per 1,000 gallons
More information on any of the scheduled public hearings is available during regular business hours by contacting the Clerk of Council’s Office at (540)635-8007 or 102 E. Main Street Front Royal, Virginia 22630. All Citizens of the Town of Front Royal are invited to attend these hearings to express their views.
Town Notice: Mandatory Water Conservation
The Town of Front Royal has observed that as of September 15, 2023, the daily stream flow rate of the South Fork of the Shenandoah River is above 240 cubic feet per second (cfs), but below 340 cubic feet per second (cfs). Emergency Water conservation lifted, and mandatory water conservation is effective September 15, 2023.
The Town’s permit for water withdrawal from the river issued by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality stipulates certain river flow rates require various conservation measures.
As a result of the river flow and to be in compliance with the issued withdrawal permit, all users of the Town of Front Royal’s municipal water system are advised to continue to observe mandatory water conservation efforts.
During periods of mandatory water conservation, all users of the Front Royal municipal water system shall be prohibited from the following:
1. The watering of shrubbery, trees, lawns, grass, plants, or any other vegetation from Town water supplies (except indoor plantings, greenhouse and commercial nursery stocks, and new plantings less than one-year-old) between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.
2. The outdoor washing of automobiles, trucks, trailers, boats, airplanes, or other types of mobile equipment, except in a commercial vehicle wash facility.
3. The washing of private streets, driveways, parking lots, service station grounds, or other paved outdoor surfaces.
4. The operation of any ornamental fountains unless the water is recycled. Municipal ornamental fountains shall be cleaned and closed within two (2) days of the mandatory water conservation restriction declaration.
5. The filling of swimming and/or wading pools, except that filled pools may be topped off to maintain the appropriate levels for use.
Violation of any of these mandatory water conservation activities can be punished by a fine of up to $1000 per offense committed. In addition, each day that a violation occurs can be punished as a separate offense. Water users are urged to comply with these efforts.
Water users are requested to continue to reduce water usage through various other water conservation measures, including the following:
1. Serving drinking water in restaurants only upon patron request.
2. Operating only fully loaded dishwashers and clothes washing machines.
3. Take short showers instead of baths.
4. Turn off the tap while shaving or brushing your teeth.
5. Use two basins when washing dishes by hand, one for washing and one for rinsing, rather than letting the tap run.
6. Reduce all non-essential water usage.
7. Repair or replace all water fixtures with reduced flow fixtures.
Conserving water will not only assist during this drought period but will also save consumers money on their utility bills.
Thank you for your assistance in conserving our water resources during this low river flow period. Please monitor your local media sources for future reports of water conservation efforts in the Town of Front Royal.
If you have any questions about this mandatory water restriction, please contact the Town’s Water Treatment Plant at (540) 636-7474.
Bowman Park Closures Announced Amid Essential Tree Mitigation Efforts
September 12-13 Set for Maintenance by Timber Works Tree Care.
The idyllic Bowman Park, located on Luray Avenue, next to St. John the Baptist Roman Catholic Church, a favorite among Front Royal locals and tourists, will see its gates closed on September 12 and 13, 2023. The closure is a necessary move following Town Arborist Jim Osborn’s findings, revealing that several trees within the park precincts were posing significant hazards to public safety.
The inspection, initiated by a complaint, led Osborn to identify various trees in critical conditions, jeopardizing the well-being of park-goers. Grasping the gravity of the issue, the Town of Front Royal swiftly roped in Timber Works Tree Care. As experts in tree care and maintenance, Timber Works will lead the mitigation operations. Both Osborn and another ISA Certified Arborist from Timber Works will be meticulously monitoring the project to ensure optimum outcomes.
Multiple trees are slated for removal. A prominent White Oak, with a diameter of 55″ at breast height (dbh), carries the scars of a lightning strike from a decade ago. This injury led to interior decay and brown rot, thereby weakening its structure. Another White Oak, standing at 44″ dbh, displays over 25% crown decline, a phenomenon known as “Oak Decline.” This condition, documented since 2019 by the University of Maryland, stems from multiple factors, including soil compaction, water runoff, and diminished organic matter. A Burr Oak, measuring 38″ dbh, showing the toll of multiple lead damages over time, will also be removed due to its deteriorating state.
In addition to the removals, the park will witness hazard reduction procedures on two White Oaks, sized 53″ dbh and 47″ dbh. This involves the pruning of branches larger than 2″ in diameter to enhance tree health and minimize risks.
Bowman Park’s brief closure ensures that these vital measures are executed without hindrance, maximizing safety for its patrons. For inquiries or concerns about the procedures, Jim Osborn remains accessible to the public. His commitment lies in safeguarding everyone while maintaining the park’s natural allure.
Town Notice: Upcoming Asphalt Repairs Promise Improved Roadways Amid Nighttime Operations
As night blankets the streets of Front Royal, significant improvements are on the horizon. Kickin’ Asphalt, the contractor of the town, gears up to enhance John Marshall Highway’s current condition.
Starting from September 10th to 15th, Front Royal will witness essential asphalt patch repairs on a prime segment of John Marshall Highway. This stretch extends from Biggs Drive to the Town Limits. The nocturnal activities, set to commence each night from 8:00 p.m. and conclude by 6:00 a.m., are deliberately orchestrated to minimize disruption during peak hours.
With safety and smooth traffic flow as key priorities, motorists are advised to remain vigilant. Lane closures are anticipated, and flagger operations will be actively managing the transitions. Signage will guide motorists through the affected areas. As the thrum of machinery fills the nighttime air, the town’s officials urge the community to exercise caution, especially with on-site crew members working diligently through the wee hours.
The impetus behind the repair operations is clear: to offer residents and visitors an enhanced driving experience. A smoother, safer, and more efficient road network is invaluable for any town, reinforcing its commitment to infrastructure, safety, and quality of life.
While the pros of the operation far outweigh the short-term inconvenience, the Town of Front Royal and Kickin’ Asphalt express their sincere apologies to the public. For those with queries or concerns, the Public Works department remains accessible from Monday to Friday, between 7:00 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. After regular hours, the Non-Emergency Police Department stands ready to assist at 540-635-2111.
In a world where rapid urbanization often compromises the quality of our roads, Front Royal’s proactive measures underscore its dedication to its residents. As the hum of the night signals progress, one can’t help but appreciate the town’s vision for a smoother tomorrow.
Front Royal Faces Severe Water Shortages: Emergency Conservation Measures Enacted
Town Mandates Strict Water Use Limitations as Shenandoah River Flow Declines Sharply.
Front Royal is facing a serious water issue. As of September 6, 2023, the daily flow rate of the South Fork of the Shenandoah River has plummeted to below 240 cubic feet per second (cfs). This crucial water source for the community has triggered immediate emergency water conservation measures, as outlined by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ).
The situation’s gravity lies in its suddenness and the immediate potential impact on Front Royal’s municipal water system. The DEQ-issued permit for water withdrawal stipulates that different flow rates necessitate different conservation measures. The alarming drop below 240 cfs means that Front Royal must now enact emergency water conservation rules.
The new rules prohibit various activities, including the use of hoses or sprinklers for watering outdoor vegetation, except for certain exemptions like indoor plantings and commercial nurseries. Also banned is the outdoor washing of vehicles, unless it’s at a commercial wash facility, as well as cleaning of outdoor surfaces and operating ornamental fountains. Filling swimming or wading pools and any residential and recreational outdoor water use is strictly forbidden.
“Non-compliance with these urgent measures could result in a fine of up to $1,000 per offense. Each day a violation continues is treated as a separate offense,” Town Manager Joseph Waltz sternly advises.
Apart from the immediate restrictions, the community is urged to adopt consistent water-saving habits. These include only providing water in restaurants upon customer request, operating dishwashers, and washing machines when fully loaded, favoring short showers over baths, and adopting more efficient dishwashing techniques. Such consistent practices could have a lasting positive impact on the town’s water management system.
The low flow rate of the Shenandoah River serves as an urgent reminder that water, though abundant, is not unlimited. Front Royal’s current predicament is a cautionary tale that calls for both immediate action and long-term sustainable practices. The current situation should encourage other communities to reevaluate their water management strategies to prevent facing similar crises.
For any questions regarding the water conservation measures, residents are advised to contact Front Royal’s Water Treatment Plant at (540) 636-7474.
Tackling Peak Demand: Community Energy Savings Days Gear Up for Tuesday and Wednesday
A Collaborative Step to Alleviate Strain on the Electrical Grid and Combat Climate Change.
As we grapple with the growing demands on our electricity grid and the increasing threats posed by climate change, communities are looking for innovative solutions. One such approach has been set in motion with the announcement of Community Energy Savings Days scheduled for the coming Tuesday and Wednesday. This initiative aims to curtail energy usage during peak hours, which are expected to run from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., thereby optimizing the electrical grid, reducing energy costs, and mitigating the release of greenhouse gases.
The Why and How of Peak Demand
The electrical grid operates much like any other supply and demand system. When demand surges, typically during the late afternoon and early evening, extra strain is put on the network. Such surges often necessitate the activation of “peaker” power plants, which are generally less efficient and more expensive to run, driving up the cost of electricity for all consumers. These plants also tend to emit higher levels of greenhouse gases, further exacerbating the climate crisis.
With the Community Energy Savings Days, the goal is to encourage residents to minimize electricity usage during these high-demand hours. So, how can you contribute? The suggestions are simple yet effective:
- Close your window blinds or drapes to block out the sun’s heat, allowing your air conditioning to run more efficiently.
- Shift energy-intensive household chores like doing laundry or running the dishwasher to non-peak hours.
- Turn off unnecessary lights and electronics, and unplug items like cell phone chargers and coffee makers that continue to draw power even when not in use.
The push for energy savings isn’t just about enduring a couple of afternoons without your dishwasher running. It’s part of a broader strategy aimed at creating more resilient and sustainable energy systems. “This initiative is a step towards encouraging a more responsible consumption pattern across the community. If we can spread out our demand, we can not only make energy more affordable but also reduce our environmental impact,” said Jane Smith, an energy analyst at the Environmental Protection Agency.
The concept of demand response isn’t new. Companies like Tesla have already made strides in this area with their smart-grid technologies that help balance supply and demand. However, this community-led approach adds a different dimension, emphasizing that collective action can bring about significant change without waiting for top-down directives or technological silver bullets.
As we look for ways to tackle the complex challenges of climate change and energy security, Community Energy Savings Days serve as a reminder that small actions, when multiplied across an entire community, can have a powerful impact. The initiative offers a dual benefit: immediate relief to our strained electrical grids and a long-term reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. Whether you view it as a band-aid solution or a stepping stone towards a more sustainable future, the fact remains that every kilowatt saved counts.
Front Royal Faces Water Woes: Urgent Conservation Measures Enforced
Declining Stream Flow Triggers Mandatory Water Restrictions.
The scenic town of Front Royal, often known as the “Canoe Capital of Virginia,” now finds itself grappling with a dwindling water supply. Recent measurements taken on August 23, 2023, have revealed a concerning drop in the daily stream flow rate of the South Fork of the Shenandoah River. This flow now stands at a precarious 340 cubic feet per second (cfs), translating to approximately 220 million gallons per day.
The Ebbing Flow and its Implications
Historically, the Shenandoah River has been both a boon and a lifeline for Front Royal, providing for the town’s water needs and supporting a range of recreational activities. The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, in its foresight, established conditions on the Town’s permit for water withdrawal from the river. These stipulations are triggered based on varying river flow rates, leading to different tiers of conservation measures.
Now, with the South Fork’s flow having plunged below the critical threshold, the Town has swiftly acted to enforce these measures to safeguard its precious water resources. The Town Manager, Joseph Waltz, issued an official statement detailing the mandatory water conservation measures and appealing to the townspeople’s collective responsibility.
Dos and Don’ts During This Critical Phase
Residents connected to the Front Royal municipal water system now face stringent rules:
- The watering of shrubbery, trees, lawns, grass, plants, or any other vegetation from Town water supplies (except indoor plantings, greenhouse and commercial nursery stocks, and new plantings less than one-year-old) between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.
- The outdoor washing of automobiles, trucks, trailers, boats, airplanes, or other types of mobile equipment, except in a commercial vehicle wash facility.
- The washing of private streets, driveways, parking lots, service station grounds, or other paved outdoor surfaces.
- The operation of any ornamental fountains, unless the water is recycled. Municipal ornamental fountains shall be cleaned and closed within two (2) days of the mandatory water conservation restriction declaration.
- The filling of swimming and/or wading pools, except that filled pools may be topped off to maintain the appropriate levels for use.
Non-compliance has steep repercussions, with fines reaching up to $1000 per offense. Notably, each day of violation can be counted as a separate offense, amplifying the potential financial blow for repeat offenders.
Yet, the Town’s efforts don’t stop with these mandatory guidelines. In an earnest endeavor to embed a culture of conservation, the community is also urged to adopt voluntary measures. These include practices like only requesting drinking water at restaurants when needed, opting for short showers over baths, and ensuring appliances like dishwashers run at full loads.
Toward a Sustainable Future
While these measures respond to an immediate crisis, their long-term benefits can’t be overlooked. Reduced water usage doesn’t just mitigate the drought’s impacts; it’s also a boon for consumers’ pockets, lowering utility bills.
As Front Royal navigates this challenging period, community cooperation remains paramount. Residents are urged to stay informed via local media about ongoing water conservation efforts and updates.