Inn to cel­e­brate town ‘re­la­tion­ships’ dur­ing 40th an­niver­sary fête

Rappahannock News - - FRONT PAGE - BY LUKE CHRISTO­PHER

The Wash­ing­ton Town Coun­cil heard sev­eral pre­sen­ta­tions at its reg­u­lar monthly meet­ing this week, in­clud­ing plans to repave the town’s streets in the com­ing months and for­mer Inn at Lit­tle Wash­ing­ton ex­ec­u­tive sous chef Bon­nie Moore dis­cussing a pro­posed cel­e­bra­tion for the Inn’s 40th an­niver­sary.

The Inn’s fête is sched­uled for Sun­day, Sept. 2, dur­ing La­bor Day week­end, and will fea­ture booths, chefs sta­tions, bev­er­ages, mu­sic and fire­works.

“We have plans to bring back all of the alumni who worked at the Inn and the chefs who are now scat­tered all across the coun­try to come back home and cook at the culi­nary fes­ti­val,” Moore said. “We are calling this ‘Inn­stock,’ and we are chan­nel­ing Wood­stock.”

“Pa­trick [O’Con­nell, the Inn’s pro­pri­etor, chef and a mem­ber of the town coun­cil] very

much wants to cel­e­brate the re­la­tion­ships of the 40 years, par­tic­u­larly the re­la­tion­ships in the town, the county and Vir­ginia,” Moore con­tin­ued. “We would like to work with the town to pro­mote this; it's a great op­por­tu­nity to show off this fab­u­lous town and sur­round­ing county as a tourist desti­na­tion to a much broader au­di­ence than we typ­i­cally reach at the Inn on a reg­u­lar ba­sis.”

The fes­ti­val is ex­pected to sell out ap­prox­i­mately 500 pre­sale tick­ets at $250 each, Moore said. In keep­ing with O’Con­nell cel­e­brat­ing re­la­tion­ships with the town, each of the town’s 133 res­i­dents would be granted free ac­cess, food and bev­er­age in­cluded.

“In ex­change for the ad­mis­sions for town res­i­dents [worth $33,250] and the pro­mo­tion of of the town,” Moore said the Inn was ask­ing the town for $5,000 to help with pro­mo­tion of this event.

With a Sun­day event, Mayor John Fox Sul­li­van said, the town and county may see an in­flux of ac­tiv­ity for the three days.

“Maybe, 500 to 700 peo­ple that show up to this county for three days . . . and the Inn is only do­ing some­thing one day, those peo­ple have to do some­thing Satur­day and Mon­day, it's La­bor Day week­end. So the im­pact on busi­nesses through­out the county is po­ten­tially huge,” the mayor said.

Moore said the event “is some­thing that could hap­pen on an an­nual ba­sis.”

The re­sponse from the coun­cil seemed pos­i­tive. Newly ap­pointed coun­cil mem­ber Fred Catlin said: “I think it's a won­der­ful idea . . . I have com­plete faith that the money will be used wisely, but it would be nice to have some kind of idea . . . of some kind of ac­count­ing of the funds. I think we have a re­spon­si­bil­ity to the peo­ple, the towns­folk.”

No ac­tion was taken at the meet­ing, but the fund­ing will be dis­cussed at a fu­ture meet­ing, Sul­li­van said.

“Why don't you let us talk about that, about the var­i­ous is­sues, and see whether there is sup­port. Right now peo­ple have ques­tions, we've had some is­sues with this in the past,” he said.

Mark Nes­bit, VDOT’s War­ren­ton Res­i­dency en­gi­neer, said the streets in­cluded in the 2018 repaving, the first since the town’s waste­water sys­tem was in­stalled nearly a decade ago, in­clude Mount Salem Av­enue, Har­ris Hol­low Road. and Main Street east of the post of­fice.

“As far as specif­i­cally what day they are go­ing to be done, I have no idea at this time, but some­time be­fore the end of Novem­ber. I don’t see this tak­ing very long,” Nes­bit said. “It's not a lot of miles, I don't see it tak­ing more than a few days at most.”

The coun­cil also had a 40-minute dis­cus­sion on def­i­ni­tions for a draft or­di­nance def­i­ni­tions on P to P (aka. Airbnbs), with talk­ing points on owner op­er­a­tor res­i­dency, emer­gency pro­ce­dures and health stan­dards. County At­tor­ney John Ben­nett and Catlin are to re­vise doc­u­ment for next month’s meet­ing for fur­ther dis­cus­sion; a pub­lic hear­ing on the or­di­nance is not yet sched­uled.

The evening con­cluded with a unan­i­mous roll call vote to au­tho­rize a pub­lic hear­ing for Fos­ter Har­ris House pro­pri­etor Klaus Peters’ ap­pli­ca­tion to mod­ify the ex­ist­ing spe­cial use per­mit to al­low up to two seat­ings of 10 per­sons, five days a week each, and to change the serv­ing hours from 6:30 to 11 p.m. to 6:00 to 11:00 p.m.; and change the name of the owner to Peters Hos­pi­tal­ity Man­age­ment, LLC.

“I have been here for one year and have in­ten­tion­ally made no changes, be­cause I just wanted to con­tinue pro­vid­ing qual­ity din­ners and qual­ity ser­vice,” said Peters. “Presently, we are a truly a spe­cial event venue, lo­cal peo­ple come to our lit­tle restau­rant on their an­niver­sary and their birth­day. And I feel we could do much, much bet­ter to be­come truly a part of this com­mu­nity and to be­come an­other place for lo­cal peo­ple to en­joy to come there sev­eral times a year.”

Town at­tor­ney Ben­nett said the ap­pli­ca­tion was in or­der: “The way the coun­cil worded the statute, or the or­di­nance rather, it's lim­ited to ten guests per seat­ing, but the num­ber of seat­ings were not lim­ited by the or­di­nance, so this ap­pli­ca­tion is in keep­ing with the or­di­nance . . . I have not been to many restau­rants with only five ta­bles, so it seems to me like very min­i­mal use, min­i­mal im­pact.”

A pub­lic hear­ing is sched­uled for the March 12 meet­ing; town res­i­dent Ray Gooch’s com­ments at Mon­day night’s ses­sion could presage some lively dis­cus­sion: “In the old days when B&Bs first came to Lit­tle Wash­ing­ton,” said Gooch, who once served on the town coun­cil, “there was a lot of dis­cus­sion about dis­rupt­ing a res­i­den­tial neigh­bor­hood with a B&B, and we all talked about it and came to a rea­son­able res­o­lu­tion. Now we have B&Bs that are go­ing to be­come restau­rants, and you can’t have a restau­rant in the zone that any of the B&Bs are in.”

The evening con­cluded with a unan­i­mous roll call vote to au­tho­rize a pub­lic hear­ing for Fos­ter Har­ris House pro­pri­etor Klaus Peters’ ap­pli­ca­tion to mod­ify the ex­ist­ing spe­cial use per­mit to al­low up to two seat­ings of 10 per­sons, five days a week each.

BY LUKE CHRISTO­PHER

“Maybe, 500 to 700 peo­ple that show up to this county for three days . . . and the Inn is only do­ing some­thing one day, those peo­ple have to do some­thing Satur­day and Mon­day, it’s La­bor Day week­end. So the im­pact on busi­nesses through­out the county is...

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