Town a big step closer to keep­ing post of­fice

Postal site de­vel­oper agrees to buy Warren Av­enue prop­erty from town

Rappahannock News - - FRONT PAGE - By Luke Christo­pher Spe­cial to the Rap­pa­han­nock News

Christ­mas could come early for those in Wash­ing­ton who wish to keep the post of­fice in the county seat, where it’s been for al­most 215 years, with the new de­sired site a short stroll from its ex­ist­ing home at the cor­ner of Main and Mid­dle streets.

The Town Coun­cil voted unan­i­mously Mon­day night to hold a pub­lic hear­ing on its pro­posed ac­cep­tance of a $135,000 con­tract for pur­chase of a town-owned par­cel of land on Warren Av­enue at Leggett Lane, al­low­ing for a spe­cial­ized de­vel­oper to con­struct a post of­fice and lease it to the U.S. Postal Ser­vice.

Mayor John Fox Sul­li­van said Kim Tedrick, of Mid-At­lantic Postal Ser­vice, which is in the busi­ness of build­ing postal fa­cil­i­ties through­out greater Wash­ing­ton D.C., has agreed to buy the Warren Av­enue prop­erty, at the same time con­tin­u­ing the town’s — and now Tedrick’s — ne­go­ti­a­tions with the U.S. Postal Ser­vice to keep the fa­cil­ity in the his­toric county seat.

“He [Tedrick] has a lot of ex­pe­ri­ence in putting up — I'm for­get­ting the num­ber, 25 or 35 post of­fices in North­ern Vir­ginia,” Sul­li­van said. “He has a good rep­u­ta­tion, he knows how gov­ern­ment works. He be­lieves we have a very good site. Some­thing that is of im­por­tance is the speed in which we can deal with this op­por­tu­nity.

“There are zon­ing is­sues, there are po­ten­tially ARB is­sues, the fact that there is an old build­ing on that prop­erty,” Sul­li­van said.

The coun­cil unan­i­mously voted to ad­ver­tise a pub­lic hear­ing in De­cem­ber to prop­erly zone the .5853-acre par­cel for postal use, to be fol­lowed by a joint meet­ing with the plan­ning com­mi­sion, which could rec­om­mend a zon­ing or­di­nance or spe­cial-use per­mit to al­low for post of­fices and sim­i­lar fa­cil­i­ties.

Sul­li­van stressed that the “pur­chase agree­ment” with Tedrick is now a pub­lic doc­u­ment agree­ment

con­tin­gent on his com­pany, Mid-At­lantic Postal Ser­vice, con­sum­mat­ing a deal with the U.S. Postal Ser­vice.

The third ac­tion taken by the coun­cil in­volved what might be done with the ex­ist­ing wooden build­ing.

“The coun­cil some time ago had this struc­ture eval­u­ated and the opin­ion of the per­son eval­u­at­ing the struc­ture was it could not rea­son­ably be moved and wasn't a can­di­date for restora­tion,” ed­u­cated Town At­tor­ney John Ben­nett. “If a party wants to step for­ward to move it that will be fine.”

The coun­cil unan­i­mously agreed to con­sider con­tract of­fers to move the struc­ture, by no later than Feb. 14, 2019.

Sul­li­van, who af­ter De­cem­ber will have ended his sec­ond and fi­nal term as mayor, added: “We are are go­ing to move this ex­pe­di­tiously as pos­si­ble . . . to try and take ad­van­tage of what we think is a great op­por­tu­nity.”

The out­go­ing mayor said the pro­posal meets the U.S. Postal Ser­vice’s stated needs — a new build­ing, with easy truck ac­cess from U.S. 211, “and it is in the town of Wash­ing­ton, it's not two miles south of here. One might think . . . that it might be a win/win propo­si­tion.”

Mean­while, dur­ing pub­lic com­ment, coun­cil mem­ber­elect Joe Whited sug­gested that in­stead of swear­ing in in­com­ing mayor Fred Catlin at the reg­u­lar monthly meet­ing Dec. 10, he and newly elected town trea­surer Gail Swift be sworn in the pre­vi­ous day, at the town’s an­nual potluck Christ­mas party at Town Hall. Town clerk Laura Dodd men­tioned that Cir­cuit Court Clerk Peggy Ralph would have to be in at­ten­dance.

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