In boundary change talks, Washington seeks to safeguard Architectural Review Board’s power
Washington Town Council on Monday unanimously approved a resolution asking the Planning Commission to make a recommendation that ensures all property in the town’s historic district remains subject to review by the Architectural Review Board (ARB).
The request also seeks recommendation from the Planners to immediately assign temporary commercial zoning to property brought into the town through a boundary change to ensure it does not have residential use.
While also protecting the sanctity of the ARB, the moves would meet some of the concessions sought by the county in exchange for support of a four-acre boundary adjustment to allow town resident Chuck Akre’s proposed second phase expansion to the Rush River Commons development to be brought under the town’s jurisdiction.
Rappahannock County officials have opposed the potential building of additional housing on land that may become ceded by the county to the town and have demanded that work on county- owned buildings in town be free of ARB oversight.
“The town has never exercised its ability to exempt itself from the ARB and we would like to close that loophole in the [zoning] ordinance,” Mayor Joe Whited said.
Town Council requested that a joint public hearing be held with the Planning Commission in February to act on the Planners’ forthcoming recommendations.
SOLAR ORDINANCE APPROVED
The body on Monday also unanimously approved legislation that permits solar facilities in town with a special use permit.
The ordinance, which had been in the works for months, allows for residents and businesses to install solar panels on their rooftops or to construct facilities on their properties that store solar power. It also would permit local and state governments to power street signage with energy from the sun.
In the town's historic district, which encompasses much of it, solar equipment must not be visible from street view and be approved for use by the town’s architectural review board.
Lawn and garden solar lights and ornamental decorations, solar operated fountains and other solar power objects associated with landscaping are permitted without a permit or prior approval provided that each item has no more than one foot in total solar panel area and that the object is installed less than two feet above the surrounding grade.
COUNCIL SETTLES OVERSIGHT AND MAINTENANCE OF LEGGETT LANE
The body approved an agreement between several public and private entities to clarify oversight responsibilities of Leggett Lane, a private street owned by the town.
Maintenance of the road, which is shared by the post office, Rush River Commons, Avon Hall and the town, will be delineated into four segments, with each entity responsible for overseeing their portion of the street.
While Rush River Commons organizers have agreed to fund immediate maintenance of the road to accommodate the development, going forward they will manage a maintenance fund for the street that both the post office and Avon Hall will contribute to in varying amounts based on car traffic generated by the entities and the number of events each holds.
It’s projected that Rush River will contribute the most to the fund, followed by the post office, which is expected to provide just over a third. The town and Avon Hall are expected to provide little to nothing to the fund, according to projections from the town.
FORMER MAYOR APPOINTED VICE MAYOR
Former Mayor Fred Catlin was appointed vice mayor unanimously by the body on Monday. Catlin, who was nominated for the role by Whited, recently stepped down as mayor but was elected to another term on Town Council.
Town Council member Drew Beard was absent from Monday’s meeting and did not participate in any votes taken that night.