Coun­cil OKs com­mu­nity, car-tax break

Hopewell coun­cilors unan­i­mously ap­prove Fran­cisco Land­ing project, car-tax break for dis­abled vets

The Progress-Index - - FRONT PAGE - By Bill Atkin­son As­sis­tant Edi­tor

HOPEWELL — Lost in the shadow of the con­tro­versy of Tues­day night’s City Coun­cil ad­journ­ment was the fact that dur­ing the meet­ing, coun­cilors unan­i­mously ap­proved the $39.6 mil­lion Fran­cisco Land­ing multi-use com­mu­nity and a car-tax break for dis­abled veterans who live in the city.

Last week’s coun­cil meet­ing ended in a ver­bal al­ter­ca­tion be­tween Mayor Jackie M. Shor­nak and Coun­cilor An­thony J. Zev­go­lis that prompted Zev­go­lis to threaten to put Shor­nak in jail over as-yet un­sub­stan­ti­ated claims of a state po­lice in­ves­ti­ga­tion into al­leged malfea­sance of of­fice on Shor­nak’s part. Shor­nak has de­nied ever be­ing in­ves­ti­gated.

The sit­u­a­tion be­came so tense that Shor­nak called po­lice be­cause she said she felt in­tim­i­dated by Zev­go­lis. No charges have been filed.

Fran­cisco Land­ing

The Fran­cisco Land­ing project will be built on the old Patrick Copeland School site be­tween Ap­po­mat­tox Street and the con­flu­ence of the Ap­po­mat­tox and James rivers. Plans call for it to have 180 apart­ments, two des­ig­nated re­tail ar­eas, an am­phithe­atre and boat-traf­fic ac­cess. Ad­di­tion­ally, the de­vel­op­ment would also in­clude a “green space” that would be made avail­able for pub­lic use.

As­sis­tant City Man­ager Charles F. Dane told coun­cil that the de­vel­op­ers of the project have a per­sonal in­ter­est in the project. Their great-great-great-grand­fa­ther was Peter Fran­cisco, a hero of the Amer­i­can Revo­lu­tion with roots to the City Point area.

Car-tax break

The or­di­nance given fi­nal ap­proval will al­low for com­plete tax relief “on one ve­hi­cle owned and reg­u­larly used by a veteran who has ei­ther lost or lost the use of of one or both legs, or an arm or a hand.” The disability, which also in­cludes blind­ness, must meet stan­dards set by the state Depart­ment of Veterans that the disability was caused by the veteran’s mil­i­tary ser­vice.

In pass­ing the or­di­nance, Hopewell be­comes the first lo­cal­ity in the Tri-City area to of­fer com­plete tax relief for dis­abled veterans on one car in their name.

In neigh­bor­ing Prince Ge­orge County, dis­abled­vet­eran res­i­dents are en­ti­tled to a 50 per­cent tax break on one ve­hi­cle as long as they also qual­ify for the state-backed real es­tate tax relief. Just like in Hopewell, the ve­hi­cle’s ti­tle must be in that per­son’s name in or­der to get the break.

Fort Lee bor­ders on Hopewell and Peters­burg but is lo­cated en­tirely in Prince Ge­orge County.

Other lo­cal­i­ties in the TriCity area say they sup­port the state pro­gram for real es­tate relief but they do not have a spe­cific carve-out for dis­abled veterans.

The pro­posal also would ex­tend to the sur­viv­ing spouse of a de­ceased dis­abled veteran, as long as that spouse does not re­marry while liv­ing in Hopewell.

Bill Atkin­son can be reached at 804-722-5167 or batkin­[email protected]­gressin­ Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @BAtkin­sonpi.

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