At its regular monthly meeting on Thursday, January 11, Town Council unanimously passed Resolutions of Appreciation honoring: Pam Mickley Albers for her decade of service on the Town’s Historic District Review Committee from June 2007 through December 2017; H. H. Duval (“Dev”) Roszel for his service on the Middleburg Planning Commission from February 2014 through December 2017; former Delegate Randy Minchew for his service representing the 10th District in the Virginia House of Delegates; and the volunteers, sponsors and donors whose hard work, generosity, and service made 2017’s Christmas in Middleburg, yet again, a resounding success.
Conference on Command Grant Request
Jennifer Worcester Moore, President of the Mosby Heritage Area Association (www.mosbyheritagearea.org) addressed Council at the request of Business & Economic Development Director Jamie Gaucher in support of a request for a grant to support the organization’s 21st annual Conference on Command in the American Civil War, scheduled for October 5-7, 2018 at the Middleburg Community Center. The Conference is of national stature and has brought the nation’s leading scholars on the War to Middleburg every year for twenty consecutive years. Middleburg’s EDAC voted to recommend a $3,000 grant contingent upon a formal agreement with the town on both content and parameters for marketing and outreach.
Special Closed Session
Immediately following the Mosby Heritage Area Association presentation, and contrary to general practice, Council chambers were cleared for a special closed session to discuss, according to the evening’s formal agenda, “Acquisition of Property” by the Town. Closed sessions of Council usually take place after all other Council business has been completed. Former Delegate Minchew was the only person not a member of Town Council or part of Town Staff invited to attend.
Town Administrator Martha Semmes informed Council that, as requested, she had “solicited and received a consultant proposal for an evaluation of the Police Department’s downtown on-street parking availability study.” That study, formally presented to Council by Chief A. J. Panebianco in October, was in response to “a perceived lack of parking” downtown “expressed by some members of the public.”
Kimley-Horn, an engineering firm, will review Chief Panebianco’s data and conclusions with special focus on four questions:
1. Is there enough parking?
2. Are the new hourly parking limits “appropriate?”
3. How does parking affect traffic flow (and vice versa)?
4. If there is “enough” parking, are the spaces “appropriately located?
Kimley-Horn’s lump-sum bid totaled $9,500. It should be completed “within four weeks of a kick-off meeting”
Who Must Clear Snow
from Residential Sidewalks?
According to the current Town Code only owners and/or occupants of property “in the commercially zoned district” of Middleburg are currently required to clear snow and ice from their sidewalks.
Following recent snowfalls, followed by prolonged periods of cold weather in which both snow and ice remained unmelted, Town Staff began to receive complaints about residential sidewalks left untreated and uncleared.
Town Staff has recommended that the Town Code be amended to require ALL owners and/or occupants of property with adjoining sidewalks to clear them within six hours after it stops snowing, or, if it snows overnight, no later than noon the following day.
A public hearing on the matter will be held in February.
Police Presence on Route 50
The Middleburg Police Department is doing its best to respond to mounting expressions of concern about the dangers of driving on Route 50 west of Middleburg, intensified by the recent head-on fatal crash at the point where four lanes merge into two as one drives west toward Upperville.
With rare exception Chief Panebianco’s small force has jurisdiction only within the Town Limits. Thus, traffic cresting the hill at Mount Defiance and headed east INTO the dangerous Middleburg 4-into-2 merge area, speeding past the Zula Road intersection, would logically be the main object of their attention.
Chief Panebianco has promised to intensify his department’s overwatch and enforcement efforts there, including issuing more tickets for speeding down the hill. “One death,” he told Council, “is one death too many,” and he and his force, he said, will do everything in their power to raise awareness of the dangers on 50 and address those who ignore those dangers appropriately
Town Administrator Semmes also reported that new one-year leases have been signed by the three tenants currently renting space in the Town-owned “Health Center Building.” A study is also underway to determine just how much space will be required to house Middleburg’s growing Town Government in the years ahead.
Work has started at last on the “stabilization” of historic Asbury Church, now also a Town-owned property. A contract with Cochran’s Stonemasonry was signed in December, a building permit issued by Loudoun County shortly thereafter, and a “notice to proceed” issued to Cochran’s.
Business and Economic
Business & Economic Development Director Jamie Gaucher reported to Council on a number of his department’s activities and new initiatives. Among them: War Shore Oyster Company is moving the company headquarters to Middleburg; and Appaloosa Painting Company is establishing a branch office here.
Gaucher worked with Access National Bank and Yount, Hyde & Barbour to stage a “Small Business Financial Education Symposium” and has received no less than 20 registrations from companies interested in submitting proposals for the development of a new or refined “Middleburg Brand Identity” to shape make consistent the Town’s formal outreach and promotional tools and activities.
Town Administrator Semmes has also submitted a formal “Draft Capital Improvements Program” for Middleburg covering the years 2019 through 2023, approved by the Town’s Planning Commission for Council review.
It represents the first such effort “in years,” in large part, Semmes noted, because Middleburg “lacked the funds to undertake major capital improvements.
Once Council reviews and approves the general plan, Town Staff will work with updated revenue projections and the Town’s engineering consultants to “refine project costs and timing.”
Ideally a final version should be ready for Council approval and budgeting early in 2019.
Water-related capital investments were projected to total roughly $1,629,000, of which $829,000 was earmarked for a long-awaited upgrade of the Ridgeview water lines and $500,000 for a treatment system to remove minerals from the water in the Town’s “well number three.”
Sewer projects, including replacement of the Town’s West End Pump Station, totaled $1,347,000
Just over $364,000 was earmarked for Street and Sidewalk projects: Sidewalks for Marshall Street and Stonewall Avenue accounted for $205,000.
Two building projects were projected: $145,000 to stabilize Asbury Church; $50,000 for new Town Government space planning and Construction
Vehicle replacement for the Police and Maintenance Deparments totaled $176, 600
The total estimated capital investment for all programs in the 2019-2023 draft plan totaled $3,711,900