Gary Clemens, Clerk of the Loudoun County Circuit Court kicked off the June 24 regular monthly meeting of Middleburg Town Council, officially administering the Oath of Office to Mayor-Elect Bridge Littleton and Council Members Darlene Kirk, Kevin Hazard, Peter Leonard-Morgan, and Cindy Pearson.
Mayor Littleton and the Council Members officially begin their new terms in July
Interim Council Member Appointment
Council Member Bridge Littleton’s election to the post of Mayor left an empty seat on Council that must be filled by appointment, pending a special election in November.
Council voted to advertise the vacancy, with a request that anyone interested in filling the remainder of Littleton’s term submit a letter of interest to Town Council.
The “new” Town Council will then, in July, select and appoint someone to fill the remainder of Littleton’s term.
Current plans call for the selection to be made in a closed session of Council, not open to the public or Press.
At press time Town Attorney Martin Crim had been asked to consider whether or not the appointment to Littleton’s vacant seat could be considered publically on the grounds that, as an appointment to a legislative post, it stood outside the legal guidelines generally applied to regular “personnel” discussions.
Following required public hearings held on May 10 and eliciting no public input, Town Council formally adopted its Fiscal Year 2019 Budget. The entire budget may be found on the Town’s website at https://www.middleburgva.gov/documents.html
On June 6 Town Administrator Semmes requested, and Town Council approved without dissent an “administrative amendment” to the Town’s budget, increasing from $50,000 to $160,000 the line item covering “the actual cost . . . authorized by Council,” for stabilizing the historic church structure. This represents, she noted, a final cost that is around $30,000 less than the total authorized. Middleburg’s General Fund Contingency budget, she noted, “has enough funds to cover this additional amount with the need for a General Fund appropriation.”
Town Treasurer Ashley Bott reported that the Town’s books will undergo annual audit beginning the last week of July. The work is expected to be complete by August 3.
Middleburg Charter School
The Loudoun County Board of Supervisors appears to oppose the Loudoun County School Boards efforts to “surplus” Middleburg Elementary School, according to the Town Administrator. Semmes attended a June 7 meeting of the Joint Board of Supervisors/School Board Committee at which plans were discussed. According to Semmes, two members of the Charter School Board attended as well. They had not been informed of the meeting by Loudoun County staff, according to Semmes.
Salamander Plan “Inactive”
Will Moore, Middleburg’s Town Planner and Zoning Administrator reported that, on June 14, the Middleburg Planning Commission “took action to deem the Subdivision Construction Plan application for The Residences at Salamander as inactive.”
Salamander, he noted, had 30 days “to take action to revive the application or it will be automatically withdrawn.
If that happens “any resubmittal would be treated as a new application.
New residential housing on the Salamander property was a major issue of debate during the debates preceding a narrow, one-vote decision to approve the initial Salamander project.
Moore reported that the Town had been in touch with Salamander about the matter.
Assisted Living Complex Application
The Planning and Zoning Administrator also reported that the Planning Commission had “received a presentation” from an applicant seeking to build an assisted living facility in the 400 block of East Washington Street.
The applications, labeled AMA 18-01 and SUP 18-01 are currently tabled and the applicant informed that an amendment to Middleburg’s current Comprehensive Plan would be required for them to be considered.
A “New” Parking Lot
Town Attorney Martin Crim informed Council that he had “followed up” with both Town Staff and legal counsel for Middleburg Bank “regarding the potential acquisition of [the bank’s] parking lot.”
Fun Shop Seeks Conveyance of Right of Way
Thirty years ago, in 1988, Middleburg Town Council “vacated and conveyed to the estate of Louis Dimos” part of a larger right-of-way which now “comprises the eastern portion of the property on which Southern States is located. Known as the South Pickering Street Right of Way adjoining Washington Street, the plot is 90 feet long and 40 feet wide.
In March, Page Allen requested, on behalf of the Fun Shop, that the remaining portion of that right-of-way, 157 feet long and 40 feet wide, be vacated by the Town and conveyed to The Fun Shop, Inc., in which former Mayor Betsy Davis is a principal.
The Fun Shop owns all properties adjoining the Right of Way to the east and west. According to Moore “certain improvements have been placed” over the years “encroaching on the right-of-way . . . including fencing and a storage shed used by the applicant.”
Middleburg has the legal right to vacate and convey certain rights of way at a price “no greater than the property’s fair market value or its contributory value to the abutting property, whichever is greater.”
A public hearing on the matter is also required, Moore noted.
After the public hearing, and at its discretion, Council may also appoint, according to Moore, “three to five people to view such public Right of Way and report in writing any [public] inconvenience that would result from discontinuing the right-of-way.
After some debate Council decided that top priority should be given to determining whether or not conveying the Right of Way to the Fun Shop would impose any public inconvenience.
Once that is determined a formal appraisal would be required to accurately determine the property’s value, either free-standing or in terms of “added value” to the Fun Shop property.
By all accounts, the land has not been used as a functioning public right of way for decades.
Middleburg’s National Sporting Library was recognized for its work at the May 11 annual meeting of Visit Loudoun. Ken Reid was honored as Volunteer of the year for his “dedication and service to the Middleburg Business and Professional Association.”
Fire Hydrants Repainted
Town Administrator Martha Semmes reported that IES had been repainting the town’s faded and fading fire hydrants. Public response, so far, has been positive.