- Last Updated on Tuesday, 09 April 2013 18:26
- Published on Wednesday, 10 April 2013 00:06
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At the continued April work session, Colonial Beach Town Council decided to advertise for bids for the lease of 108 Taylor St., due to be in by noon on Thursday, April 11. Town Manager Val Foulds also assured Council that the vendor program had been revised to keep “like” businesses from being placed in close proximity of each other. Councilman Gary Seeber asked to insert a clause saying that Council would not have to
advertise if the lease was renewed in two years. The council will entertain all offers at a public hearing on Thursday, April 11, at 7 p.m. The public notice states that the council “may” take action to approve the leasing of 108 Taylor St. at the April 11 meeting.
Routinely referred to as the “White Building”, 108 Taylor Street has an entertaining past. In 2009, the building was in disrepair. Tom and Emily Garner made a deal with the Town to lease the building for $1.00, in exchange for renovating the building and bringing it up to code. The Garners made repairs and operated the “Lollygaggin’ Outdoors” as a kayak rental business out of the building. The following year when the building was back up for lease, the Garners planned to expand their business to provide snacks. In addition, they asked for twenty-four month lease, at a rate of $300 per month.
At that time, Council members did not want to see the property rented for such a small amount. Some argued that the Garners should not be penalized with a high rent because they had accomplished the necessary repairs to bring the building up to code. The Garners’ lease was ultimately approved, and they expanded to offer food for sale.
In 2010, with great regret, the Garners petitioned the Town to break their lease, having received the joyous news of a new baby on the way. Maryann Day offered to lease the building and buy the Garners’ equipment. The Days opened the building in April 2010 and continued to operate it for two years.
Last year when the lease came up for renewal, it was originally set for $1,500 for the year. A competing business owner obtained a vendor permit for considerably less money, and was allowed to set up and sell hot dogs right next to the White Building. The Days’ main source of revenue was from the sale of hot dogs. Thus began the media circus the Council refers to as “The Hot Dog Wars”.
A bidding war ensued, resulting in the other businessman pulling his offer. The Days then reduced their offer to $1,000 per year, which was $500 less than their original offer. At that time, Town Council Member Tim Curtin explained in an interview that the Town had only received the one bid on the building, and felt that it was more advantageous to keep it filled. Town Council Member Jim Chiarello also commented that buildings left vacant tend to deteriorate faster and, left unattended, are subject to vandalism.