- Last Updated on Wednesday, 29 September 2010 15:20
- Published on Wednesday, 29 September 2010 15:20
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Colonial Beach’s new noise ordinance unveiled at Sept. 23 committee meeting
During the Budget Committee meeting, Sept. 23, Mayor Fred Rummage made a “personal request” to the committee to consider rescinding Resolution 27-09 passed by town council unanimously in April of 2009, which states, in part, “the presence of the Mayor at Town Hall on a daily basis is interfering with and obstructing the efficient operations of the Town” and which effectively removed the mayor’s office in town hall. Committee member Karen Payne, who was chairing the meeting in the absence of Ridgely, noted that committee chair Ridgely was not present and that this item should be placed on the agenda for next month’s committee meeting when the chair is present.
Council member Gary Seeber noted that the town’s budget surplus in an approximate amount of $400,000 should be used to provide substantial bonuses to town employees on a “step” basis according to years of service. Currently the town employs approximately 50 employees.
Committee member Karen Payne introduced a new noise ordinance to the Public Safety Committee that utilizes both time restrictions and decibel levels, separates commercial noise from residential noise, and is enforceable by the police department. Between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. residential noise in excess of 55 dBA is prohibited. Between 7 a.m. and 11 p.m. residential noise in excess of 65 dBA is prohibited.
Residential noise or decibel levels will be measured by a sound level meter from inside the complaining party’s residence at least four feet away from the wall nearest the noise with doors and windows closed.
Restaurant noise or decibel levels will be measured by a sound level meter from the edge of the property line. Decibel levels in excess of 75 dBA are prohibited.
Anyone convicted under this new noise ordinance will be guilty of a Class 3 misdemeanor for a first offense. According to CBPD’s Major Kenneth Blevins, Sr., “99.9 percent of the time when we respond to a complaint and request the citizen to turn it down, they usually turn it down.”
The new ordinance will be advertised and presented to council at the October meeting for approval. Once approved by council it will replace the existing “pay to play” noise ordinance.
Economic Development Committee
Town Manager Val Foulds requested the committee provide town staff with priority ratings for projects staff currently has before them. According to Foulds, some of the more intensive projects include: working with Interim Police Chief “Butch” Wells on evaluations and recommendations for the department (Foulds noted it is the halfway mark in his six-month appointment); beach replenishment efforts with the Army Corps of Engineers in the form of a $100,000 matching grant; Bay Transit’s move to Montross and the pros and cons of a sale of a town-owned 40-passenger bus; an upgrade to the town’s personnel policy and pay grades manual; a new special events policy before council for review; a Department of Housing and Community Development block grant; expediting the sale of town-owned properties; VDOT on road and sign maintenance in order to get town roads up to standard before 2011 when the town will assume responsibility for road repair; and, many citizen-driven and individual council member-driven requests.
Committee chair Steve Kennedy, in response to citizen input, suggested that Robin Grove Park be converted to a dog-friendly park. Kennedy noted that the park is currently underutilized. Committee members agreed and requested that staff look into liability issues.
Kennedy, also in response to citizen input, recommended the committee bring before council a request to allow residents of Shellfield Shores and Westmoreland Shores to purchase an annual parking tag.
Rummage proposed the town begin, as a priority item, marketing efforts designed to encourage a national hotel chain to come to the beach. Council member Shane Buzby noted he has scheduled a meeting with Silver Company executives to look at business expansion in town. Rummage further noted that “the Dahlgren base is expanding and is within 12 miles from this town and we don’t have enough hotel space.”
After committee review of a new town procurement policy, the committee agreed to present the policy with changes to council for approval.
School Superintendent Donna Power reported that Colonial Beach schools will receive $156,681 in one-time federal stimulus funding to be used to support teacher compensation, benefits or bonuses.
In other business, Committee Chair Buzby advised members that the Homecoming Parade is scheduled for Nov. 4 at 5:30 p.m.
Bob Eves, CBVFD Second Lieutenant, reported that the volume of emergency calls has doubled since 2009. In August the fire department received 68 calls; 18 fire calls; six motor vehicle accidents; 43 EMS calls; and one public safety call.
Major Blevins reported back to committee on a question to council by a citizen regarding golf carts pulling over and letting car traffic pass. According to Blevins, golf carts are subject to the same laws as other motor vehicles, therefore it would not be advisable for the town to recommend golf carts move to the side to allow cars to pass. Blevins noted that there have been only two or three accidents reported and that this is an area “where discretion and common sense come into play” from an enforcement position.