- Last Updated on Monday, 02 July 2012 20:40
- Published on Monday, 02 July 2012 20:40
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William Flammer said he spoke for several citizens who were in attendance at the June Colonial Beach Town Council meeting.
The council gave Flammer some leeway on time constraints since he was speaking for a large group, estimated at 12 people. The supporting group applauded Flammer when he finished speaking. After the public comment portion of the meeting a large crowd from the audience left. It is not clear if they were members of that supporting group or not.
Flammer read off a list of roughly 16 complaints, some of the complaints have been previously addressed in council meetings and some are beyond the town’s control.
Flammer, who is a four year resident of Colonial Beach, named a few complaints which he cited from personal experience: Flammer claims that his children have been harassed by police for walking on the roadway on First St. while walking to and from school. Flammer said, “My kids, they walk down First St. to go to school everyday and they’re getting harassed by the police department on that, saying that is not allowed, but there are no sidewalks so I don’t know where you want them to walk.”
Flammer also feels that some residents are being harassed about parking on roadways while others are being allowed to park without harassment. He said that there are a lot of contractors that park, blocking the street causing cars to move over into oncoming traffic lanes to get around them and some that park on the sidewalks forcing people to walk around the cars. Flammer claims the same people park this way without being harassed and added that when he has a party he is harassed by police for the way his visitors park.
Some of the group’s complaints were of safety issues, such as a concern that law enforcement are speeding through town in excess of 60 miles an hour without lights or sirens.
Flammer said, “I think if they have to go that fast to get somewhere they need to have their lights and sirens on so that people walking or riding can hear them.” This issue has been previously brought up to council by Tim Trivett.
Another safety issue concerning the police department, was a missing assault riffle that has been previously brought up on Colonial Beach Topix, a popular internet blog. Flammer said, “Many town residents are concerned about the misplacement of an assault rifle that was stolen or lost or whatever, still being on the streets and wanting to know what is being done to prevent it from happening again.”
The Journal previously asked the Colonial Beach Police Department about this issue earlier this year and Chief Kenneth Blevins, Sr. stated at that time, the police department will not comment on rumors but stated that the gun was recovered but would give no further details since the incident was still under investigation.
Other safety concerns included; sidewalks in disrepair and overgrown with brush, potholes in excess of four inches deep, crosswalks in need of repainting and better signage to indicate Hawthorne St. is a one way.
Flammer said, “I personally have witnessed many close calls with golf carts and vehicles, including police. There is going to be head on collision there at one point and I don’t think you need to wait until it happens before we address that.”
The town has two ordinances that are of specific contention with residents, the restrictions on grass height and storing of inoperable vehicles.
Several people in the past have complained about these two issues and Flammer’s group was no exception. Like many residents before him, Flammer complained that many town owned properties have grass that is grossly in excess of the height limit. Flammer said, “There are town owned properties where the grass is as high as this podium.”
Regarding the issue of disabled vehicles Flammer said, “I think it’s clear cut, they pay double taxes and they own the house so I don’t think they should be getting anything on that.” In contrast he did say, “The ordinance states they don’t have to have tags or town stickers but it must be hidden from the view of the street. “I feel everybody, town officials and residents should follow that.”
Flammer also touched on the mobile home park between Irving and Lossing Ave., saying it is a cesspool and breeding ground for snakes and mosquitoes besides being an eyesore for residents and guests. Flammer said it needs to be cleaned up.
Flammer stated that there are thousands of gallons of water leaking at the mobile home park and told council that they should look for this type of waste before raising water and sewer bills which the group says would be a burden to many residents in the town.
Flammer also addressed concerns that the revitalization plan to fix the boardwalk with lights and benches is in his opinion a great idea, but only after we have the infrastructure in place. “It seems the way we have done it in the past is to fix it, tear it up and fix it again. Most people don’t landscape their yard until the house is done being built.”
The complaints also touched on the lack of pavement in the Santa Maria area, the under-use of the town stage which he stated, “cost more than the average home in Colonial Beach to build” and the issue of town staff salaries which he claims are too high. “We need to drop their salary a little bit or we need to say thank you so much and look elsewhere.”
Flammer encouraged council to take advantage of skilled residents willing to volunteer their time and said, “We all need to get back to raising our families and get back to the basics of helping each other out.