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Joint hearing on burn restrictions, business displays

Colonial Beach Town Council is taking swift action to change perceptions of the town as being unfriendly to business. Council and the planning commission will be holding a joint meeting tomorrow to address concerns for an incoming golf cart business and will look at proposed burning policy.

hearing to allow outdoor display of golf carts
The town has advertised and called two joint public hearings for the Colonial Beach Town Council and Colonial Beach Planning Commission starting at 5 p.m. on April 19 to amend the town code to allow more outdoor display and storage with a conditional use permit.

The second hearing will hear the request for a conditional use permit from Custom Cartz.

At the March Economic Development Committee meeting George Milleson, owner of 614 Colonial Ave., told Committee Chairman Tim Curtin that a businessman was interested in renting the vacant side of his building to

sell golf carts but was discouraged by negative comments from staff at the building and zoning office.

Custom Cartz L.L.C. is interested in renting the larger half of the building which now houses a barbershop. But his venture was stopped short by Article 8 of the town code that restricts the amount of merchandise allowed to be displayed in the parking lot of a business establishment to five percent of the total square footage of their building.

Milleson gave the example that if the building is only 1000 square feet you can only use 50 square feet outside to display merchandise, restricting the amount of golf carts that could be displayed.

Council acts on burning
The town has decided to take advantage of the joint meeting to conduct a work session to review a proposed ordinance related to burning.

After residents, Mike and Cheryl Harrigan requested help from the town council at the last meeting to stop a neighbor’s relative from burning what they allege to be industrial waste and other harmful materials, Town Attorney Andrea Erard suggested the work session.

“I could have an ordinance ready for your consideration related to burning and then you could talk about it, and if you find it acceptable then you could advertise for a public hearing,” Erard said.

The Harrigan’s, who live at 117 Locust Ave., say they have witnessed their neighbor’s son bring in materials such as shingles, vinyl siding and reclaimed wood. “I would come home and find ashes on the deck, home and car the size if dimes. These aren’t little fires, these are very large fires,” Mr. Harrigan told the council.

The Harrigan’s told council that the town has been very cooperative and helpful in trying to resolve the situation but nothing can be done.

Mrs. Harrigan said, “I called Westmoreland County who said it’s not our problem it’s a beach problem. They told me to talk to the town. The town told me, talk to fire marshal. The fire department told me we don’t have a fire marshal. The fire department told us to come to the council meeting.”

Mrs. Harrigan said she researched the matter and found that the DEQ has provisions for a community burn policy. “We can adopt part or all of it,” Mrs. Harrigan said, adding, “I think we need to talk about it. Do we need to burn? I have an H-VAC system, when someone burns I smell it. I came home one weekend and found my fire alarms on.”

The fires are reportedly in excess of twelve feet high and so hot the police can’t get near it and the fire department can not respond if it is a controlled burn.

The DEQ regulation on burning can be viewed in pdf form at deq.virginia.gov by searching “9VAC5 burning”.

Linda Farneth

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