- Last Updated on Wednesday, 28 August 2013 11:15
- Published on Wednesday, 28 August 2013 08:59
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Randy James is asking the Colonial Beach Town Council to donate the Klotz Building, located at 6 North Irving Ave., to his charity, The Paul Stefan Home for Expectant Mothers.
Originally, James had asked if he could lease the building from the town. Because of the significant investment that he would have to make, he was asking for a 15-year lease with fairly significant termination provisions. First, there would be no termination option for the first year, then in years two through five, the town would pay James $125,000 if they terminated the lease. Years six through ten would require $100,000, and termination in years eleven through fifteen would cost the town $75,000. James was trying to protect his investment with this provision.
Town Attorney Andrea Erard explained to the council that this termination clause would be problematic for the town. Erard said, “The Virginia Constitution has debt clause provisions that limit the ability to enter into long-term debt, and you really have to go through the Public Finance Act to do that, which doesn’t fit with this model.”
After a lengthy conversation between the town and James, he counter-proposed and asked if the town could donate the building to his charity.
Erard said, “Now I think what he is saying, is could we give him the building, and then if he ever stops using it for his charitable purposes, then the building would then revert to the ownership of the town.”
Councilman Tim Curtin said, “He has offered to be barred from selling the building, period.”
Erard told the council the idea was beneficial, from the town’s point of view, for him to own the building and run the facility. That way, any of the liability issues’ requirements will rest with him and not the town.
The council talked about the building’s condition and the fact that some unforeseen issues may arise after renovations begin. Erard pointed out that there would be a very vulnerable population living there. Curtin warned that something needed to be done with the building and that it is deteriorating.
The building has been abandoned for a couple of years, and the interior has suffered from neglect. A recent inspection of the property by town officials in the Building and Zoning Office revealed that if left alone, the building would soon reach the point of being dangerous and would be eligible for condemnation.
Citizen Diane Pearson said that the building is historic and should be preserved, because it was the first schoolhouse in town.
During a request for public comments at the October 2012 council meeting, the audience heard light opposition to Randy James’ proposal to renovate the old Klotz Building to offer a home to pregnant woman in need. After James spoke to the crowd, the audience showed support with loud applause.
James and his wife lost their newborn son, Paul Stefan to complications and want to open a residency for pregnant unwed women in his name.
Their mission is to establish a home for expectant mothers, recognizing that the established programs might not be appropriate for all applicants. Each applicant will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. The Paul Stefan Home for Expectant Mothers’ staff will work collaboratively with other agencies in the community to assist pregnant women in finding the program(s) that will meet their individual needs.
The home will offer a safe welcoming environment for expectant mothers in need and offer nutritional assistance. It will help set up medical assistance, as well. The home will house three to four women and will have small suites in which the women will stay. No men will be allowed in the building, and it will not be a place to entertain boyfriends, according to James.
The program will help the women find jobs and cars, and to get an education. Tutoring will be available to help residents pass the GED. The program will also help them take advantage of governmental services that are there for them, as well as providing moral support.
James explained his thought process for helping woman at the October meeting, “If we save the woman, we save the baby. If a pregnant woman has nowhere to turn when the man leaves, sometimes she becomes desperate. The Paul Stephen Home helps to keep them from acting on that desperation, and to keep them happy, healthy and moving forward with their lives, so they can raise their babies in an emotionally and physically healthy environment. We don’t discriminate based on religious beliefs, and we don’t force beliefs on them.”
At the August work session, the council decided to hold off on any decisions until after an advertised mandatory public hearing on the matter, for which no date has been set.