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- Published on Wednesday, 15 June 2011 15:14
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Town Council held a public hearing during its regular council meeting to review the sale of a portion of town-owned waterfront property that was previously identified as Scenic Drive in old planning maps to William Speight.
Council approval of the sale of waterfront land began at its May meeting when council unanimously approved a sale of a portion of Scenic Drive to Bill Milleson. Speight owns property several homes
down from Milleson, and was the second of adjacent landowners to apply to purchase town-owned waterfront land.
A third homeowner and neighbor, Mrs. Tate, recently submitted an application to purchase the portion of the waterfront property that is behind her home. Tate, who spoke through Jo Townsend, told the Planning Commission she felt “forced” to purchase the waterfront land in order to stop adjacent landowners from purchasing it.
Planning and Zoning staff had recommended approval of the sale to Milleson and Speight. The Planning Commission, after review, had forwarded a recommendation to council against both sales.
During the public hearing, several citizens requested clarification of the process used by council to approve the sale of town-owned land. Planning Commissioner Maureen Holt spoke to council saying “I was shocked to find the recent recommendation of the Planning Commission on the Milleson property was overturned.” Holt continued “We followed Section 4-10 and 4-11 of the Comprehensive Plan when reviewing the Milleson property, which requires development of bikeways and trails.” Holt added “We were forced to approve vacation of the Tate property in order to protect the homeowner.”
According to council member Karen Payne “We could not approve a sale that created a non-conforming lot.” Council member Sparky Ridgely noted “Nobody else can buy it unless we approve it.” Ridgely also noted that a resolution was before council to create a Capital Improvements Fund and that all monies from the sale of town-owned land will be earmarked for capital improvements. Resolution 30-11 passed unanimously.
Citizen Jo Townsend spoke, saying “Whether you sell the property or not, somebody needs to do some research into the original title that specifies the land to be used for the use of the people of Colonial Beach.”
By unanimous roll call vote, council approved Resolution 28-11, the vacation of the town-owned right of way to Bill Speight, and authorized the town attorney and town manager to proceed with the sale.
School board members Michelle Payne and Vicki Roberson spoke on level funds for the school system. Payne noted “In order for us to keep those teachers, you’ve got to level fund us.”
Council member Burkett Lyburn said “The schools are the heartbeat of Colonial Beach. We are not putting the schools on the back burner. But we are not going to put ourselves in a hole. The kids are very important to our town.” Lyburn added “We can’t promise anything.”
Superintendent Donna Power replied “We have already cut that budget, it’s bare bones. There are no teachers to cut without taking that excellent education from the students.”
Town Council has scheduled two special budget meetings on June 22 and 29. The budget has to be in place by June 30 as the new fiscal year begins on July 1.