Sat07262014

Last updateWed, 19 Nov 2014 8pm

   2014 39.95 HSD w VIDor PH-Banner2-500-x-125

Citizens speak out loud and clear

Colonial Beach wants Police Chief Hawkins to stay
On Thursday, before a crowd of approximately 80 citizens, and in an orderly fashion, Mayor Fred Rummage led the council through the agenda, presenting service award pins, appreciation plaques and listening to a presentation by School Superintendent Donna Power, on the new middle school.  However, during citizen input, Town Hall vibrated with loud applause and cheers.

It became clear during Citizen Input time that many gathered were there because of rumors circulating around town about Police Chief Christopher Hawkins. The crowd heard Hawkins had asked council to rescind his already approved resignation so he could remain as police chief, and that several council members had allegedly indicated they were not in favor of retaining Hawkins. The crowd applauded loudly as each speaker took his or her turn and spoke in support of Hawkins’ leadership and performance as police chief.  
After an hour-and-a-half closed meeting, council instructed Town Attorney Andrea Erard to prepare a new contract for Hawkins. Council will formally vote on retaining Hawkins at a special meeting to be called before June 28.

Citizen Input
Larry Roberson spoke first, saying it would be “foolish not to keep Hawkins.”   Council member-elect Shane Buzby said “on behalf of the citizens I have talked to, Chief Hawkins has done an excellent job.”  Twenty-three citizens spoke out, some reminding council that they were voters and that they look to council to make decisions based on the good of the town, not on personal agendas.
Tommy Edwards, representing the Tourism Council gave a report on the Memorial Day service at the cannon.  Peter Farney spoke to the C-1 zoning text amendment.  Peggy Campbell, representing the Chamber of Commerce, unveiled a T-shirt that is going on sale commemorating the upcoming Water Cross Tour to be held in August. Sherry Hutchins spoke to the Maritime Commercial zoning issue, saying that only single-family dwellings should be allowed in order to keep the area low density.  Hutchins also questioned council on the parking kiosk at the Wilder lot, asking “why was it placed where it is?”
Tim Trivett, school board chair, asked council to level fund the schools.  Diane Pearson spoke to a safety issue of fish hooks being found on the beach and requested the town move the kiosk at the Wilder lot.  Pearson further noted that part-time residents should have to pay for a “town hanger” as full-time residents have to pay for a town decal.
Valerie Jones, manager of Riverwood Apartments, invited council to Fun Day on June 19 from noon to 4 p.m.  Jones reported that the parking lots at Riverwood have been redone and a new playground has been installed.
Wanda Goforth requested member Karen Payne “while you’re studying the noise ordinance, you may have to reconsider the noise level issue.”  Payne had volunteered several months ago to write a new noise ordinance, which is currently under much scrutiny by residents and under further revision by council.  In response to the query, Payne stated “I will have the noise ordinance before council at our next meeting.”

Ordinance 581
Council passed the latest revision of Ordinance 581 to the Zoning Ordinance, Article 8, Commercial Limited C-1 District by including 12 categories of permitted or “by right” uses that council had agreed to take out at its May meeting.  By right uses put back under Article 8-1 include photography studios, automobile service stations, carwash, churches/places of worship, convenience stores, day care centers, financial service establishments, mini-warehouse/self storage warehouse, vehicle service stations and vehicle sales, service and repair establishments.

Middle School Presentation
Power opened her remarks telling council “it’s time to reconfigure our education system.”
She noted that “teachers are teaching too many subjects” and there is a great need for more “collaborative faculty time.”  Based on proven research that success in middle school leads to success in high school, the School Board has approved a plan to install a modular middle school next to the high school. The project, Power stated, “is very feasible and economically sound.”  
Power further noted that moving grades 6 and 7 out of the elementary school will “open space for pre-K and kindergarten.”  

Service Awards, Plaques
Rummage presented a five-year service award to Theodore “T Bone” Pickens; a 10-year service award to Danny Smith; and a 30-year service award to Assia Beverly.  Rummage then presented outgoing council members Patricia “Trish” King and David Coombes  with plaques noting the town’s appreciation for their public service as members of council.

Kathy Flanagan

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