- Last Updated on Wednesday, 02 June 2010 05:00
- Published on Wednesday, 02 June 2010 05:00
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As Colonial Beach Town Council struggles with reinventing the noise ordinance, at least one resident feels her hearing health has been put in danger. Meanwhile, across town, Eleanor Park residents are moving out and the town has no plan on what to do with the waterfront property.
It appeared that the last of the May 27 committee meetings was about to conclude when resident Terri Rankin spoke out and strongly cautioned members on the impact of the new noise ordinance. According to Rankin, a noise permit has been issued by Town Manager Val Foulds for a five-hour practice session for a nine-piece rock ’n’ roll band.
Rankin advised members that the decibel level generated by a nine-piece band can reach 120 decibels. According to the American Speech-Language Hearing Association, sounds louder than 80 decibels are considered potentially dangerous and can cause hearing loss. Rankin, whose home is next door to the practice session, expressed great concern over issuance of the $50 permit, citing health and safety issues.
Rankin further told the committee that she “cannot enjoy her home” during the upcoming five-hour practice session. She recommended the current noise ordinance be modified with a three-hour limit on noise and that the “plainly audible” standard be applied.
Plainly audible, or nuisance noise, is defined as noise that is heard when windows and doors are closed in neighboring properties. Although members appeared sympathetic to Rankin, in light of the fact that a permit has been properly issued, there is nothing that can be done. Members did, however, instruct Foulds to attempt to “renegotiate” the permit.
Committee members Burkett Lyburn, Mayor Fred Rummage, Trish King, Karen Payne and Steve Kennedy also heard from 2nd Lieutenant Bob Eves of the Colonial Beach Volunteer Fire Department, who reported that the department responded to 47 incidents in April. There were six fire calls, three motor vehicle accidents, 35 EMS calls and three public safety concerns. Overall, volunteers spent 152.65 manhours in service.
Police Chief Chris Hawkins reported that according to 2009 crime statistics, the crime rate in town is down. Of special note is Hawkins’ observation that Riverwood apartments, a subsidized apartment complex managed by F&W Management LC, has shown a significant decrease in crime with fewer calls for service than some of the other areas in town.
Committee members Rummage, King, Payne and Kennedy voted to present an amendment to Town Council endorsing the inclusion of Colonial Beach as part of the Northern Neck Regional Enterprise Zone.
The committee then heard from Cayman Eby who is requesting to lease 213 Taylor Street. Eby wants to open a year-round, seven-day-per-week teen center, “Soc(i)al,” which would include entertainment options for ages 13-18. Soc(i)al would offer hourly gaming, music, movies, billiards and special events in a safe and comfortable environment. Cayman proposed a three-year graduating lease, with monthly payments set at $750 the first lease year, $1,500 the second lease year, and $3,000 the third lease year. Committee members were interested in learning more and requested Cayman submit a business plan for presentation to council.
Mayor Rummage opened a discussion on the quickly approaching Aug. 1 deadline regarding town-owned Eleanor Mobile Home Park. Residents of the mobile home park are under a timeline to vacate the property. According to Trish King, the “original intent of the property was temporary trailers,” and it gradually “became a permanent place to live.” Kennedy noted that the property is “in dire need of repair” and that the decision to remove the trailers was made after “a lot of discussion and a lot of emotion.” After a suggestion to create a public park on the property, citizen Jay Jarvis advised members that the town “should be in the business of owning property for the community good.” The town currently owns 51 parcels.
Committee members Rummage, King, Payne and Kennedy were informed by Foulds that the parking kiosk has been installed at the Wilder Avenue lot and town staff are training on its use. The kiosk will be in use year-round, 24 hours per day, seven days a week. Cars without a town decal will pay $10 per day or $2 per hour to park. The lot beside the museum is available to park at no charge. According to Payne, charging visitors to park will help the town to recoup costs to maintain the beach.
March 31, 2011, is the expected date that the town will be fully responsible for maintenance of town roads, as results of the recent census will move the town into a new population category. Members urged manager Foulds to stay on top of VDOT performance of road repairs and the filling of potholes.