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Colonial Beach Town Council gets it done

Council made quick work of it’s long agenda last Thursday, March 8, holding several public hearings and passing ordinances to amend the school’s budget, dispose of the last four properties on Lawrence Lane, amend article 6 R-1 and R-2 of the Zoning Ordinance, lease the building at 108 Taylor Street on the boardwalk, authorize funding for the Jet Ski races in July and approve the contract between the Chamber of Commerce and the Upstate Watercraft Promotions, as well as pass Tourism Committee by-laws.

School Budget amendment.  
While adopting a resolution to amend the 2011-12 school budget increasing it by $282,380 in response to the school being awarded two federal awards for the high school improvement program and the mentoring program, the council seemed to have

some confusion on other money promised to the school system.

Last year the school system asked for an additional $150,000. The council awarded $75,000 and passed a resolution to fund the other half provided the town’s audit showed an excess.

During the meeting Rummage stated that he believed the resolution stated the town would grant “up to” $75,000. Rummage said the excess was short of what it was anticipated and therefore the school should only be granted an extra $32,000.

Budget Committee Chairman Mike Ham stated after the meeting that the town was working to award the full $75,000.

Donna Power, Colonial Beach School Superintendent expressed concerns to the Mayor over the confusion saying, “Mr. Mayor, one of the things you required of me was an accountability of any money that was allotted. Last year Council did award ‘raise’ money for the school division, I gave an explanation of the amount that was given. Provided as the Christmas stipends and additional health care payments.”

Last fall when two tropical storms and an earthquake lead to damage of the old brick building on the elementary/middle school campus, inspections revealed old and new damage, rendering the building unsafe.

At the time, the building was being used to house the town’s middle school students. Power and the school board had to come up with a temporary mod pod, placed behind the high school, to house the children until a more permanent solution could be found.
Since the problem came up during the middle of the school year, the school board and the town approved the use of previously budgeted funds.

Now that the end of the year is nearing the school needs to replace those funds to avoid operating in the red.

Lawrence Lane properties
Colonial Beach Town Council completed the final step in disposing of the last four Lawrence Lane properties by passing resolutions to sell these unusable waterfront properties at the March 8 Town Council meeting.

These properties have caused quite a lot of controversy for the Planning Commission, Town Council and the adjoining homeowners. Once officials realized the roadway has been non-existent for many years and is under water most of the time, they were more open to the idea of selling them.

There were also several delays in the selling due to the recent record number of council resignations. Town code prohibits the sale of waterfront property without a majority vote of six council members. Unfilled seats and one council member voting against the sale at one meeting where only six members were present delayed the sales for several months.

Zoning Ordinances
Changes to the Zoning Ordinances only affect new construction in Residential 1 District Article 6, General Residential R-2 district and definitions in Article 20. The majority of the changes refer to how property is identified and labeled within the articles.

108 Taylor Street lease
Town Council held a public hearing and approved a lease agreement for the “White Building” on the boardwalk located at 108 Taylor Street. Maryann Day will lease the building for one year starting on April 9 at a total cost of $3,300.

Former Vice Mayor, Trish King spoke in favor of Maryann Day saying that she owns the Everthing’s Beachy store located on the boardwalk and feels that Day brings a lot of good to Taylor Street.

The property will open as Crazy Days Snack Shack and will operate as a food vending business serving prepared and prepackaged food on the premises.

The property will be accepted as-is and improvements are the responsibility of the lessee with the approval of the town.

Jet Ski event
The Council approved a $5,000 funding commitment to help fund the UWP- IJSBA National Tour, Liberty Cup Jet Ski event. Because a considerable amount of man power and other resources from the town is required, the council approved the contract between the Chamber of Commerce and the Upstate Watercraft Promotions further committing to providing, electric, portable toilets and police presence.

This year will mark the third year the town has hosted Jet Ski races.

The standard contract between the chamber and the event’s representatives outlines a host of responsibilities the town must agree to; providing a portion of the beach rent free and reserved only for the event site, (from the fisherman’s pier to the cannon, for public safety) overseeing water traffic control, event parking, providing EMS and police presence.  Other responsibilities provided by the chamber include; pre-approved local advertising, marketing materials, four volunteers and hotel accommodations for five days for staff.

In return the Water Craft Group promises to provide a three-day event professionally run and specifically designed to entertain an audience for a minimum of five to six hours each day.

The event is scheduled for July 20 – 22 and will be the fifth stop in the National Tour. The event is free to spectators as usual and parking is available in the town’s parking lots. Residents who wish to leave their cars at home can use the trolley to get to and from the beach.

Tourism
Council also approved changes in the Tourism Committee’s by-laws.

The biggest change in the tourism’s by-laws is the ability to have a say in who gets appointed. In the past, council had full control of who was chosen to serve on the committee. The by-laws also strive for a two-year membership with a commitment to volunteer in the welcome center for a set number of hours while serving on the tourism committee as a voting member.

The Tourism Committee has also lifted the restriction that members must be a resident of the Town of Colonial Beach. King referred to several volunteers who live just outside the corporate limits who have been a great asset to the Tourism committee through commitment and volunteer hours.

Linda Farneth

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