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State wants specifics prior to release of $695,000 grant for Angelwood Marshall Homes project

Following the state’s announcement in early September about $695,000 in potential grant funding for Project Faith’s Angelwood Marshall Homes proposal in King George, more specifics are now being requested by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development.

The letter of intent received by the county on Oct. 25 asks for details about financing, rezoning, the homebuyer application process and the project’s development partners by Dec. 15, before release of any funding in May 2017 on the grant offer.

Project Faith Inc. is a 501(c) 3 not-for-profit charity specializing in rental apartments for people with disabilities and seniors with low incomes. The current proposal would expand its services to providing home-ownership to eligible low-to-moderate income families.

Phase I of Angelwood Marshal Homes would begin the development with 17 houses, and ultimately the development would contain 35 homes.

The Community Development Block Grant would pay for the extension of roads and utility lines and other site work to expand the existing Angelwood building complex containing 93 rental apartments.

Project Faith proposes to construct 1,400-square-foot, three-bedroom, two-bathroom, single-family homes on one-third acre lots to sell for $200,000 or less.

The homes would be built on 16 acres behind Angelwood, located on the north side of Route 3 (Kings Highway) through Tinsbloom Mill Lane.

The Board of Supervisors reviewed the letter of intent at its Nov. 1 meeting, with Chairwoman Ruby Brabo directing Travis Quesenberry, county administrator, to get in touch with Froncé Wardlaw, executive director for Project Faith for responses to the state’s questions.

“And please remind her she needs to submit her rezoning paperwork in a timely fashion if she intends to meet her deadlines,” Brabo told Quesenberry.

In addition to questions on rezoning, the process used for creating the waiting list of home buyers and the status of pre-qualified homebuyers, the letter from the state wants to know about financing for the development whose total cost is estimated by Wardlaw at about $2.5 million.

“The amount of leverage for this project varied throughout the CDBG application. Verify the amount of leverage to be used with this project, the sources of the leverage, and the status of this funding availability. Approximately 75 percent of the budget appeared to be uncommitted. Funding for the project will need to be secured before CDBG funding is fully awarded,” Tamara Holmes states in the letter.

The state also wants descriptions of the partners to be used for marketing, to qualify home buyers, for making loans and other tasks to assist low-income families to transition to home-ownership.

Wardlaw addressed some of the specifics in Nov. 2 correspondence to the county.

“I am writing the combo application to submit for HOME and Trust Funds that will serve as the take out for an approved construction loan. [Virginia Housing Development Authority]  will be providing down payment assistance,” Wardlaw said.

“Virginia Community Capital (VCC) has provided a conditional commitment for a construction loan in the amount of $1,000,000.  Sort of like a revolving line of credit. As homes are sold, we buy the line down and it regenerates so that the project keeps moving. The condition of commitment is for the HOME/Trust Fund award that will serve as their take out.”

Wardlaw also addressed eligible home buyers.

“Central VA Housing Coalition has a pipeline of pre-approved clients and Project Faith has a short pipeline.  Before Thanksgiving, we will begin the Home Buyers Club with a kick-off of a Homebuyer’s Club breakfast. It’s a good way for the clients to support each other, establish a regular meeting time to gather personal docs and learn more about the closing process and it allows Project Faith and partners to keep pre-approved clients in ‘ready to purchase’ status.  Certified VHDA Home Buyer counselors will also attend these meetings,” Wardlaw said.

Wardlaw provided a brief answer when asked in an interview whether she was confident the questions could be completely addressed prior to the Dec. 15 deadline.

“Of course and as always,” Wardlaw said.

King George County sponsored and submitted the application in the end of March with information from Wardlaw, following two public hearings and a vote of the board.

King George has previously been involved in two successful block grant applications for Project Faith in 2005 and 2012 for rental housing for the two phases of Angelwood.

It was also involved in one failed and controversial grant application with a free land deal that went sour and ended up in an extended court battle with a suit and countersuit.

The county-donated land was subsequently returned by Project Faith and the organization’s suit to obtain $300,000 damages was voluntarily withdrawn in April.  

Phyllis Cook

King George School Board wants to deed former middle school building to county

The King George County School Board approved a motion to ask the Board of Supervisors if they wish to pursue using the former middle school building for county use. The School Board would like to turn the deed over the county.

The action was taken at a meeting on Nov. 7, with three members present, all voting in favor following a brief discussion. School Board members Kristin Tolliver and Gayle Hock were absent.

‘Old Middle School’ was listed on the agenda as a discussion item, introduced by Chairman T.C. Collins, saying the building’s future use has been under consideration for a long time.

“During our budget discussions we’re going to have a discussion with the Board of Supervisors, and I want to bring this forth to the board members first. Maybe we can come up with some kind of consensus together for when we talk to them,” Collins said. “Originally, my thoughts were we should tear it down. But I changed those thoughts to where I think we should give it to the Board of Supervisors for their use for the county. We are all in this together and they do have a need for space. They lease space now and there are other uses it that it could be used for.”

The former middle school building was ceremoniously celebrated and simultaneously shuttered for student use at the end of the school year in June 2009. That took place after the opening of a new high school earlier that year, built at a cost of over $42 million.

When the seventh and eighth grades of middle school students and staff came back to school in September 2009, they moved into the renovated former high school building, which was renamed King George Middle School.  

Now that building is in the design stage for another major renovation and a substantial addition expected to begin next summer.

When that addition is completed, the sixth grades from the three elementary schools will be shifted into the renovated school, freeing up space for growth at the elementary schools.

“That old building is not getting any better, but it still has use in it for their purposes. The structure is good,” Collins said.

“It could be used for offices and all kinds of other things. So that would be my opinion. I don’t know what your views are, but I would like to hear them.”

School Board member Tammy Indseth agreed.

“That sounds like a great idea to me. I was never in favor of tearing it down. I envision that could be used for something as other old schools in other counties have been repurposed for other uses,” Indseth said.

“If the supervisors are interested in it, it would be beneficial to both.”  

School Board member Mike Rose was on the same page, saying supervisors knew they were undecided about the building, had toured it together last spring and talked about doing a study on the building.

“Yes, I’m for that. I think it’s a good idea,” Rose said. “I think it’s the right thing to do. Just turn it over to them and let them decide what’s the best thing to do with that building.”

Collins said the supervisors should decide the best use for county citizens.

“They already use the gymnasium. I don’t want to speculate too much, but they could use it for parks and rec, for the other things for which they are leasing, for all kinds of stuff,” Collins said.

“It needs new air conditioning, heating and a new roof. And maybe some partitions for offices or whatever they decide to put in there. But I think that would be a valuable resource for the county to use as the board would see fit.”

The gym and an adjacent section continues to be used by the county’s Parks & Recreation department, including for target practice and gun handling classes for both the Naval Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps from the high school and for 4-H. The division also uses a portion for storage.

Rose suggested supervisors be informed of their decision prior to taking the formal steps to turning the deed over to the county and made a motion to that effect which passed unanimously.

Following the vote, Collins commented.

“I’m not 100 percent sure of the other two board members views. I think it’s in line,” Collins said.

Conveying title is spelled out in state code. The school board simply adopts a resolution that the property is ‘surplus,’ recording the resolution along with the deed to the property with the clerk of the circuit court for the title to become vested in the county.

Phyllis Cook

Landfill vertical expansion request gets little interest at state’s public hearing

Six speakers went to the podium in the King George High School auditorium on Nov. 9 to speak against a proposed permit amendment that would allow vertical expansion of the King George County Landfill.

The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality drew 11 speakers to its public hearing in King George last week as part of its review process for a permit amendment request for the county’s regional landfill operated by Waste Management Inc.

The six county residents speaking against the permit amendment included long-time resident Tom Kramer, an original opponent of the landfill back in the 1990s.

Kramer questioned the integrity of the landfill’s triple liner system and expressed concern about it eventually leaking.

“How long will this state-of-the-art liner last? I don’t think we should raise the landfill height,” Kramer said.

The other five opposing the permit amendment moved near the landfill after it began operations and have been regretting it, including Kathy Correr, Jasmine and Dan Wisnewski, Tanita Aley, and Davina Filion.

They primarily complained about odor problems. Correr moved near the landfill in 2005 and described the odor as a “horrible stench.”  

“I want to move, but my property values have decreased,” Correr said.

Jasmine Wisnewski moved near the landfill in 2004.

“The stench will roll in and saturate and stay in my house for hours. I can’t enjoy my home,” Wisnewski said. She and Davina Filion expressed health concerns about the odor being toxic and Filion also complained about incinerator smell.

The King George Landfill does not burn or incinerate waste and only accepts municipal solid waste, which is defined under law. Hazardous waste is strictly regulated in Virginia and it is not accepted at the King George Landfill.

The amendment would increase the elevation of the landfill by 100 feet. The vertical expansion would raise the final height of the landfill from 275 feet above sea level to 375 feet. But that wouldn’t start for 14 years.

The proposed change would not increase the landfill’s footprint of 291 acres of the total site of about 631 acres.

About half the total acreage is actively maintained for wildlife, grasslands, wetlands and ponds, certified as a ‘Wildlife at Work’ site by the Wildlife Habitat Council.

The King George County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the amendment in July 2014, after reviewing and researching the concept for a year and a half, including visiting a tall landfill in Sussex County, which is permitted to go to 510 feet.

It’s taken over two years for the amendment to be fully developed and get this far in the state’s review process.

The King George County Landfill has been operating for 20 years this month, opening in 1996.

If approved, the amendment would double its life span from the current 14 more years to about 28 more years. The longevity is built into the county’s contract with monthly and annual volume caps to ensure its use into the future.

About 30 people were present in the audience. But most were officials from Waste Management, the state and the county, including all five members of the Board of Supervisors.

Chairwoman Ruby Brabo represented the county and was one of five speakers in favor of the expansion, which also included neighboring residents Stephanie Trainor, Fred Salo and Dorian Adams, along with Elizabeth Taylor, executive director of the King George Family YMCA, who praised the financial support provided directly by Waste Management to several programs benefitting at-risk children.

Trainor, who lives near the landfill and plans to build a retirement home there, said she supported vertical expansion.

“I’ve made a conscious decision to live in the area,” Trainor said. “I think the dump is a good thing for the county.”

Brabo called the landfill, “professionally-managed and environmentally sound.”

She noted its annual revenue to the county at about $7.4 million from host fees and gas-to-energy revenue.

The funding is used for capital projects, including paying for new and renovated school facilities, firehouses and the library, along with costs for a sheriff’s building and vehicles, animal pound, parks, school buses and other capital costs for county facilities.

The landfill revenue helps keep county taxes low. If it didn’t receive the landfill revenue, Brabo estimated real estate taxes would be about 30 cents higher per $100 valuation to pay for capital project costs.

If the amendment is approved, it will bring in more money for longer.

The amendment is estimated to bring in over $100 million additional in host tipping fees during its extended years of trash disposal beginning about 14 years from now, with higher tipping fees to the county.

Prior to that, within six months of regulatory approval by the state, Waste Management would begin paying the county an additional $3 million, in increments of $500,000 annually over the next six years.

Brabo spoke about other benefits of the landfill, including two trash convenience and recycling centers where King George residents are provided free disposal of trash. She also spoke about the county’s solid waste operations prior to the current landfill opening.

“The county operated a local ‘dump’ on approximately 30 acres of land. This dump had no liner, no operations plan, no leachate and gas collection systems and no environmental controls,” Brabo said.

“That dump is now a wonderful county park facility.”

As part of the landfill agreement, all of the trash was removed from the dump and disposed of at the new landfill and the landfill contractor remediated all environmental issues at the dump.

Written public comments on the proposed permit amendment will be accepted by the state until Nov. 30. Send to Yurek Aurelson, VA DEQ Northern Regional Office, 13901 Crown Court, Woodbridge, VA 22193, or email:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Documents related to the project can be viewed at the Smoot Library.

Phyllis Cook

King George Industrial Park under consideration for established Virginia business

Authorization to proceed with appraisal of a lot in the King George Industrial Park was provided on Nov. 10 by the King George County Economic Development Authority with the hope the location might be selected for purchase by an unannounced business currently considering various locations in the Fredericksburg region.

The motion was to authorize the authority’s chairman, Jim Hull, to execute a $1,500 contract with Johnson Commercial Real Estate Appraisers to perform an appraisal on Lot 11 in the King George County Industrial Park to determine the value for potential sale. The lot contains 5.28 acres.

The unanimous action took place following a closed meeting session as part of its regular monthly meeting.

The prospective business was discussed behind closed doors. Such discussion is exempt from public disclosure under state law since no announcement has been made about the business’s interest in locating in the county.

“The details I can give you are it is an environmental firm that specializes in wetland mitigation, field and stream restoration and stormwater management all over Virginia,” Linwood Thomas said following the meeting.

Thomas is the King George Director of Economic Development. He noted the business is also looking at locations in other jurisdictions for the project.  

“They currently have 15 employees and want to hire an additional seven. They would make an initial capital investment including land of approximately $1.6 million and another $1 million in business equipment and personal property,” Thomas said. 

“They would build a 15,000-20,000 square foot facility. Though I cannot disclose the exact details of the facility, it would surpass standards currently in the park. It would be very nice.” 

The contract calls for the appraisal firm to provide its report in the next week. The time frame in which the potential new business will make its decision was not publicly revealed.

Phyllis Cook

King George Ruritan Club honors county veterans

The King George Ruritan Club’s annual Veterans Day program proudly recognized five King George veterans, including two with service from World War II.

The Nov. 10 program to honor veterans drew over 100 people to the University of Mary Washington’s Dahlgren campus. The five veterans honored were presented with plaques from the Ruritans and quilts made by the King George Quilting Bees.

The event was emceed by Jeron Hayes, Public Affairs Officer Naval Support Activity South Potomac, with opening remarks by Aubrey Mitchell.

“The King George Ruritans are honored to bring this program to you. The Ruritans is founded on citizenship and patriotism to make the community a better place to live. To all the veterans – what a pleasure it is and a privilege for us to stand here tonight and say thank to you all who gave so much,” Mitchell said.

The King George High School Naval Junior ROTC Color Guard and Drill Team participated, Lynn Mitchell sang the National Anthem, James T. Johnson led the Pledge of Allegiance, and Lt. Joshua R. Okwori, Chaplain, NSASP provided the Invocation.

U.S. Rep. Rob Wittman (R-Va., 1st) provided greetings and a call for unity after the divisive election.  

“It truly is an honor and a privilege to be with you tonight to celebrate the service of all our great veterans,” Wittman said. “We go through these times in our nation’s history where we discuss issues and we make a decision. And that decision has been made. And now we are at a point where we must unite again. We must come together and remember what binds us together, because those are the things that are much stronger than anything that separates us. And one of the essential elements of our nation that brings us together is taking time to honor our veterans. It is our eternal commitment to honor our veterans. It’s truly what makes our nation great and we should never forget that.”

Inspiring remarks and a musical selection of patriotic songs were provided by Rick Dellinger of Rick Dellinger Music Ministries from Bedford.

Ted Haenlein ended the evening’s heartfelt program, hitting all the right notes, by playing Taps.  

Phyllis Cook

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