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Last updateWed, 27 Dec 2017 12am

KG shuts out W&L in first game of 2015 football season

KG shuts out W&L in first game of 2015 football season

For years, King George High School varsity head football coach Jeff Smith has had a knack for pullin...

Town Council announces top candidates for school demolition project

Town Council announces top candidates for school demolition project

The Colonial Beach Town Council has announced its top three picks for the school demolition project....

Community celebrates Reber’s life, passion for American history

Community celebrates Reber’s life, passion for American history

A moving memorial service took place Friday at Stratford Hall as a standing room-only crowd gathered...

Supervisors to hold public hearing next week on fracking rules

The King George Board of Supervisors will take public comment at a 6 p.m. meeting on Sept. 1 on prop...

King George schools back in session!

King George schools back in session!

Students at King George Elementary School prepare to board busses after after a bright, sunny first ...

Man dies in standoff with KG deputies

A King George deputy sheriff shot and killed a man Saturday night after the man a approached officer...

 

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King George

SETTING

King George supervisors to weigh options for replacing high school track

Tuesday, 01 September 2015

The King George Board of Supervisors is expected to come to a final decision later this year on when a new track can be built adjacent to the stadium at the high school after it gets updated design an...

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Colonial Beach

SETTING

Colonial Beach council ponders sidewalk fixes

Tuesday, 01 September 2015

The Colonial Beach Town Council heard staff reports on failing and dangerous sidewalks within the town, at its Aug. 27 council work session.

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Westmoreland

SETTING

Montross Friday Art Walk and Market Day set for Labor Day weekend

Tuesday, 01 September 2015
Montross Friday Art Walk and Market Day set for Labor Day weekend

Martin Reamy, a talented, successful artist who was born and raised in Montross, and Josh Grigsby and the County Line who just finished recording their first CD “Changes in the Tide,” will...

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Sports

SETTING

KG shuts out W&L in first game of 2015 football season

Tuesday, 01 September 2015
KG shuts out W&L in first game of 2015 football season

For years, King George High School varsity head football coach Jeff Smith has had a knack for pulling a rabbit out of his hat.
On Aug. 27 at Washington and Lee Stadium in Montross, Smith utilized a 6-f...

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Area Deaths

SETTING

Robert “Bob” Curtis

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Jesus Christ, being rich in grace and mercy, granted eternal life to Robert “Bob” Curtis, 85, over sixty years ago and called this faithful pilgrim home on Friday, August 7, 2015 at 11:08 ...

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Columnists

SETTING

Antiques Considered - Sept. 2, 2015

Tuesday, 01 September 2015
Antiques Considered - Sept. 2, 2015

This sideboard belongs to a collector in Northumberland County.  She purchased it many years ago, and thinks the finish is original.  The wood is oak, and the overall condition is excellent,...

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Office-for-rent Jrnl Bldg 20130925

Hearing called to move next O’Gara acquisition forward

Earlier this year The Journal reported that O’Gara Group had the old Arrowhead Superfund Site property under contract and was actively investigating its ability to use the former manufacturing plant and surrounding property for training and other purposes.
EPA has since completed its scheduled review of the property’s Superfund status and a sign has been posted on the grounds providing notice of the public hearing scheduled for next Thursday morning in the A.T. Johnson auditorium.

At 9 a.m. on Dec. 16, Westmoreland County’s Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors will convene in joint session to entertain the current property owner’s request to rezone the 16-acre property and convey a special exception that will enable the unused 154,681 square foot building to be used as a tactical training facility by The O’Gara Group. The sales agreement between the property’s Mattaco, Inc. owner and O’Gara Group is conditioned upon the local government’s conveyance of the set of approvals that are the subjects of next Thursday morning’s advertised public hearings.
Zoning Administrator Robert Fink has prepared a report advising the Planning Commissioners and county supervisors that the property’s current M-1, General Industrial zoning designation does not support the technical school operation The O’Gara Group proposed.
Instead, Fink explained, the zoning must be changed to IG, Industrial General, where training facilities are a Special Exception option.
On the morning of Dec. 16, Mattaco representative Charlotte Hutt will ask the county’s commissioners and supervisors to rezone the property and approve the special exception request. The public will have an opportunity to weigh in during the two separate hearings.
Attorney Richard Hutt additionally represents the application and has served as O’Gara Group’s local attorney of record since January 2009, when the tactical training establishment contracted to buy the county’s unoccupied industrial shell building and surrounding property.
Public opposition to O’Gara’s intention to locate its training center in Westmoreland County was extensive. Litigation followed in the county’s Circuit Court, but the judge had not returned his findings when this edition of The Journal went to press. O’Gara Group has no current contract to buy the shell building and final remnant of the county’s industrial park property, but in an interview earlier this year, O’Gara Group Director James Noe advised that the transaction will be delayed until questions pending in Westmoreland Circuit Court have been appropriately resolved.
O’Gara Group nonetheless moved forward with its development initiatives outside the realm of county government. Large tracts of property contiguous with the county’s industrial park and the 16-acre Mattaco, Inc. property were purchased from Bryan Chandler and developed as the establishment’s tactical training facility. Development included construction of classrooms and offices, shooting ranges and an evasive maneuvers driving range.
Addressing the pending acquisition of property currently owned by Mattaco, the Robert Fink report of Dec. 2, 2010, advises the commissioners and supervisors that “the training facility is not expected to exceed 200 students and 20 trainers.” The enterprise “is anticipated to create a minimum of five additional jobs” and existing parking facilities would fulfill VDOT and local ordinance requirements.
“In addition,” wrote Fink, “The O’Gara Group intends to use the industrial property for manufacturing, warehousing, and other uses permitted by right in the IG zoning district.”
In addition to its tactical training enterprises, O’Gara Group is engaged in the manufacture of night vision equipment and armor. During the most recent telephone interview, Project Director James Noe advised that O’Gara Group is in possession of numerous job applications submitted by local residents.
“We are very impressed by the quality of the local workforce,” Noe stated. At that time the O’Gara spokesperson expressed hope that the evaluation of Mattaco’s abandoned building would support establishment of an O’Gara Group manufacturing enterprise.
Fink’s report addressed the favorable finding associated with that consideration.  
“The contract purchaser anticipates that locating either of its manufacturing divisions here would provide at the site as many as 100 jobs. The use of the site for these other activities is [not a subject of the Dec. 16 Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors meeting].”
“Most of the activity will take place within the existing one story building,” Fink additionally related.
“The school is expected to use approximately 90,000 square feet of the building.”
A Conceptual Layout Plan included in the informational packet designates a configuration of classrooms, gym, kitchen and dining area, lounge, possible indoor shooting range and other indoor training areas.
Fink noted “the site has been used by a number of businesses for manufacturing [enterprises] since the 1960s. Activity on the site in the past resulted in the designation of the Arrowhead Plating Superfund Site by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
“The pollutants are located underground, but can migrate,” Fink advised.
“There are a number of underground remediation and monitoring facilities installed on site and nearby. While remediation has been put into place, ‘hazardous substances, pollutants, or contaminants remain at the site above levels that allow for unlimited use and unrestricted exposure’ according to the latest report prepared by the EPA in September 2010.”
Fink additionally advised of the expectation “that the EPA will issue a ‘comfort letter’ confirming that the [O’Gara Group] purchasers will not be responsible for the remediation of past pollution.”
If the property is rezoned, the special exception approval would include a stipulation requiring O’Gara Group to develop and implement a noise mitigation plan if an indoor shooting range is included in the mix.
Additional information provided by the county’s Land Use Office discloses the current owner’s conjecture that sale to O’Gara would serve the public’s general interest. The document signed by Realtor Charlotte Hutt notes that “this property has been vacant for many years, particularly since its designation as a Superfund site by the EPA.
“Due to this, the property simply has not been used and soon will fall into a state of dilapidation,” the rezoning and special exception applicant remarked.
“The applicant and the contract purchaser desire to utilize the building and property [in a manner that will] make it productive for the county and community. The renovations of the building upon rezoning and special exception in and of themselves are estimated to be in excess of one million dollars.
“Obviously, the vast majority of the million dollars will flow into the Westmoreland economy. The use of the facility allows O’Gara to expand their facility using an existing developed property and realizing job growth in their business.”
“The use of this facility puts an otherwise undesirable location to use, expands the county’s tax base and redevelops a site that has been left vacant and unused,” the application material explained.

Betsy Ficklin

 

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