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Eels finish regular RSL season as National Division runner-up

Eels finish regular RSL season as National Division runner-up

On July 20, the Eden Estate Eels (4-1) narrowly defeated Lake Wilderness, 264-244.
The win, awarded t...

Would merging Westmoreland, Colonial Beach schools solve tax issue?

For Colonial Beach taxpayers concerned about a new tax increase, caused by a $400,000 shortfall in t...

Sue Coleman and 4-H All Stars honored by Board

Sue Coleman and 4-H All Stars honored by Board

The King George Board of Supervisors recognized Sue Coleman of Fancy’s Friends 4-H Dog Club an...

Spotsylvania Post 320 holds off KG Post 89

Spotsylvania Post 320 holds off KG Post 89

On Friday, July 17, at King George High School, during the first round of the Division 12 playoffs, ...

Fitzgerald, Johnson hailed as 2015 “hometown heroes”

In 2010 the Allen & Allen law firm began a tradition of recognizing hometown heroes to celebrate...

Colonial Beach residents develop green thumb community garden

Colonial Beach residents develop green thumb community garden

If you’re interested in growing your own fresh vegetables, it’s not too late to rent a p...

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King George

SETTING

Farmer’s Market offers local bounty

Tuesday, 28 July 2015
Farmer’s Market offers local bounty

Sunny skies and a bountiful harvest were the watchwords last Saturday at the King George Farmer’s Market.  Residents from around the Northern Neck showed up to buy locally grown, fresh prod...

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Colonial Beach

SETTING

Downtown Colonial Beach Steering Committee seeks non-profit status

Tuesday, 28 July 2015
Downtown Colonial Beach Steering Committee seeks non-profit status

The Downtown Colonial Beach Steering Committee is now operating with a board of directors, complete with officers. The group made the move in order to apply for incorporation and non-profit status.

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Westmoreland

SETTING

Fitzgerald, Johnson hailed as 2015 “hometown heroes”

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

In 2010 the Allen & Allen law firm began a tradition of recognizing hometown heroes to celebrate 100 years of serving Virginia residents.
Since then Allen & Allen has recognized more than 300 h...

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Sports

SETTING

Eels finish regular RSL season as National Division runner-up

Tuesday, 28 July 2015
Eels finish regular RSL season as National Division runner-up

On July 20, the Eden Estate Eels (4-1) narrowly defeated Lake Wilderness, 264-244.
The win, awarded the Eels a second-place regular-season finish in the Nationals Division.
After defeating Country Club,...

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Area Deaths

SETTING

Deacon Scott Clayborne Stuart

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Deacon Scott Clayborne Stuart, 54, of King George, VA, passed away on Monday, July 20, 2015 at Janesville Hospital, after a swimming incident at Lake Geneva, WI.
Scott was born on January 7, 1961, ...

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Columnists

SETTING

How about Mark Warner for Vice President?

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Years ago when then former Governor and now Sen. Mark Warner was thinking about running for President, I was on-board with his campaign.  Indeed, most Virginia Democrats readily listed themselves...

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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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