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Heated Town Council work session gets some results

Posted on Wednesday, May 1, 2013 at 4:00 am

By Susan Pietras-Smith, Correspondent

After he stepped to the podium, Luke Sydnor insulted many, if not most of the people at Colonial Beach’s Town Council Work Session. Calling the town council members “come-heres,” he said members were “not doing what the people wanted…” He accused the  council members of refusing to listen to complaints.
Sydnor’s accusations surrounded the UWP ISJBA National Tour Jet Ski races slated to be held July 19-21 along the beach front in town. This is the fourth year the town will host the tour. Earlier this year the council signed a contract for 2013, with renewal clause allowing for possibly 2014 and 2015.
Sydnor lodged the complaint that businesses did not make any money from the event. Council Member Gary Seeber disagreed, stating that he knew of several businesses who had made money from the event.
Sydnor countered that local business owner, Ellie Caruthers, who owns Doc’s Motor Court, would close during the Jet Ski Event. According to Sydnor the tractor-trailers parked in front of the motel are the cause of the closing. He also said that the town is “shut down for a whole weekend.”
Caruthers was not present at the meeting.
In other news, the town is one step closer to signing the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Westmoreland County on the Erosion and Sediment (ES) control issue. Permits will be issued from town offices, with monies being forwarded to the county. ES officials will enforce town regulations. This will allow builders to submit just one set of site plans, instead of the two that could have been necessary due to differences between town and county requirements. The town will hire the county ES official by the hour to work on town ES permits. Once the MOU is in place CB will have satisfied Virginia Department of Health’s specifications.
A meeting is set for May 1 to discuss the resolution that would allow the MOU to consolidate the town’s police dispatch with the county’s. CB’s police communications equipment is out-of-date and would require complete replacement within the near future. Combining the dispatch will save the town money, according to interim Police Chief William Seay. A savings estimate of $1,000,000 was mentioned during one council meeting.
If everything goes through as anticipated, emergency services for Westmoreland County will go through the one dispatch station as of  July 1. Rescue squad and fire department calls have been routed through the county for some time, with only police dispatches being handled in town.
A presentation by Richard Hurlbert Jr., lawyer for Related Apartment Preservation (RAP), discussed the possible purchase and renovation of Riverwood Apartments. RAP is looking to acquire a bond in the amount of $2.4 million for the project. The town would have no liability to repay the bond; it would solely be up to RAP to repay.
Riverwood is required by its Deed of Trust to remain as low-to-moderate income housing until 2033. The complex consists of 83 units, 27 one bedrooms, 32 two bedrooms, and 24 three bedrooms. Planned renovations include reworking of the kitchens, bathrooms, and general interiors of each apartment with anticipated cost of $18,000 per unit. Work on the common areas, landscaping, and outside of buildings is also part of the plan that was presented to the council.
Overall council seemed to lean toward the town supporting the renovations, although council woman Wanda Goforth stated that she would like the council to tour the complex prior making a final decision.