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Museum extension draws no comment
A public hearing to discuss the extension of the U.S. National Slavery Museum yielded no comments from the community

Date published: 7/10/2008

BY MEGAN WILLIAMS

No community members spoke at the Fredericksburg Planning Commission's public hearing last night on the U.S. National Slavery Museum's request for a one-year extension of an Aug. 1 deadline to start construction.

Planning Director Ray Ocel reviewed the application submitted May 16 by Vonita W. Foster, the executive director of the museum. Ocel said museum officials don't believe they will meet the deadline to begin work.

Neither Foster nor any other representative of the museum spoke.

The commission took no action. It will decide whether to recommend the extension to the City Council during its July 30 meeting. The council will make the final decision.

The museum's deadline to begin construction is part of a special-use permit approved by the council two years ago.

The permit requested in 2005 allows the museum to exceed the city's 90-foot ceiling limit in order to accommodate the mast of an 18th-century slave ship replica. The ceiling would need to be 118 feet to hold the ship.

No construction has begun on the museum, planned on 38 acres in Celebrate Virginia. Applications for a building permit or site work had not been filed as of yesterday.

Megan Williams: 540/374-5000, ext. 5661
Email: mewilliams@freelancestar.com