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Planners back giving museum extension
The Fredericksburg Planning Commission voted unanimously to recommend approval for the U.S. National Slavery Museum's request for an extension of a special-use permit


Date published: 7/31/2008

BY MEGAN WILLIAMS

The Fredericksburg Planning Commission voted unanimously yesterday to recommend extending for a year the U.S. National Slavery Museum's Aug. 1 deadline to begin construction.

Though there were questions about why the museum requested just a one-year extension, no one at the meeting commented on it.

"It seems like an awfully short time to get construction under way," said Ray Ocel, city planning director.

During a public hearing meeting earlier this month, no members of the community spoke for or against the extension recommendation.

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

The permit was requested so the museum could exceed the standard 90-foot ceiling limit to accommodate the mast of an 18th-century slave ship replica. The ceiling would need to be 118-feet for the ship to fit.

Vonita W. Foster, the executive director of the museum, submitted an application for an extension of the permit on May 16.

No construction has begun on the museum, planned on 38 acres in Celebrate Virginia South.

The City Council will hold a public hearing before deciding on whether to approve the extension.

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