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City Council OKs nuisance ordinance
Fredericksburg City Council approves public nuisance ordinance, tables incentive changes


Date published: 12/14/2011

BY ROBYN SIDERSKY

The Fredericksburg City Council last night approved a public nuisance ordinance that would improve and expand on the existing one.

The action stems from years of issues neighbors of College Heights have dealt with, primarily from occupants of rental properties.

City Attorney Kathleen Dooley's office reviewed the city code and in a memo suggested several improvements.

The changes were accepted by the council.

Dooley said that Councilman George Solley had suggested a few other minor changes to the city's code and said she would have it in front of the council for the second reading of the ordinance at the Jan. 10 meeting.

Vice-Mayor Mary Katherine Greenlaw reported on a meeting between herself; Mayor Tom Tomzak; City Manager Beverly Cameron; University of Mary Washington President Rick Hurley; his Chief of Staff, Martin Wilder Jr.; and the Vice President of Student Affairs, Douglas Searcy.

She said that the meeting was a "positive and good meeting" and listed ways that the city and the university will work together to address the issue.

There were two public hearings about changes to the city's business incentives plan, but action on both items was tabled until the next meeting.

Several council members, including Fred Howe III, Kerry Devine and Solley, agreed that there needed to be more discussion, perhaps in a work session.

One of the main points was that the city should target specific types of businesses and offer incentives to them.

One proposed change would expand the city's technology zone to encompass the entire city.

The other would expand the tourism zone to include the State Route 3 Corridor.

The changes would reduce the jobs and investment criteria for existing and new businesses to qualify for incentives in both zones.

The change in the tourism zone doesn't apply to restaurants and hotels.

And the city manager would be authorized to enter into agreements up to $100,000 in total value for projects in both zones.

The council approved raising rates for the Sophia Street parking garage.

The early bird rate would increase to $5, and the monthly rate would go up to $70.

Also, the first two hours to park in the city's garage are free, and that was extended to three hours, on Solley's suggestion.

He said it would encourage visitors to park in the garage, rather than along the streets.

Assistant City Manager Mark Whitley reported the results of the bond sale for the courthouse facility.

The sale was held Nov. 30, and Raymond James Financial was the lowest of the nine bidders at a true interest cost of 3.58 percent. That rate is expected to save the city about $10.3 million over the 25-year life of the bond issue, Whitley said.

Superintendent of Fredericksburg City Schools David Melton gave the council an update on school activities and a short presentation about a recent trip to China he took along with two other school division administrators.

There also was a presentation on the Stafford Civil War Park.

Robyn Sidersky 540/374-5413
Email: rsidersky@freelancestar.com