His first day on the job as director of the King George Parks and Recreation Department, Chris Clarke heard a discussion about rental rates of the popular Citizens Center, used for everything from wedding receptions to baby showers.

The rate structure had included separate fees for rental, supervision and cleaning along with a holiday surcharge and deposit—and Clarke, who took over the department in November, had no idea what the total would be.

As county officials have started work sessions on the fiscal 2020 budget, he’s been told his department needs to find more ways to be self-sustaining.



On Tuesday, Clarke proposed a simpler rate structure for renting the building, off State Route 3, which the Board of Supervisors approved unanimously. The new rental fee is $50 to $60 an hour for the entire hall; $40 to $45 an hour for half the hall; and $100 to $200 for the deposit.

The higher rates are for events with alcohol because they tend to require more cleanup and have more damage, Clarke said.

New rates went into effect Wednesday, but did not affect reservations made before then. With the new structure, renters will pay more for an eight-hour wedding reception of the whole hall ($480 versus $406) but less for a four-hour party that takes up half the space ($160 versus $188).

Center rentals totaled $15,007 in fiscal 2018 and have neared that amount in fiscal 2019, even though there’s still five months left in the fiscal year. So far, rentals have totaled $14,793, Clarke said.

The change to rates was one of several items the King George Board of Supervisors dealt with Tuesday.

UNSAFE BUILDING COMING DOWN

King George County will pay about $25,000 to demolish an unsafe building that’s been abandoned for years. That’s the former Dominion Medical Building, 11463 Ridge Road, next to Big Dog Outfitters and Rankin’s True Value Hardware.

Parts of the roof are collapsing, the siding under the roof’s overhang is falling off and records—presumably medical ones—are in wet piles where mold is growing, said Brad Hudson, director of Community Development. Efforts to reach the owner, through letters and newspaper notices, have gone unanswered, he told the Board of Supervisors.

Al–Fayyadh Ghazi of Falls Church owns the property, valued at $145,000, according to county tax records. The structure was built in 1980 and the property sold in 2010.

King George amended its ordinance in June to allow the county to tear down unsafe or nuisance buildings after deeming the property a hazard and notifying the owner. The Dominion Medical Building is the first action since the adoption, Hudson said.

The $25,000 estimate includes demolition, removal of possible asbestos and hauling away the debris.

Hudson said the county doesn’t have any legal obligation to shred papers inside the building, but supervisors asked him to make sure they were properly destroyed.

As part of the ordinance, the county will put a lien on the property to recoup the cost of demolition.

BOARD TO LOOK ONLY

AT BIGGER SUBDIVISIONS

When it comes to subdivisions, the supervisors only want to see the big ones—preliminary plats for developments with 51 lots or more. With smaller subdivisions, the Planning Commission will become the approving body as part of a change to King George’s zoning ordinance.

King George officials changed the ordinance because their regulations had become out of date with the Virginia code. Also, at a joint meeting last summer between supervisors and planners, the boards discussed that having an applicant present plats to county staff, the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors can be burdensome and costly for all parties, according to a presentation from the Community Development Office.

The ordinance change says applicants do not have to submit preliminary plats, provided that no public improvements or right-of-way dedication are involved for: rearranging property lines; family and minor subdivisions; acquisition or dedication of land for public purposes where no new lots are created; partitioning of land among co-owners after a death; and when 50 or fewer lots are being divided.

Cathy Dyson: 540/374-5425

cdyson@freelancestar.com

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