The Christiansburg Town Council met on Tuesday, June 3 and held a Public Hearing on proposed fee increases for fiscal year 2008-09 budget. No additional public comments were made. A Joint Public Hearing was then held for a rezoning of 103 College Street from R-2 Two Family Residential to B-2 Central Business. This conforms with the town's Comprehensive Plan. Contingent upon approval of this item, a related Conditional Use Permit (CUP)could be commented upon, where approval for a dental laboratory at 103 College Street was being requested. No additional public comments were made for either item.
At Monday's Planning Commission meeting, a review of the overall size of the building, number of employees the dental lab expected, types of potentially hazardous materials, adequate parking and impacts to neighboring properties was discussed. The proposed business principals were present to answer questions. There were no comments received during the Joint Public Hearing and council recessed for the Planning Commission to meet. Subsequently, the Planning Commission unanimously approved recommending the rezoning and CUP.
At Monday's Planning Commission meeting, the Town Manager brought an additional item forward which had not been included on the original agenda. This was for a metal recycling facility to be located on Depot Street, adjacent to the Historic Cambria district. The business operator was renting the property and stated limited equipment would be on-site with all materials kept against the new fencing, off the ground in Gaylord boxes. The Town Manager's concern was relative to possible hazardous materials and that while the property would be screened from the road, the operations would be visible from adjacent residential areas situated on higher ground. Questions about potentially hazardous materials from the reclaimed materials and a nearby stream were heard, with discussion on whether the building's existing drainage entered directly into the stream or the town's sewer system. By Tuesday's meeting, commissioners had done site visits and expressed concerns about materials seen on the site, not stored inside the building or in the Gaylord boxes, noting there were what appeared to be numerous air conditioning units and old refrigerators. While the property is zoned Industrial, safety and environmental concerns were the basis of the Planning Commissions recommendation to deny approval of the metal recycling operations at this location.
Council was called to order and the minutes from May 7 and May 20, 2008 meetings were approved as submitted. A Citizens Hearing was then called and resident Lisa Gardner spoke in regards to reducing gasoline consumption by town employees, including possible options for the Police Department and other employees, one who was seen leaving a town vehicle unoccupied but running for over 15 minutes (in violation of State Code). Council then addressed the three items from the Planning Commission, following the recommendations as presented. The CUP for a dental laboratory included three conditions: the facility would have less than 5 full-time employees, the building's footprint would be no greater than the existing structure, and all local, state or federal permit requirements were to be met.
Council then directed its attention to the fee increases for the FY 2008-09 budget and Councilman Stipes recommended adjusting the proposed BPOL tax to 39 cents/per $100 valuation instead of the recommended 45 cents/per $100 valuation for professional offices. Discussion followed regarding a desire to encourage this type of business within the town (finance, insurance, legal, real estate, physicians, etc.), and noted the proposed change would require approximately $45,000 to be shifted from cash reserves. Council approved this motion, with Mike Barber opposed. Council then approved the proposed fees, as amended, unanimously.
A second reading of the town's FY 2008-09 budget was discussed, however if citizens had not been privy to previous discussions they would have been unaware of both the proposed fees and budget as these items were not detailed nor were copies available for public review at this meeting. Applying a cap for funds transferred to the Chamber of Commerce for the Tourism Development Council (TDC) was again discussed. Town attorneys indicated this would require a renegotiation of the existing contract or providing a 180-day notification of non-renewal. Previously, council had discussed capping this at $70,000 yet all seemed agreed at setting this at $100,000 at this meeting. Councilman Canada stipulated he agreed with the concept contingent upon any amounts in excess of $100,000 (based on 1% of the 7% total collected for lodging taxes) being used exclusively to promote tourism in Christiansburg. It was noted that the TDC had received $153,000 in the last fiscal year. Council then voted and unanimously adopted the FY 2008-09 budget, instructing town administrators to renegotiate the TDC contract. Failing that, notice of intent to terminate would be given.
Council then unanimously approved Governor Tim Kaine's request for a resolution supporting his transportation funding plan, intended to promote economic viability and maintain public safety.
The Town Manager reported on the need for upcoming public hearings on CUP or rezoning requests and noted that Norfolk-Southern Railroad had notified the town of a 24-hour closing of the Cambria crossing for repairs. The town will also use this closure to perform work on area storm drains. This work is expected June 9-10.
Council then moved to a work session for FOIA "training" and later adjourned the meeting at 9:50 pm. Council's next regular meeting will be held on Tuesday, June 17 at 7:30 pm in the Town Hall.