Minutes of a regular meeting of the Town Council of the Town of Marion, Virginia held in the Council Chambers of the Municipal Building on April 16, 2012 at 5:30 p.m.

PRESENT:  Mayor David Helms; Jane Hale, Dr. James Gates, Tricia Spencer, Suzanne Jennings, Bill Weaver, Jim Owens and Jim Barker, Council Members; Town Attorney Mark Fenyk; Town Manager John E. B. Clark, Jr.; Assistant Town Manager/Town Engineer Cecil Hicks; Purchasing Agent Billy Hamm; Community and Economic Development Director Ken Heath; Police Chief Mike Roberts; Police Lieutenant  Rex Anders; Fiscal Technician Paula Ashlin, Executive Secretary Linda Pennington,  Deputy Town Clerk Anita Catron and Smyth County New and Messenger Stephanie Nichols. Members of Marion Planning Commission: Chairman Cameron Wolfe, Vice-Chairman Bob Ramsey, Alice Freeman, Jim Barker, Larry Carter, Dan Surface and Ben Reedy.

Mayor Helms requested a moment of silence to honor the memory of the Virginia Tech Students.

INVOCATION/PLEDGE TO THE FLAG: Ken Heath rendered the invocation. Mayor Helms led the Pledge to the Flag.

VISITORS:  Jeff Spickard, Jim May, Ralph Price, Nancy Bales, Erwin Rowland, Betty Jo Keith, Bill Thompson, Howard Burton, Mavis Williams, Mary Lou Waak, Karen Forte, Edwin Forte, Lyn Thompson, Ron Thomason, Charles Wassum, Phyllis Forrester, David Richards, Bill Rush, James Kelly, Sam Dancy, Clint Meadows, Jimmy Widener, Julie Driscoll, Phyllis Robinson, Ernie Sullins, Mal Brown, Dan Kegley and Sarah Kegley

MINUTES:  Upon motion of Mrs. Jennings, seconded by Mrs. Hale and a vote of 7 AYES and 0 NOES, the minutes of the meeting held April 2, 2012 were approved as written.  Messrs Barker, Weaver, Owens, Dr. Gates, Ms. Spencer, Mrs. Jennings and Mrs. Hale voted affirmatively.

PUBLIC PRESENTATIONS: There were no public presentations.

JOINT PUBLIC HEARING WITH MARION PLANNING COMMISSION ON REQUESTED REZONING OF 749 MATSON DRIVE (OLD HARWOOD PROPERTY) FROM INDUSTRIAL GENERAL TO COMMERCIAL GENERAL: Mayor Helms turned the Joint Public Hearing over to Planning Commission Chairman Wolfe. Chairman Wolfe noted with seven members present the Commission has a full quorum. Mr. Wolfe asked Mr. Hicks to review the request. After review, Mr. Hicks noted that Mr. Bill Rush was present as representative for the property owner Mr. D. C. Walker to answer questions. Chairman Wolfe opened the Public Hearing. There was one citizen present that spoke in favor of this rezoning request. Chairman Wolfe closed the Public Hearing and asked for any questions or comments from Commission Members. Mrs. Freeman stated she is in favor of this request. She feels the developer has a good site plan and a positive concept. With no other comments from Planning Commission members, Chairman Wolfe asked for any questions or comments from Council Members. Mr. Weaver stated he was in favor of this and feels this will be good for the Town. Chairman Wolfe closed this Public Hearing.

JOINT PUBLIC HEARING WITH MARION PLANNING COMMISSION ON REQUESTED REZONING OF 612 AND 616 SHOP STREET FROM RESIDENTIAL DISTRICT (R-2) TO COMMERCIAL GENERAL (CG): Chairman Wolfe excused himself from this Public Hearing stating a possible conflict of interest and asked for Vice-Chairman Ramsey to proceed. Vice-Chairman Ramsey asked Mr. Hicks to review the request. Mr. Hicks stated the property is located in an area that has mixed use and the intended use for the property is for customer parking for Mr. Sullins business, tenants in his apartments and parking for tractor trailers owned by Mr. Sullins used for overflow of items from the business. There were four citizens present in favor of the rezoning, and Mr. Hicks stated he has also received two letters in support of the rezoning. There was one property owner present that was opposed to the tractor trailers parking there. Mr. Hicks has received two letters also in opposition to tractor trailers parking on these lots.  Mr. Hicks stated if this request for rezoning is approved, any tractor trailers parked on the property must be roadworthy at all times, a fence must shield the tractor trailers, and any lighting must not spill over onto the neighboring properties. Mr. Hicks noted that Mr. Mal Brown, property owner, and Mr. Ernie Sullins, who will be leasing this property, were present to answer questions. Mr. Mal Brown spoke as the property owner.  He would like to request Planning Commission and Town Council vote to rezone the property. Mr. Sullins spoke to explain the intended use. He noted that opposition was not to the rezoning but to the parking of tractor trailers on the lot. He stated there would only be two tractor trailers parked there and he would have a fence high enough to shield these. Ms Erwin Rowland spoke to inquire if the stipulations for the property would remain with this property if the property was sold. Mr. Hicks stated that yes if the property was sold the restrictions would stay with the property. It was proffered and understood that the fence was to be 10 foot high to shield the trailers, only two trailers shall be housed on the property, they must be roadworthy at all times, and all lighting on the property must be enclosed with no spillage onto neighboring properties.  Mr. Ramsey closed the Public Hearing and asked for comments and questions from Planning Commission members. Mrs. Freeman inquired where on the map the trailers would be parked, and about curb and guttering for the driveway into the lots. She also read from the Zoning Ordinance Article 16.2-03 with regards to hard surface for public parking lots. Mr. Hicks stated the Ordinance Article 16.2-03 was for public parking and this would be for private use as Mr. Sullins had stated.  With no other comments from Planning Commission members, Vice-Chairman Ramsey asked for questions and comments from Council Members. Ms. Spencer inquired as to what type of fence would be used. Mr. Sullins stated he would use the same type that is already there. Vice-Chairman Ramsey closed the Public Hearing.

RECOMMENDATION FROM PLANNING COMMISSION ON PROPOSED REZONING OF 612 AND 616 SHOP STREET AND DETERMINATION BY COUNCIL: Upon motion of Mr. Reedy, seconded by Mr. Surface and a vote of 5 AYES and 1NOE (Freeman) and with Mr. Wolfe still excused from the meeting, recommendation to Council is to approve the rezoning request. Mr. Wolfe rejoined the meeting. Vice-Chairman Ramsey turned the floor back to Mr. Wolfe.

RECOMMENDATION FROM PLANNING COMMISSION ON PROPOSED REZONING OF 749 MATSON DRIVE (OLD HARWOOD PROPERTY): Upon motion of Mr. Ramsey, seconded by Mr. Surface and a vote of 7 AYES and 0 NOES recommendation to Council is to approve the rezoning request.

Chairman Wolfe stated the recommendations from Planning Commission to Council are in favor of rezoning for both requests. Mayor Helms stated Council would vote on these in the same order as Planning Commission, starting with 612 and 616 Shop Street. Dr. Gates noted he would abstain from voting on this request because of business associations. Upon motion of Mrs. Jennings, seconded by Mrs. Hale, and a vote of 6 AYES, 0 NOES and 1 ABSTENTATION (Gates), 612 and 616 Shop Street will be rezoned from Residential to Commercial General, a ten foot high fence must be installed, only two roadworthy trailers allowed at any given time, all lighting must be enclosed with no spillage onto neighboring properties. Upon motion of Mr. Weaver, seconded by Mr. Barker and a vote of 7 AYES and 0 NOES, 749 Matson Drive will be rezoned from Industrial General to Commercial General.

 APPROVAL OF PAY REQUEST #8 ON PHASE 1 SEWER TREATMENT PLANT PROJECT: Mr. Spickard with the Lane Group noted that the base work on this project is 99% complete. The retainage is not included in this pay request. Mr. Spickard reviewed the request with the Contractors pay amount being $17,788.55, Inspection services $5,720.00, Engineering services $1,747.50 and Construction Administration $2,418.00. Upon motion of Mrs. Jennings, seconded by Mr. Weaver and a vote of 7 AYES and 0 NOES  pay request #8 in the amount of $27,674.05 was approved.

APPROVAL OF PAY REQUEST #5 ON BIO-GAS PROJECT AND SITUATION WITH EMPTYING DIGESTER: Mr. Clark and Mr. Hicks reviewed this pay request on  the Digester project in the amount of $27,549.95. Mr. Clark noted emptying the Digester is still not completely successful. The Contractor went down to the 5 foot level and has hit material with very low moisture content. Mr. Hicks then explained that 12 years ago was the last time the Digester was completely cleaned out. The only way to clean this now is to bore a 30-inch hole in the side of the Digester to create an orifice and try to clear the blockage with high pressure water. Upon motion of Mrs. Jennings, seconded by Mrs. Hale and a vote of 7 AYES and 0 NOES pay request  #5 in the amount of $27,549.95 was approved.

REPORT ON BUDGET SCHEDULE, GOVERNOR’S DECISION ON VRS 5% CLAUSE AND PROPOSED PAY OFF ON FIRE DEPARTMENT TRUCKS: Mr. Clark noted the budget meetings are going well and noted a special meeting will be held on Thursday May 17th at 5:30 to present the new budget to the full Council. Also the Governor will sign a request that will require all employees to begin paying a member contribution to the Virginia Retirement System. The Employer will no longer be paying this for the employee. A full 5% must be paid by 2016. Mr. Clark also stated the Finance Committee has requested he check with the bank to determine a pay-off amount on the Fire Truck loan. Dr. Gates explained the reasoning for this.

DISPOSITION OF CASE ON 319 SPRINKLE AVENUE: Town Attorney Mark Fenyk stated that progress has been made on this. Mr. Crouse entered a plea of guilty. He received a 12 months suspended sentence and has been placed on probation. Mrs. Jennings and Mr. Owens expressed thanks to town staff for persevering this issue and noted the improvements are very noticeable.

UPDATE ON GOLF COURSE CLOSING: Town Attorney Mark Fenyk stated he hopes to have the paperwork finished by tomorrow or the next day to complete the closing.

ACCOUNTS: Upon motion of Mr. Weaver, seconded by Mrs. Jennings and a vote of 7 AYES and 0 NOES the accounts were approved for payment in the amount of $887,964.70.

INVESTMENT REPORT: No investments were made for this period. Upon motion of Mr. Owens, seconded by Mrs. Jennings and a vote of 7AYES and 0 NOES this report was accepted.

PRESENTATION ON H. L. BONHAM VISITORS CENTER: No Report.

REQUEST ON “SECOND SATURDAYS” CONCERT SERIES: Mr. Ken Heath requested to use money left from Downtown Special Events for the Second Saturdays Concert Series. These concerts will be held at the Farmers Market and will be in partnership with Smyth County Young Professionals Club. These events will take place June thru September. There is $3,100.00 in the Special Events account and if permission is given will be used to pay the bands. Upon motion of Mr. Weaver, seconded by Mr. Owens and a vote of 7 AYES and 0 NOES permission was given to use the money to book the bands for 4 months. Dr. Gates reminded Council that 3 of the concerts will be in next years budget and the money would be included.

 RESOLUTION ON MOUNT ROGERS PDC PRE-DISASTER MITIGATION PLAN: Mr. Clark advised this must be updated every 5 years and a new Resolution prepared as a requirement of Mount Rogers Planning District Commission to make the Town of Marion eligible for hazard mitigation grant assistance. Upon motion of Dr. Gates, seconded by Mrs. Jennings and a vote of 7 AYES and 0 NOES the Resolution was approved and adopted.

PRESENTATION OF DRAFT COPY OF COMPREHENSIVE PLAN: Mr. Hicks reviewed the draft copy each member had received and stated that Council Members should review this and make any suggestions or changes. Marion Planning Commission has been working on this for approximately 5 months and feels the changes they have made were necessary. There will be a public meeting with citizens so they may review this and then a Joint Public Hearing will be set. The Comprehensive Plan needs to be reviewed every 5 years.

STREET COMMITTEE ON 2011-2012 SPRING PAVING SCHEDULE : Mr. Weaver reviewed a list of proposed streets for paving. Each member is to review this list and Mr. Hicks will get a cost for asphalt and a cost for paving. He has a contractor from Wytheville interested in submitting a bid and Mr. Hicks will verify that he is approved for this type of work. The street committee will have a final list of streets for approval at a later date.

BUILDINGS AND REAL ESTATE COMMITTEE ON SECURITY CAMERA: A quote was submitted from Shields Electronics from Bristol, TN. for 4 indoor cameras that will record for up to 2 weeks at a time, 1 outdoor camera, 1 DVR, 1 camera power supply and wiring. Ms. Spencer suggests obtaining a quote from a local person also. Upon motion of Mr. Weaver, seconded by Mr. Owens and a vote of 7 AYES and 0 NOES this item was continued.

Mr. Barker reminded everyone of Arbor Day on Thursday May 10th from 11:00 until 12:00 at The Job Corps Center.

Mrs. Jennings would like to say thank you for the Fuel Consumption Report. She also stated that although the new Manger at the Golf Course has the same last name, she is no relation.

Ms. Spencer inquired about listing Golf Course items separately on the accounts list.

Mrs. Hale stated that the Town of Marion Home Page on the computer needs to be updated. Also she would like for someone to check the Street Light near Mt Cap. The light is out and this is a very dark area. Mayor Helms suggested that she contact Todd Long about the Home Page. Mr. Long has requested several times for anyone with suggestions or comments to contact him. Also Lt. Anders is aware of the street light. It has been marked  for repair. Mr. Clark will get the information and contact AEP.

Mayors Report: Mayor Helms noted at the Mount Rogers Planning District Meeting they voted to only have one meeting a year. This will be in April. Roscoe Call of the Board of Supervisors of Smyth County will be the representative on the Executive Board from this area. Also there were approximately 25-30 students from Virginia Tech that were here working on the 911 memorial. There was a good attendance at the Library for the Family History Library from Salt Lake City. This will be available for genealogy study. There will be a VML Town Section Meeting at the General Francis on May 11th at 10:30. Please let Linda Pennington know by Friday if you plan to attend. This will also be student government day. Today was the vine cutting for the New Hospital and there was good attendance for this.

Attorney Mark Fenyk announced that AEP has submitted another rate increase to the State Corporation Committee. If approved, this will increase the electric bills by about $2.00-$3.00 per bill.

Mr. Heath requested approval of pay request #6 for the Streetscape Project. Upon motion of Dr. Gates, seconded by Mrs. Hale and a vote of 7 AYES and 0 NOES pay request #6 in the amount of $ 69,141.00 was approved.

Mr. Heath informed Council that BACK OF THE DRAGON members held a meeting last week. They would like to place a 4x6 two- sided sign on route 16 with the Back of the Dragon logo on the sign and Welcome to Marion on one side and Drive Safely on the other. The cost would be $1,800.00. They are requesting funding for this. Upon motion of Mrs. Jennings, seconded by Mr. Weaver and a vote of 7 AYES and 0 NOES this item was referred to the Finance Committee.

Mr. Heath also noted that students from Virginia Tech will be in Marion again on Thursday May 10th at 5:00 p.m. to present their designs for the 911 memorial. A public meeting will then be held in the Council Chambers of the Municipal Building from 5:30 until 7:00 p. m. for comments. The public will then choose 3 of the designs by ballot and the top choice will be used for the design.

Mr. Hicks invited members to come see the High Level Tanks before construction begins on them.

Mr. Clark noted that he has completed work in classifying the new golf course employees and placing them in the appropriate grades and steps.  Their job descriptions have also been completed.

Mr. Owens requested that Dennis Parnell give a report from the Virginia Tech people that were at the Golf Course over the weekend. Mr. Parnell stated they were very complimentary about everything that is being done.

Mayor Helms informed Council that several proposals for food service at the Golf Course have been received. Upon motion of Mrs. Jennings, seconded by Mr. Weaver and a vote of 7 AYES 0 NOES this will be referred to the Golf Committee.

Upon motion of Mr. Weaver, seconded by Ms. Spencer and a vote of 7 AYES and 0 NOES the meeting was adjourned.

 

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Mayor                                                                                                   Clerk