By Carol Vaughn —
Onancock officials held a public hearing on an application to rezone 7 Hartman Avenue for multifamily residential use.
The current owners, the Eastern Shore Coalition Against Domestic Violence, uses the property for multifamily use, but as a group home, it was not required to be rezoned.
“They are putting the property up for sale. It is a multifamily property,” said Town Manager Matt Spuck.
The town received no comments from adjacent property owners who were notified of the application.
The planning commission recommended the property be rezoned.
No one commented at the hearing.
The Town Council approved the rezoning.
Another public hearing was held about rezoning several town-owned properties currently being used as cultural, recreational, or community facilities, but which are not zoned as such.
The parcels proposed to be zoned in the parks and open spaces designation include property near the wharf; property at the corner of Fairgrounds Road and Market Street; two pieces of property, 6.23 acres, donated to the town for a proposed dog park; and a parcel on Parker Street with the old well and pump building on it.
“This designation would preclude any building or development. These are strictly to be used as outdoor space by the town,” Spuck said.
No one from the public commented at the hearing.
The Town Council approved the rezonings.
The council discussed amending the town’s procurement policy to bring it in line with federal requirements for using federal funds.
Spuck presented the council members an extensive checklist of items that must be complied with for purchases using federal funds, such as the money coming to town as result of the American Rescue Plan Act, among others.
The council approved the amendment with the provision that the town’s own procurement policy must always be adhered to and in addition to that, any federally funded project must adhere to the federal requirements.
Onancock Main Street representatives thanked outgoing town employee Lisa Fiege for her assistance to the organization.
Peaches Dodge, ESCADV board president, also thanked Fiege for her assistance.
Dodge also told the council they “can always call me” with any questions about ESDADV’s project to renovate the former G.F. Horne property, which will significantly expand the organization’s operations.
“We are aiming at the end of April to open the shelter,” she said, adding, “…We are delighted to be able to stay in Onancock.”
The town gave $100,000 from the ARPA funds to the project.
Spuck reported the town is still waiting for the USDA to release from repayment a grant related to the town’s wastewater treatment facility, in order to be able to turn over the facility to the Hampton Roads Sanitation District.
“We, being HRSD and Onancock management, have agreed that if we don’t get that response by !2/31, that we will reach out to our congressional and senatorial representatives to find out if there is something that we can inquire a little bit more assertively,” Spuck said, adding, “…We need to get this done.”
Mayor Fletcher Fosque said the Christmas parade had more people watching it than had been there in a long time.
He also complimented the town decorations.
“I got a lot of positive comments about that,” he said, adding, “I think the Christmas decorations really did bring people into town.”
Fosque said Councilman Bob Bloxom’s resignation as of Dec. 31 means someone needs to be appointed to the planning commission and the waterfront commission. Bloxom also served as vice mayor.
The council in November appointed Cindy Holdren to fill Bloxom’s seat until Dec. 31, 2022.
Spuck said the town has received quotes from two companies for the cost of security cameras and the matter will be discussed more in a future council meeting.
The water tower painting project is progressing, according to Spuck.
The workers will return from their holiday break Jan. 3.
The tank’s interior by Jan. 4 will have cured for the required 20 days and the tank then will be sanitized and filled with water.
Once the water is tested, as required, “then we will be able to turn the water tower on, be able to take our pressure release valves off, and we will go back to normal,” Spuck said.
Spuck said his proposed budget for next year will include money for preventative maintenance of the water tower.