Strasburg Town Council hears input from the public

STRASBURG — The Strasburg Town Council heard concerns and issues from citizens at its second town council public forum Monday evening.

Held on the fifth Monday of a month, the public forum is an opportunity for the town’s residents to raise issues and concerns to council and for council to answer any questions the residents may have, Strasburg Mayor Tim Taylor said. Town staff would follow up any questions that could not be answered at the time shortly, Taylor said.

Staten Strother, of King Street, said the he was happy with the town’s clean-up efforts during the winter and asked council to consider a “manager of people” when selecting the new town manager. However, he did express concern about what the Brill Building would be used for.

“Now, if you will look back in the minutes from the meeting we acquired the Brill property, we were going to put a bridge back there and park the police cars, we were actually contemplating a police station,” he said.

“Then somebody came up and said the EPA wouldn’t allow it and if you moved the buildings back then VDOT wouldn’t give you access to Route 11,” he said. “Now we’ve been bediddling with this for years.”

Strother said the building has fallen into disrepair, citing missing windowpanes and roofing material.

“We’re just waiting for an accident to happen,” he said. “We’re not ostriches that put our heads into the sand … we know about these things, but nothing gets done … the wind has taken off a two-foot section of the roof. As a home owner, I’d have to fix it right away because if I don’t you all would put a citation on me.”

Strother said if the town has an ordinance book “3/4 to half an inch”, of “dos and don’ts” it needs to apply the ordinances not just to the residents, but the town as well.

Taylor said the council did approve a grant recently that would address the Brill Building.

“We wish it could’ve been done sooner, but something will be done,” he said.

Strother replied, “Those regulations you have don’t give me that luxury … there’s a time frame that says there’s a time frame. Now, I cannot wait on a supposed grant. I wish you got it … all I’m saying is, we’ve piddled and diddled with this for six years and we’re worse then when we started? At least the roof was on before the last wind.”

Jay McKinley, interim town manager, said he was not aware of the roof situation or if the buildings on the property were taking water. However, he said he would look into it.
Kim Bishop, of Crystal Lane, said she agreed with Strother.

“There’s one rule for the town and one rule for the people and the businesses,” she said. “We have to come up with the money to fix up our things … we don’t get to get a grant … I know you don’t take it lightly, but it’s all about perception,” she said.

Bishop added, “The way most of the citizens and businesses see it, there’s one rule for us and one rule for the town. There’s all these exemptions for the town, but none for us.”

Also brought up at the meeting:

• Pete Servile, of Stony Park Way, said he wanted to thank the town for its job removing the snow and sweeping the streets Monday.

• Barbara Clint, of King Street, asked if it would be cheaper to lay down a sidewalk for the Gateway Park project, which would connect the town to the Food Lion on Route 11. Council replied that it’s too steep by VDOT regulations, while McKinley said laying down asphalt would be cheaper.

• Kim Bishop, of Crystal Lane, said she was concerned about the proposed park behind the Brill Building lacking trees. Taylor said one of the concerns was the small space behind the building, which a tree would take up. He also said there was talk about bordering the park with trees.

• Elaine Forte, of the Restore Hope House Food Pantry, said she was “frustrated” by sign ordinances in the historical district, which call for window signs to only take up 20 percent of the window. She said the window at the pantry was too big and the sign would not be aesthetically pleasing. Taylor said she could take the concern before the architectural review committee and the town would work with her.

Contact staff writer Henry Culvyhouse at 540-465-5137 ext. 184, or hculvyhouse@nvdaily.com