County OKs bid for next phase of trail

FRONT ROYAL – Warren County leaders took another step toward building a massive trail system around the community.

The Board of Supervisors voted 5-0 on Tuesday to accept a bid of $377,447 to build the third phase of the Eastham Park Trail and award the contract to Kickin Asphalt Paving and Sealing. The county has used grant money to cover most of the cost of the trail so far but has had to provide a match for those funds. The county will be paying one-third of the project’s cost.

The third phase as designed continues the trail from Skyline Vista Drive, near Skyline High School, to its intersection at U.S. 340, Grants and Special Projects Coordinator Brandy Rosser told the board. The phase also allows users to cross into Shenandoah National Park. The design includes pedestrian traffic signals for users. The National Park Service has agreed to connect the phase to the Dickey Ridge Trail and Skyline Drive. The phase includes a sidewalk from the west side of U.S. 340 to the intersection near 7-Eleven and a pedestrian traffic signal.

Supervisor Archie Fox said he supported the project. But Fox added that he has concerns about the county spending more money while facing increased needs for school buildings and other large-scale projects. Supervisor Tony Carter said all board members are concerned but noted that this project is a one-time expense. Carter acknowledged the county faces a difficult budget year.

The county has funds in the budget for the project. The county also can use money from the special projects line item to cover the local match, Rosser explained. State and federal money covers 80 percent of the cost of a majority of the projects like the trail, Rosser said.

The county held onto the money for the trail project for about three years and the second phase posed some environmental concerns, Rosser said. The cost of Phase II came in over budget so the county used money from Phase III to cover the added expense. The county also applied for additional funding through the Virginia Department of Transportation. The entire trail project has been in the works since 2009.

Also at the meeting, the board:
• Adopted a resolution opposing the creation of a connector route between Shenandoah Road and Morgan Ford Road. The resolution urges future boards not to consider the road. The 2035 Front Royal Area Transportation Plan shows a connector that would provide an alternate route for traffic in the Shenandoah Shores area. The board has received concerns from a property owner along proposed route who opposes the concept, according to the resolution.

• Approved a request by Mike and Pat Manuel for a conditional-use permit to operate a motor freight terminal and trucking company at 280 Kelley Drive. No one spoke at a public hearing on the request. The applicants have since withdrawn a separate request for a permit to operate commercial repair garage.

The Manuels lease space for their trucking business that employs 19 people. The applicants recently moved into the space and county officials advised them of the need to obtain a permit, said Planning Director Taryn Logan. The applicant has said that no fuel for the vehicles will be stored on site.

• Approved a request by Brian J. Guilfoy for a conditional-use permit to operate an office, maintenance yard and building in a residential subdivision when owned and operated by the homeowners’ association and when used by the association or by residents. Guilfoy, the association president, spoke to the board and responded to questions about the request. The 2-acre property at Big Oak Drive and Gussin Way in the Loch Linden subdivision is zoned for agricultural use.

The association is seeking to construct a 30-foot by 30-foot, metal shed for storing equipment. The county will include a condition with the permit to limit how much fuel or oil can be stored on site and to require the installation of a grounding rod.

During the public hearing, Loch Linden resident Tracey Teague voiced concern that the shed would block her view of the lake and the structure would lie close to an area where children play. Concerns also were raised about the structure being used as a workshop so a condition was added to limit such activity in the building to association members. Chairman Richard Traczyk urged county officials to make sure safety precautions are taken with regard to this proposal.

• Approved a revision to the implementation schedule of the 2013 Comprehensive Plan. No one spoke during the public hearing on the matter.

• Voted to table proposed changes to the county code pertaining to charging peddlers that sell goods at a festival or event.

• Approved changes to the county code section that defines farm winery and includes regulations for such a use.

Contact staff writer Alex Bridges at 540-465-5137 ext. 125, or abridges@nvdaily.com