By Alex Bridges
Front Royal leaders cleared another hurdle this week to let the town move forward on plans for a new police headquarters.
Town Council voted Monday to authorize Mayor Timothy Darr and other officials to execute documents that modify restrictive covenants connected with the former Avtex property, including the site of the new police department facility.
Town Manager Steve Burke said Wednesday the Environmental Protection Agency contacted Assistant Town Attorney George Sonnett last week advising him that Front Royal officials needed to execute the documents. Council’s action not only helps the town move forward on the police headquarters project but also to facilitate the eventual release of the entire Avtex site by the EPA to the Economic Development Authority.
“We have purchased the property,” Burke said. “However, it is still encumbered by the environmental document on the entire Avtex site.”
Front Royal bought 5.2 acres of the Avtex site from the Economic Development Authority in May for a police headquarters. The land lies along Kendrick Lane between Monroe and Adams avenues. Council took steps in late September 2013 to buy the land for $36,680 using funds accumulated from real estate taxes dedicated to a facilities study for the new headquarters.
The town could start advertising for architectural services for the project in the next week or two, Burke said.
In order to build a police headquarters on the property, the town needed some changes made to the covenants, most significantly to allow overnight accommodations at the facility in the event of an emergency, Napier explained to council.
The new list of covenants would still prohibit uses such as hotels, motels, hospitals, bed-and-breakfasts and other overnight accommodations.
Napier added that when the town acquired the deed to the property, officials had the other stakeholders sign documents recorded with the transfer that permit overnight accommodations for a police station.
The Warren County Board of Supervisors took similar action last week related to modified covenants for the Soccerplex property. The county sought to change and expand the list of allowable uses for the Soccerplex site.
Eventually, the existing conservation and environmental protection easement document will be terminated. A set of five environmental covenants will take its place.
The EPA still must issue a letter of no further interest to release the entire Avtex site to the Economic Development Authority and other stakeholders before further development can occur.
Contact staff writer Alex Bridges at 540-465-5137 ext. 125, or firstname.lastname@example.org