The Front Royal-Warren County Economic Development Authority took action Friday that paves the way for the town and county to sell part of a historic site to a developer for a restaurant.
The EDA Board of Directors voted 4-0 to approve a motion to convey a portion of the property known as McKay Springs to Warren County. Boddie-Noell Enterprises LLC has offered to buy part of the McKay Springs property, owned by the town and the county, at the intersection of Winchester and Reliance roads. Boddie-Noell plans to build a Hardee’s restaurant on the property. The sale does not include part of the historic site that contains the springs or the ruins of the McKay house.
The property lies at the corner of Winchester Road and Reliance Road. The EDA needed to convey its share of the property to the county in order for Front Royal and Warren County to sell a portion of the entire McKay Springs site to a developer. The EDA will receive a portion of the proceeds from any sale of the property, which the authority would use to pay toward the debt on the site. The motion calls for Chairman Jeff Browne and Secretary Greg Harold to sign off on the deed for the EDA’s part of the property.
The board took the action after members discussed the matter in a closed session.
Board member Jim Wolfe pointed out that the sale is a county, not an EDA transaction. Browne further explained that the county originally purchased the portion that the EDA is conveying. The EDA’s action helps to consolidate the parcels in preparation for the sale.
Board of Directors members and other officials attended the meeting via an internet conferencing service. Browne and Directors Greg Harold, Dr. Thomas Patteson and Jim Wolfe attended the meeting. Board members Marjorie “Jorie” Martin and Melissa Gordon did not attend the meeting. Gordon will no longer be a member as of Monday.
EDA Executive Director Douglas Parsons, Administrative Assistant Gretchen Henderson, the authority’s attorney Sharon Pandak, Interim County Administrator Edwin Daley and Front Royal Town Manager Steven Hicks, along with Board of Supervisors members Delores Oates and Walter Mabe also attended the meeting.
Also at the meeting:
• Browne reported that Warren County will be under quarantine because of the presence of the spotted lanternfly - an invasive insect pest native to Asia - known to feed on certain fruits, vegetables and other plants. Businesses in quarantined areas must take an online training class through the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services before applying for a required permit as part of the quarantine requirements.
• Browne reported on the EDA’s revamped website.
• The board convened in a closed session at the beginning of the meeting to discuss a personnel matter and the disposition of EDA property in the Stephens Industrial Park, McKay Springs and 426 Baugh Drive.
• After the closed session, the board voted on a motion to approve Henderson’s salary of $37,000 for fiscal 2020. Browne explained that the board had already agreed to the amount but needed to formalize it for this fiscal year. The county provides funding for the EDA’s operations and the Board of Supervisors would need to approve any changes to the agreed-upon salary, Daley said.
• Parsons reported that the EDA’s proceeds from the sale of the Afton Inn to 2 East Main - $323,179 - will go to pay down the debt on the line of credit the authority has with First Bank and Trust and lower the annual payment and save taxpayers $14,912 per year.