The Front Royal Town Council approved on Monday an exception to development rules for the mayor’s construction project.

Chris Holloway Construction — Mayor Chris W. Holloway’s company — requested a special exception from the subdivision regulations to build a new private street not dedicated to the town.

Vice Mayor Lori A. Cockrell and council members Gary L. Gillispie, E. Scott Lloyd, Joseph E. McFadden and Letasha T. Thompson voted in favor of a motion to grant the special exception. Holloway did not attend the meeting.

Holloway Construction must commit to following certain conditions as required by the town when the firm builds the street.

Thompson said she grew up in the area of the housing project and, prior to the work underway by Holloway, the land appeared to serve as a site for illegal dumping. Thompson also said the town needs more housing.

“I just wanted to say that this is a great improvement to the neighborhood,” Thompson said.

The town requires the exception in order to provide access to parcels in the Steele subdivision, north of the intersection of Beeden Lane and Carter Street. The town requires a private street as a result of the vacation of Carter Street and Holloway’s desire to name the proposed route “Ryder Benson” Lane or Court. Town Code requires that council approve street names and that new streets bear the name of the existing street.

Local developer William Barnett spoke at the public hearing in support of the request for the special exception. Barnett said the proposed road would help improve transportation in the area. Joe Brogan, with Brogan Land Surveying, also spoke in favor of the request. Brogan is the surveyor for the construction company for the proposed project.

The lots were created in 1981 and they fronted Carter Street, then an unimproved road, Brogan said. Town Council previously vacated a portion of Carter Street — one step necessary for the development of the lots, Brogan said. That created a dead end for Scott Street, he said. The addition of a private road as proposed would make Scott Street a through street, Brogan said. Then the town administration approved the subdivision of the lots on the private street, which was then recorded. A construction plot plan was approved. Holloway then started construction on the housing project, Brogan said. Holloway stopped construction when it appeared the process was “out of step,” Brogan said. Town officials determined that Holloway should have obtained the exception before subdividing the lots, Brogan said.

The Planning Commission held a public hearing on the exception at its Sept. 15 meeting and voted in favor of a motion to recommend that council members deny the application. The commission based its recommendation on several reasons: a lack of a turnaround for emergency vehicles; lack of explanation for a proposed street width of 20 feet instead of 40 feet as required by the town code; lack of road construction plans to see how it ties in with existing public streets; and the applicant not providing private deed restrictions and a road maintenance agreement.

Planning Department staff recommended that the applicant: Receive approval of the private drive prior to the approval of the subdivision so that lots face the road; provides road construction plans as part of the new subdivision plan; decides the exact name of the street as “Ryder Benson” lane or court; provides staff with a copy of the road maintenance agreement and private deed restrictions required to be disclosed to the property buyers prior to the issuance of a final compliance certificate.

Also at the meeting, council members voted to:

• Approve a special exception for Poe’s River Edge LLC for a new private street, as required before the approval of a minor subdivision proposed at the western end of Kendrick Lane, past the railroad trestle, between the South Fork of Shenandoah River to the west and the Norfolk Southern Railroad to the east. The proposed lot does not satisfy the requirement that lots must abut a public street. The Planning Commission recommended that council approve the exception and the private street contingent upon the applicant increasing the existing, variable width and the 40-foot right-of-way to a 55-foot right-of-way and extending along the eastern property line. The applicant must also provide a turnaround for emergency-response vehicles and submit a master development plan if they further subdivide the parcel. Barnett also spoke at the public hearing on the request.

• Approve a special-use permit application submitted by Allen Walters to build a new, single-family dwelling on a lot zoned for residential use that does not conform to town regulations. The lot located north of E. 13th Street, between 1320 and 1328 Warren Ave., has a width of less than 80% of the minimum as required by the town. Council members approved Walters’ request contingent upon: the house plan being modified, provided that the finished floor area not be reduced to less that 1,234 square feet; the facade and main entrance of the dwelling front Warren Avenue. No one spoke at the public hearing on the request.

• Approved changes to the Town Code to remove the fees and charges for installation of poles for dusk-to-dawn lights. The action phases out the light program. The lights would remain on their property until the town receives a request to remove them. No one spoke at the public hearing on the changes.

• Approve the Special Events Policy and Procedures, effective Nov. 1, 2021.

• Approve a proclamation proclaiming Oct. 3-9 as Public Power Week in Front Royal.

• Approve an amendment to the fiscal 2022 budget in the amount of $4,000 from the Virginia Risk Sharing Association grant program to buy a cybersecurity vulnerability platform.

• Approve a budget amendment in the amount of $26,178 from the Division of Motor Vehicles Highway Safety Grant for Speed and Alcohol Enforcement to buy a breath-test device, a stalker speed sign and dual-radar unit, and to pay for patrol overtime. Council’s action also directs the town manager to execute the grant agreements.

• Reimburse the Habitat for Humanity of Warren County $9,993 for water and sewer tap fees the organization paid for new construction at 219 Orchard St., in Hoffman Heights. The action also calls for the town attorney’s office to execute an agreement with the property owners to place a lien on the property in the amount of $9,993.

• Approve cooperative contracts with CTI District Services for building-plan review, on-site building inspection and fire-protection review services; and with ECS Mid-Atlantic LLC for building plan review and on-site building inspection services using the Falls Church cooperative contract. The action also calls for the town manager to execute all contracts associated with these professional services.

The council also met in closed session to discuss a personnel matter.

– Contact Alex Bridges at abridges@nvdaily.com