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Votes

Elkins Heights Subdivision Approved

After months of debate, numerous deferrals and endless discussion at Town Council work sessions and public hearings, council members approved, 6-1, with Council Member Dennis Husch opposing, a preliminary subdivision site plan for Elkins Heights.

First presented at the planning commission level in August, applicant Edgemoore Land LLC and developer Paciulli Simmons & Associates, proposed for the zoned R-10, residential area, to be developed from three lots on the 400 block of Madison Street into 15 lots, with one lot to remain undeveloped until further notice.

Since then the preliminary plans have not only undergone revisions — requesting more detail — but have also altered the way the Town of Herndon views its storm-water management plans.

"I am pleased to see how far we've come with this application," said Council Member Carol Bruce, who recently questioned her support of the development. "We've worked out a lot of issues."

DURING INITIAL WORK session discussions, Bruce supported the subdivision because of its suggested use of rain gardens as storm-water management.

As the first time in council's recollection that rain gardens — small landscaped areas to filter excess water from developed property — had been presented for use in town, council members had numerous questions.

In addition to engineering questions — referring to soil mixtures and the possibilities of under drains — the council had to revisit and amend current storm-water management practices.

Because there was no wording to protect the town from rain garden neglect on personal property, the town attorney worked with staff to create three ordinances.

The ordinances included whether or not rain gardens could be used in town, who was responsible for their maintenance — the town or property owner — and if a $250 installation fee per rain garden should be implemented.

During an almost four-hour public hearing Jan. 25, Council Members Dennis Husch, Steven Mitchell and Ann Null expressed their opposition to the ordinances, saying information was still lacking on the long-term feasibility of rain gardens in Herndon.

Although those ordinances were passed Jan. 25, additional questions arose with the subdivision — including at least one reason why Bruce became reluctant to support the development.

Because one of the 16 lots was going to remain undeveloped for the construction of a proposed cul-de-sac — in anticipation of further development — the developer wanted to maintain the lot.

The undeveloped lot is where the developer lost Bruce's support.

Because it was unclear whether or not the developer would in fact maintain the empty lot, Bruce said she was not comfortable supporting the plan.

At its Feb. 8 hearing, council was presented with 11th-hour submittals of new plan proposals — including the development of a house on the would-be-empty lot in question — which resulted in the council's deferral until its Feb. 22 hearing.

The new proposal showed not only alterations to the rain gardens to ensure proper filtration, but also a change to the cul-de-sac design.

Now a "Y" design has been proposed, that will serve the same purpose as the cul-de-sac, but will allow more space to be developed on the lot in question.

"I think we have come a long way," said Mitchell about the newest plan, adding he felt his previous engineering questions had been adequately answered. "This has definitely been a learning experience."

<sh>Accreditation Presented to Police Department

<bt>Herndon Police Chief Toussaint Summers Jr. and Sgt. Jerry Keys accepted an accreditation plaque on behalf of the Herndon Police Department during the Feb. 22 Town Council public hearing.

Sylvester Daughtry Jr., executive director, the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agency (CALEA), presented the accreditation plaque.

Praising Herndon's long-time standing with CALEA, Daughtry explained the lengthy accreditation process.

With more than 365 standards to adhere to year-round in order to receive the elite affiliation, Daughtry said only 688 police departments in the United States meet the strict criteria.

Although selected members visited the police station toward the end of summer, the evaluation process after the visit took time before the plaque was awarded.

The 21-member commission, comprised of law enforcement officials from across the country and one member from Canada, reviewed the department's on-site evaluation, in addition to information submitted by Keys, accreditation manager, at a meeting in Texas.

Daughtry said after reviewing everything, the commission was impressed with Herndon's department.

"You indeed should be very proud in your Herndon Police Department," he said. "They are a unique group, for 19 years, to be consistent with international standards created for law office agencies by some of the greatest minds."

<sh>Rotary Celebrates 100 Years

<bt>Herndon's Rotary Club was presented with a resolution celebrating the 100th year anniversary of Rotary International.

Council Member Harlon Reece read the resolution, which stated Herndon's Rotary was chartered as a member of Rotary International on June 8, 1939.

A banquet to celebrate the anniversary was scheduled for Wednesday, evening Feb. 23.

<1b>— Brynn Grimley