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Votes

Passing Resolutions, Zoning Ordinance

Council members scheduled to hear comments on draft zoning ordinance rewrite project, approve resolutions.

Presenting the Planning Commission approved version of the town's draft zoning ordinance, Kay Robertson, senior planner with the town, updated Town Council members on final changes to the ordinance during a March 21 work session.

"We anticipate with this first cycle there will be some house keeping items or errors," she said of the massive rewrite project. "In anticipation of any little glitches, we anticipate coming back to the council in October to make any necessary changes."

For the past 14 months Planning Commissioners have reviewed the extensive planning and zoning document, updating and clarifying the thousands of amendments that were made — but not updated — in the past 30 years. Nearing it's final review stages, the ordinance will be up for comment during the council's March 28 public hearing.

After hearing public comment, and making recommendations, council members are scheduled to vote on the document. If they feel it is ready to move forward, they will approve the draft ordinance during their March 28 hearing, which would allow it to go into effect July 1, 2006.

During the work session council members debated items they felt should be changed before granting approval. Council member Carol Bruce indicated she would like to see the option to run a bed and breakfast in a residential district removed.

"There are no places in town to accommodate the parking," she said as her reasoning against the possibility.

The only way it could be allowed would be if the owner outsourced the parking to neighboring areas, council member Dennis Husch said.

"I am not willing to accept putting the burden on somebody else," he said about this option.

Council member Ann Null felt the bed and breakfast option should be left in the ordinance because applicants are at times more creative than council members, she said.

"I see many, many potential buildings that could be used as a B&B," Null said. "Just because this council can't see it doesn't mean an applicant can't."

OTHER ITEMS on the agenda for the March 28 public hearing included an ordinance to add a new section to the town code that would allow the town to collect attorney's fees and administrative costs while collecting delinquent taxes and other delinquent accounts.

"This is important because it helps the Town Council's zoning enforcement efforts," town attorney Richard Kaufman said. "It increases effectiveness and meaningfulness of the town's civil penalties for zoning ordinance violations."

Through the proposed ordinance, 20 percent would be added to the delinquent tax or charge being collected.

Main concerns identified with the proposal were to ensure the attorney was not being paid twice, once through the collection and once by the town. Kaufman said he would clarify the payment specifications before the public hearing.

Council was also scheduled to vote on five resolutions. These included awarding a contract to B & B Signal Co. for $291,253 to construct traffic signals at Van Buren and Grove Streets and realign the Washington & Old Dominion Trail; awarding a contract to ACE House Movers for $39,660 to move a yellow house from its existing lot at 719 Elden St. to the northern segment of Pearl Street where the Timber Ridge Subdivision will be built; awarding a contract for the purchase of a portable generator and a generator electrical system.

THE COUNCIL ALSO reviewed a resolution to amend the town's fee policy to accommodate changes in the fees for Parks and Recreation Services.

Art Anselene, director of Parks and Recreation, proposed the changes to offset the increasing costs of operation and to maintain compatibility of fees for services. Because phase four of the Herndon Community Center renovation is scheduled to be complete by the end of this summer, Anselene proposed the fees take effect Sept. 1, 2006, unless otherwise specified.

Changes to policies include:

* Modifying the age policy for seniors to increase the qualifying age from 60 to 65 years, effective July, 1, 2006;

* Eliminate the limited-use and 10-admission passes, effective Aug. 1, 2006;

* Eliminate after school, free, drop-in basketball, to be replaced by an after school teen program with a nominal fee;

* Institute a 30-day pass and six-month pass with fees for non-town residents based upon 90 percent of the Fairfax County Park Authority rate and fees for town residents to include a 30 percent discount off the non-town resident rate;

* Annual and six month passes will include three sessions with a fitness trainer;

* All daily, 25-admission, 30-day, six month and annual passes will include an option to attend basic fitness classes;

* The town resident discount for participation in instructional classes, exclusive of materials and supplies, will increase to 20 percent, effective with fall registration;

* Annual pass holders will receive a 10 percent discount on instructional passes.

All items were scheduled to be heard and voted upon during the council's March 28 public hearing, held after The Connection's deadline. The council is scheduled to meet Tuesday, April 4 at 7:30 p.m. for a work session in the council chambers, 765 Lynn Street.