After the Herndon Town Council adopted its Continuity of Government Ordinance on March 24 which allowed it to operate during the state of emergency due to COVID-19 and do so in a streamlined manner, Council could not discuss and act on matters such as zoning, planning, development and the Heritage Preservation Review Board Handbook. That changed at the Tuesday, Sept. 8 Public Meeting. “Now, we find ourselves in a situation where we need to extend the ordinance. The original ordinance provided for six month duration that will pass,” said Lesa Yeatts, Town Attorney, Town of Herndon. “Due to the still continuing nature of COVID-19, it's necessary to amend and reenact our Continuity of Government ordinance to extend its duration to the full extent provided by the Code of Virginia, which is six months beyond the end of the disaster,” she said.
During the Sept. 8 Town Council Public Meeting, the seven members of Council unanimously voted approval to readopt the current Continuity of Government Ordinance that provided all of the items in the original document and its two amendments, thus including all continuity of government provisions in one ordinance. Yeatts said, “It allows for discussion of a broader range of subjects. It allows reinstituting general public comment. It specifies land development approvals are extended during the emergency, and it continues to provide the town manager with the authority to sign legal and negotiable instruments necessary for continuity of governments.”
COUNCILMEMBER Signe Friedrichs said that due to the seriousness of the emergency and the critical nature of the emergency, it was necessary for the council to limit its attention and discussion to critical governmental matters. “A lot of things had not been put forward for council approval...You will have some pretty full agendas, as the council begins to take on these many different types of items again," she said.
Bill Ashton, Town Manager, said, "Next week, we will have something initiating resolution that is directly related to the HPRB (Heritage Preservation Review Board), and we intend to give you a full update about the rewrite at that time. Then we'll probably be in a position to give you the schedule for the completion of the project."
Moving quickly down the Agenda, the Town Council unanimously approved as presented a resolution to establish the Herndon Town Council meeting schedule for Jan. 1 through Dec. 31, 2021. It unanimously approved as listed the Consent agenda: Resolutions 20-G-30 through 20-G-36, to ratify Extensions of Licenses according to Ordinance 20-O-23 thereby extending the outdoor seating licenses to use the public property for temporary outdoor dining through November between the Town and Green Lizard Cycling, Jimmy's Old Town Tavern, Mile 20 at Mediterranean Breeze, Red Kimono LLC, Russia House Restaurant, Sully's Pour House and Zeffirelli Ristorante Italiano. Next, the Town Council approved Resolution 20-G-43 to appoint town resident Meron T. Yohannes to the Herndon Planning Commission for an unexpired term ending September 30, 2022.
Then at 7:22 p.m. until 9:05 p.m., Town Council convened in a closed door session “to consider the disposition of publicly held real estate in the downtown where discussion in an open meeting would adversely affect the bargaining position or negotiation strategy of the public body.” At 9:06 the meeting adjourned.
DISPOSITION of real estate means disposing of a property or selling it. The Town of Herndon owns multiple properties in the downtown including land considered for redevelopment. The Town of Herndon entered into a Comprehensive Agreement with Comstock Herndon Venture, LC on Nov. 1, 2017, nearly three years ago to redevelop 4.675 acres of Town owned land into a mixed use town center through a public-private partnership. According to the Agreement, Comstock would develop and construct on the Property a multi-level retail and residential complex anchored by an arts center owned and operated by Herndon. Other elements of the project included an arts walk and multilevel garage among other things. The sale of the property has yet to occur.
The town website shows a Town Council Work Session on Sept. 15 with the Agenda posted at https://herndon.granicus.com/GeneratedAgendaViewer.php?view_id=2&event_id=3673.