We’re at Danville City Hall for tonight’s Danville City Council meeting… and of course, we’re doing it LIVE! Refresh this page often to get the latest happenings, photos and commentary. When we get home tonight, we’ll clean the article up and add bonus photos and commentary.
LIVE! coverage, commentary and photos of tonight’s Danville City Council meeting… only on SouthsideCentral!
Let’s start it off with the city’s description of tonight’s agenda…
Danville City Council will consider Tuesday night accepting a 105.6 acre-gift of property offered by a local family for future recreational use.
Ormond Keister Evans Jr., Judith C. Evans and Bob N. Evans Sr. want to give the city the property, which consists of five tracks (sic) divided by Eagle Springs Road and bordered by U.S. 29. Funding has not been allocated for the development of the park, but the Parks and Recreation Department believes there is value in retaining the property as open space and for future passive recreational use.
A conceptual plan developed by the Parks and Recreation Department in partnership with the Community Design Assistance Center at Virginia Tech includes natural surface trails, an environmental education center, picnic sites and an arboretum. Keister Evans Jr. was involved in the planning process.
In other matters on the agenda, council members will:
» vote on whether to reserve the city’s full bond capacity for issuing debt without a referendum. That amount is $6 million. The vote would not be to issue debt, but only provide the flexibility to issue debt to the full legal limit without referendum if City Council later chooses.
» vote on whether to authorize the issuance of general obligation bonds up to $3.1 million in principal to finance capital projects in this fiscal year. The projects include circuit courtroom renovations, American Legion Field renovations, adult detention facility improvements, River District street improvements, River District video surveillance, public safety radio upgrades, storm water drainage improvements, general street improvements and Northside Riverwalk Trail extension. Council also will vote on whether to refinance up to $5.95 million in bond debt at a lower interest rate.
» vote on whether to allocate $580,000 in state money to install sidewalk, curb and gutter, and drainage improvements to Monument and Lynn streets adjacent to the new Public Safety Center; install left turn lanes on Route 58 West at high traffic volume intersections; and install storm drains on Craghead Street in preparation for streetscape improvements. The city already has set aside local matching funds.
» vote on whether to accept $100,000 from the Virginia Department of Aviation for maintenance at Danville Regional Airport.
» vote on whether to accept a $21,320 grant from Virginia Tech to address childhood obesity through programs in the Parks and Recreation Department.
» hold a public hearing and vote on whether to rezone five lots totaling six acres and issue a special permit to allow for a multi-million dollar expansion of Roman Eagle Rehabilitation and Health Care Center. Roman Eagle wants to build a state-of-the-art rehabilitation and wellness center. The Planning Commission unanimously recommended approval of the request
» hold a public hearing and vote on whether to issue a special use permit to allow for the operation of a veterinary clinic and commercial kennel at 270 Piney Forest Road.
» hold a public hearing and vote on whether to amend the city’s zoning code to create the definition of “Child Therapeutic Day Treatment.” The Planning Commission unanimously recommended approval of the changes.
» hold a first reading on allocating $450,000 to providing funding for a retiree pay bonus. A first reading is required to provide public notification that the matter is being considered. Council must wait until its Sept. 2 meeting at the earliest to vote on appropriating the money.
» hold a first reading on whether to accept a $5,000 grant from the Virginia Commission for the Arts. The grant requires an equal match from the city. A first reading is required to provide public notification that the matter is being considered. Council must wait until its Sept. 2 meeting at the earliest to vote on accepting the money.
» hold a first reading on whether to accept grant funds and contributions totaling $20,000 for implementation of a Danville Art Trail. The Virginia Commission for the Arts would provide $7,500. The Danville Regional Foundation would contribute $7,500, and a the Danville Regional Medical Center would contribute $5,000. A first reading is required to provide public notification that the matter is being considered. Council must wait until its Sept. 2 meeting at the earliest to vote on accepting the money.
» hold a first reading on whether to accept a $49,629 grant for completion of the Riverwalk-Riverside Drive Phase II trail. This phase includes the construction of the bridge abutments and placement of the 115-foot bicycle/pedestrian bridge over Sandy Creek. The additional funding was requested due to an increase in the project cost. A first reading is required to provide public notification that the matter is being considered. Council must wait until its Sept. 2 meeting at the earliest to vote on accepting the money.
These agenda items will be considered during City Council’s business session, which begins at 7 p.m. in the City Council Chambers on the fourth floor of the Municipal Building located at 427 Patton St.
Following the business session, council will reconvene in a work session for less formal discussions. Work sessions are conducted in the fourth floor conference room of the Municipal Building.
In the work session, City Council will discuss whether to declare the former W. Townes Lea Elementary School and the former Glenwood Elementary School as surplus property and proceed with redeveloping and marketing the property. Council would vote on the matter at its Sept. 2 business session.
Council also will hear a presentation from Central Health and Centra Medical Group to build an ambulatory medical center at 414 Park Ave. Reports also will be presented on the comprehensive housing study and implementation of the city employee pay-for-performance system.
River City TV broadcasts all business sessions. Watch them live on Comcast cable channel 10 or streaming at www.rivercitytv.org. Video archives of council business sessions also are available at www.rivercitytv.org. Work sessions are not televised or recorded on video.
Full house tonight as expected.
Laurie Moran makes a presentation on the Business Services program from the Chamber.
Lack of work experience is a problem with potential new hires. Chamber is doing the Young Entrepreneurs Association program with area youth. Laurie answers questions from Council. Public comment section is next. I’ll say it yet again, Laurie & the DPC Chamber are awesome.
Clint Burnett from Orphanage Rd. asks about the historical markers and asks if they can be indexed on the city’s website. Great idea and will be done.
Jeff Smith is here on his application for a new animal hospital and kennel on 270 Piney Forest Road. Lots of people here from Animal Medical Center. No idea if they support or oppose yet.
On to old business. Bond authorization is up, will pass 9-0. Michael Adkins, interim finance director, explains. This allows the city to issue bonds up to the limit, but doesn’t mean that they have to.
Consent agenda for small stuff clears 9-0. On to new business. Roman Eagle proposal is up first. It passes 7-0. Fred Shanks and Sherman Saunders abstain due to conflicts of interest. Gary Miller & Buddy Rawley praise the project.
Jeff Smith starts the public hearing on the proposed rather large. He wants to move his Franklin Turnpike business from Pittsylvania County to expand.
He says he just learned of opposition to the kennel area and proactively offers solutions before the objections are heard. Excellent move. Jeff Smith is an awesome guy and also an awesome veterinarian. This would be a great addition to Danville. He has great plans for the doggy daycare area. Neighbors have complaints about potential barking dogs. Smith is unable to renew his lease at his Mt. Hermon location and is unable to find a place in the county that meets the county’s setback requirements. He’s got great ideas and his veterinary practice would really have a chance to expand. It seems that Council is leaning towards approval from what I feel.
The Pittsylvania County planning commission approved Smith’s proposal unanimously, but the Board of Supervisors rejected it. 11 employees currently at his Mt. Hermon location and it’s a sure bet he’d add jobs once his move is complete,
Surprisingly, opposition is coming from the fire station beside it? Oh come on. That was total horsecrap.
Gloria Heron from S. Woodberry Ave speaks now in opposition. Claiming she can hear Hollywood Pets from a mile away. Horsecrap. I’m detesting her NIMBY attitude. Now she’s talking about krazy konspiracy kookiness with a potential conflict of interest. She says that planning commission member John Laramore shouldn’t be voting , then says that Bruce Wilson shouldn’t vote either because he’s Laramore’s preacher. She then leads to Michael Scearce shouldn’t be on the planning commission because he sells commercial real estate. The mayor shuts that crap down quickly.
Frances MacMillan from the neighborhood speaks now in opposition. More NIMBYism. Says that the vet clinic would be a detriment to the schools. What?!
Animal Medical Center vet Dr. Laura Sobacki speaks now. Speaking about her business’ “Barking Lot” and that dogs will bark. She then talks about how Jeff Smith will lose business from the central part of the county and it will affect her business since they’re with a few miles of each other. I’m wondering why her claws are coming out and then it hits me. She’s Jeff Smith’s ex-wife. Meow! Tough crap, Dr. Laura. It’s not City Council’s business to be concerned about business competition.
More opposition speeches and I’m getting pissed. This is a great idea for a business and it’s being shredded by NIMBYism. Sure, Woodberry Hills is a nice neighborhood but let’s be real. These people’s back property lines face commercial property and Piney Forest Road. This location used to have a big commercial laundry service there with trucks coming in and out. Jeff Smith is going to spend close to a million dollars getting this property used for an excellent purpose. There’s just not going to be enough barking dogs to cause a problem. I’d bet that these residents have a lot of dogs around them owned as residential pets.
I’ve got to get up and speak in favor of Jeff Smith. I’m not going to let these people tear him apart. It wasn’t my best speech, but it was pretty good on the fly.
Sherman Saunders semi-complains about the length of the meeting so far. Fred Shanks suggests tabling this issue so that perhaps something can be worked out. The motion to table passes 5-4. We’ll deal with this later and in bonus coverage. I spoke with Fire Chief David Eagle and he told me that no firefighters expressed any negative comments about the proposed vet clinic. I thought as much
On to retiree bonus issue. Shanks is leaning towards the thoughts of my OpinionCentral against the proposal. Gary Miller and Alonzo Jones support the bonuses. Buddy Rawley against. Vogler defers his opinion. In Gary Miller’s speech, he talks about how the city workers “served” the city. Buddy Rawley calls that out by saying saying “serving” really isn’t the right word. They had a job, the city was their employer, and they employees did their job. We’ll find out the end result on this in two weeks. I will keep the SouthsideCentral pressure on, because I’m solidly against this proposal as written.
We’re probably going to do an BreakDown analysis article on tonight’s meeting with so much happening.
No problems or debate on the other business and the around the horn session is coming up. Multiple comments about the Royal Terrace apartment explosion. Also positive talk about the American Legion Legacy Riders. Larry Campbell talks in favor of Medicaid expansion. John Gilstrap mentions GWHS football’s first game on Friday. Lee Vogler goes all Ken Hildebrandt on us and expresses his support for commercial hemp as a crop.
We’ll close this article out with some bonus photos. More coming up on SouthsideCentral!