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Town looks to entice business and improve park

Posted on Wednesday, October 16, 2013 at 8:00 am

During Warsaw’s recent Oktoberfest dozens of children enjoyed the new town park.

During Warsaw’s recent Oktoberfest dozens of children enjoyed the new town park.

Officials are looking ahead to what they can do next to further enhance the Warsaw Town Park.

On Oct. 10, Mayor Mark Milstead asked council members to come up with ideas during next month’s meeting about additions they would like to see to the park.

“I’d really like to see us have something done by next summer,” said Milstead.

The idea of a pavilion had been pitched at council’s August meeting with the structure potentially being built through a partnership with the Northern Neck Technical Center.

Councilmembers William Washington, Wendi Nesbit and Ogle Forrest have already shown interest in the possibility.

“Trying to incorporate with the tech center and the departments over there is an excellent idea,” Forrest said in August. “It gives them a close project to work on. I think we need to proceed with that and see what we can do.”

Last week, Nesbit said the pavilion “definitely needs to be addressed.”

“It would be a much welcomed addition to the park for what we did this past weekend,” Nesbit said in reference to the first Oktoberfest held in the park on Oct. 5.

Washington agreed.

“The pavilion is great. I love the baby steps the town is taking to add little bits at a time…to give people something to look forward to,” said Washington. “We are contributing to more things to look forward to and that contributes to happiness.”

The park itself continued to draw rave reviews from council.

Councilmember Ralph Self said the park was well used and well received that Saturday, and that the playground was used “quite a bit” during Oktoberfest and the week after that.

“It just seemed like it was a few days ago we were setting up for this park and putting the playground equipment out there,” said Self. “Now we’ve gone from that to a nice big festival over this past weekend…we’ve come a long way this past year.”

Nesbit said she could not “say enough” about the “tremendous turnout” at Oktoberfest as well as the participation of the town, Warsaw Rotary Club and Warsaw-Richmond County Main Street Program in the event.

Forrest said the park has been a “long time coming.”

“All good things are worth waiting for, and we’ve got the beginnings of a great thing,” said Forrest.

In other town business, a shared vision among Warsaw officials and business owners has become a reality.

On Oct. 10, town council rezoned three properties to the new Commercial and Light Industrial (C-3) category.

The C-3 zoning was approved two months ago after the town cited a need for a commercial category that envisioned a mix of limited retail and light industry not encouraged by Warsaw’s other current zoning classifications.

The properties rezoned to C-3 included 39.85 acres owned by Kenneth L. Butzner between the Rte. 3 Bypass and Hamilton Boulevard, property owned by Billy Herbert along Rte. 360 between McDonald’s and the Northern Neck Regional Jail and property owned by Alma Group, LLC on Self Town Road where River Pools and Spas is located.

The parcel owned by Butzner was rezoned from residential (R-1) to C-3. Through an option with Butzner, Northern Neck Electric Cooperative seeks to use the property for expanding its business operations.

During council comments, Warsaw citizen Sarah Becker protested the potential use.

“I’m against Northern Neck Electric developing over there which will change our view of the plantation landscape to that of a shed,” said Becker. “Please do what you can to prevent any such [thing].”

In addition to the rezoning requests, town council granted a conditional use permit to Jason Hughes and James Spiess of River Pools and Spas, allowing them to build swimming pools at their business.

Self said the business according to the Virginia Dept. of Environmental Quality, will now be permitted to produce up to 160 pools a year.

Council also removed sexually oriented businesses as allowable from the limited commercial (C-2) category.

In town business unrelated to the C-3 category, council approved a conditional use permit for George Jenkins, LLC to operate a banquet hall where Lilly’s Diner and Deserts was formerly located on Main Street.

The permit was approved with two conditions recommended by Forrest: the banquet must conform to town ordinances and peace and good behavior must be maintained among customers and clients.

Warsaw Town Council will hold its next regular meeting Thursday, Nov. 14.