Courthouse

Halifax Town Manager Carl Espy doesn’t anticipate any delays in a zoning application for a building permit for the commonwealth’s attorney’s office addition to the county’s existing permit for the county courthouse project. The zoning application is for the demolition of the existing commonwealth’s attorney’s building at 6 South Main Street having a 2,800 square foot footprint and the construction of a new wing on the courthouse having a 3,000 square foot footprint, which changes the address to 8 South Main Street.

Halifax Town Manager Carl Espy doesn’t anticipate any delays in a zoning application for a building permit for the commonwealth’s attorney’s office addition to the county’s existing permit for the county courthouse project.

He told Interim County Administrator Dan Sleeper this when Sleeper presented an update on the courthouse to council Tuesday evening.

The zoning application is for the demolition of the existing commonwealth’s attorney’s building at 6 South Main Street having a 2,800 square foot footprint and the construction of a new wing on the courthouse having a 3,000 square foot footprint, which changes the address to 8 South Main Street.

In his update, Sleeper reviewed the five options Halifax County Board of Supervisors mulled over before deciding to go with the three-story update totaling $2,650,381.

“All the courthouses I’ve done, the commonwealth’s attorney’s office has always been a part of the courthouse, because they’re an officer of the court,” said Sleeper.

He also discussed issues they ran into in the 1960 annex that did not have the lateral support needed, and he said the county decided the best thing to do is take it down and put up a steel structure.

In his update, he also reviewed project costs and architectural drawings.

Following his update, Councilman Jack Dunavant called Sleeper a “breath of fresh air” as he thanked him for his update, but he voiced concern over parking in the town of Halifax.

Current plans call for four handicap parking spaces on Edmunds Boulevard.

“Those are taking up valuable parking spaces for our realtors,” said Dunavant.

Espy reminded Dunavant there were originally six proposed.

Dunavant suggested moving them closer to Mountain Road, but the county building official said other areas had been looked at for the parking spaces. However, the grade in all of those areas exceeded what is required to be ADA accessible.

The council member also suggested if trees are replanted, it should be some sort of dwarf tree or Japanese maple to be used.

Sleeper told Dunavant, “The main issue is to open it up and have the courthouse stands out.”

“It’s refreshing to have you back. You know what you’re doing...It’s been great working with you,” said Dunavant.

Sleeper responded saying, “I ran into all kind of personalities. I told the judge, listen I came here to build you a building. I don’t care who likes it or dislikes it. It has to have a function. It’s a courthouse. It needs certain things. Personalities are going to have to sit down. You may lose this space, but it has to have a function. We’re doing it this time, and it looks a whole lot better than we had in the beginning. I think you’re going to have a really nice courthouse.”

Police Chief Stuart Comer also presented the monthly police report to council saying there were two misdemeanor arrests, one protective order served, 417 calls for service, 94 traffic summons issues, one traffic accident and 79 warnings issued during the month of November.

He also told council of Officer M. W. Bowen’s recent achievement of winning the Officer of the Year Award voted on by his fellow officers. Bowen also won a DUI award in September and a national seatbelt award last year.

Council also tabled a National School Choice Week Proclamation recognizing Jan. 20-26 as National School Choice Week.

According to the proclamation, National School Choice Week is to raise awareness of the public and nonpublic K-12 education options available to children.

Prior to the meeting, chairs of the business development, finance and current affairs committees updated council on recently held activities as well as those scheduled throughout the month of December.

Business Development Chair Mike Trent and Assistant Town Manager Denise Barksdale reminded council of the Halifax Farmers Market holiday hours set for Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m.

Barksdale said the market will close on Dec. 22 and will reopen mid-January.

Trent also updated council on Small Business Saturday and the Holiday Open House as well as the Children’s Christmas Parade.

While the wet weather put a damper on Small Business Saturday, he said the open house had a “much better turnout.”

He also updated council on the Virginia Main Street Approach and said that Town Manager Carl Espy had reached out to Sandra Turner of the Virginia Tourism about visiting the town to give input on how to market the town.

Finance Chair Bill Covington presented the November finance report, the status of the 2018 personal property tax notices and tax deadline, and he told council the Creedle Jones & Alga, PC annual audit and June 2018 financial statement would be distributed to council over the holiday.

Current Affairs Chair Bill Confroy outlined the status of the VDOT Six-Year Improvement Plan Smart Scale application for highway safety improvements, derelict/nuisance properties and maintenance code enforcement and planning commission’s recommendation on the ordinance amendment for invasive plant species and the National School Week Proclamation request.

As far as the ordinance regarding invasive plant species, Trent said he, Dunavant and Espy had met and were working on changes to the ordinance to bring to council in January.

Ashley Hodge reports for The Gazette-Virginian. Contact her at ahodge@gazettevirginian.com

Ashley Hodge is a staff writer for The Gazette-Virginian. Contact her at ahodge@gazettevirginian.com