Changes will be coming to the turn radius at Mountain Road and Main Street in Halifax thanks to a grant, and Halifax Town Council is hoping the changes will coincide with the renovation of the historic courthouse.
Councilman Bill Confroy told council this news when members met Tuesday in Halifax as he announced the town had procured a $738,925 grant for their Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) six-year improvement plan Smart Scale project at the intersection.
In applying for the grant, the project ranked fourth in the Lynchburg district and 53rd in the state.
As part of the project, the turning ratio will increase the intersection with Main Street and Mountain Road between the historic courthouse square and Halifax County War Memorial as part of the Halifax Downtown Revitalization Master Plan.
“The project will include relocating power lines and overhead lines at the Halifax County War Memorial Square, and although the timeline is pushed out several years, I’m hoping the town and the county can press VDOT to accelerate that project, and it can coincide with the construction of the courthouse,” said Confroy.
In speaking on the Halifax Downtown Streetscape Project, he also said to date the town has secured $365,000 in grant funding and noted the Southside Planning District has put out a request for proposals to secure engineering design services, construction drawings and bid.
That project involves installing decorative street lighting, pedestrian crosswalks, signage, landscaping, traffic light pole replacements and other facilities for the interconnectivity of neighborhoods and commercial areas in addition to highway corridor safety enhancements within the center of the historic county seat.
At the same time, the improvements will effectively address safety, congestion and the preservation of Virginia’s transportation network along Virginia Scenic Byway 360.
Council also set a joint public hearing with the Halifax Planning Commission for 7 p.m. on April 24 to consider a special use permit from Christopher Cole to operate a pest control business from his home at 1076 Mountain Road in Halifax.
They also decided to move their regular monthly meeting and 6:30 work session to April 24 as well. Their work session will begin at 6:30 p.m. followed by the public hearing at 7 p.m., and then they plan to enter into their monthly meeting to take care of any business that needs to be discussed.
This was decided after Town Manager Carl Espy suggested they move their monthly meeting to the same time as the public hearing.
Councilman Jack Dunavant asked if they could just have the public hearing on April 9, the regular scheduled date of their monthly meeting, but Espy said he did not feel that would leave enough time for advertising the date and sending out letters to adjacent neighbors.
He said typically the hearings are held 60 days after making the application. The application was filed on Feb. 15.
Council also did not make any decisions on revisions to Halifax Town Code section “Health and Sanitation” involving invasive species.
The proposed changes to the policy gives the town manager two days “whenever practical” to notify the homeowner of the violation.
The homeowner then has 10 days after receiving the notice to notify the town manager with a remediation plan, according to the proposed changes.
Confroy said he was worried about creating more hardships for individuals who may not be physically able to tend to their yard, and he suggested that 10 days may not be sufficient time to correct the issues.
Councilman Mike Trent pointed out wording that lets individuals off the hook if they did not plant or cultivate the species also is included in the policy’s proposed changes.
“I just want to make sure we’re working with compassion,” said Confroy.
Trent responded saying, “I’m fine with giving the town manager discretion.”
Espy explained usually if a homeowner notifies him to let him know they’re in the process of getting it taken care of, he will work with the person.
Council also heard the monthly police report from Halifax Police Chief Stuart Comer who said there were six felony arrests, seven misdemeanor arrests, one protective order served, 478 calls for service answered, 42 traffic summons issued, two traffic accidents worked and 48 warnings issued during the month of February.
Prior to the meeting, council convened in a work session to hear from the business development, finance and current affairs chairs.
Business Development Chairman Trent reminded council of the spring event at the Halifax Farmers Market from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on April 6 and the Halifax Earth Day activities from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on April 27.
Assistant Town Manager Denise Barksdale said coinciding with the Earth Day activities this year will be a scavenger hunt involving town merchants.
Trent also reminded council of GO Virginia Region 3’s “All hands meeting” set from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on March 27.
During his update, Confroy addressed the condition of the railroad crossing on Main Street that is partially owned by VDOT and partially owned by Norfolk and Southern.
Espy also told council he had been in contact with the Brookneal town manager to see how that town improved its crossing. He was told the town manager would have to get in touch with their public works department and get back to him.
Confroy also reminded council of the Halifax County Improvement Council “Community Clean-up Day” set this Saturday and the “Banister River Flotsam Flotilla” with the Dan River Basin Association planned for April 13.