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Green housing closer to reality in South Boston

A proposed housing project in the Poplar Creek Subdivision using green technology is a step closer to getting the “green light,” the result of a South Boston Town Council vote during Monday’s work session.

Council has set a public hearing for its Dec. 10 meeting to receive comments on a planning commission recommendation to rezone 17 lots (4.29 acres) in the Poplar Creek Subdivision from R-2 Medium Density Residential to R-3 Medium Density Residential.

The lots are owned by the town and are fronted on Poplar Creek Street, Harrell Street and Terry Avenue.

Planners approved a subdivision plat for the project, located across the street from Fairmont Apartments, at its October meeting, Town Manager Ted Daniel told council.

Rezoning the lots to R-3 provides for greater development flexibility by permitting smaller lots, Daniel noted.

R-3 Medium Density lots are required to be not less than 6,000 square feet, compared to R-2 requirements requiring them to be no less than 8,000 square feet in size, and R-3 Medium Density lots are not less than 50 feet in width, compared to not less than 60 feet in width for R-2 Medium Density lots.

One lot is designated as a stormwater management area, while another is designated as open area, Daniel explained.

Construction on two green “eco-mod” houses is set to start in January, the town manager added.

Council has studied a partnership agreement for design and manufacture of affordable, energy-efficient housing systems for the Poplar Creek Subdivision since April 2011.

Several entities are involved in the project, including the town, the University of Virginia, the Innovation Center of Southern Virginia Higher Education Center, Riverstone Energy Center, Cardinal Homes and Southside Outreach Group, Inc. and SIPS of America Inc.

The original concept called for University of Virginia and Southside Outreach to design and build one ecoMOD research prototype multifamily building with two side-by-side, three bedroom town homes separated by a common wall.


Public hearing set for request to close unopened street

Council has set a public hearing for its Dec. 10 meeting to hear public comment on a request from Mae Chiles Reed to close an unopened but dedicated right-of-way designated as Prospect Avenue, north of College Street for a distance of approximately 198 feet.

Reed, the owner of property at 904 College Street, has requested the property be closed and deeded to her at no cost in order for her to build a garage.

Council was reminded the unopened right-of-way extends to the back of the former Washington-Coleman Elementary School property currently undergoing renovation for a community center.

Daniel told council if the town ever needed to build a road to the back of the Washington-Coleman property it would have space to do so even if Reed were deeded the land she requested.

Daniel noted it has been the town’s practice in the past not to deed town-owned land at no cost in similar situations.

Councilman Coleman Speece said he had no problem with selling the land to Reed but couldn’t see why the town should give it away at no cost, particularly if the land had value.

A three-member board of viewers will be appointed at the end of the public hearing to study the issue and recommend to council whether any inconvenience to the public would result from closing the dedicated right-of-way.


Resolution adopted for New Brick development

Council came out of closed session Monday to approve a resolution in support of Rehab Development’s intent to purchase the New Brick Warehouse for development into 22 market-rate loft-type apartments from Destination Downtown South Boston at the appraised fair market value.

The resolution supports the town’s intent to provide a 20-year, zero interest, economic development loan in the amount of $185,000 to Rehab Development in order to assist in the development of the market-rate apartment project.

The resolution authorizes Daniel to direct the transfer of the economic development grant/loan upon a receipt of the recorded deed from Destination Downtown South Boston to Rehab Development and a reimbursement from Destination Downtown South Boston for funding provided in support of Destination Downtown South Boston economic operations for fiscal years 2011-12 and 2012-13 in an amount up to the fair market value of New Brick Warehouse.


Financial report

Town Finance Officer Erle Scott reported general fund revenues of $2,711,916 as of Oct. 31, compared to expenditures of $3,368,086 out of the budget of $11,497,323.

Scott anticipated revenues to match expenditures by the end of the month as more taxes receipts are recorded.

As of Monday, real estate tax collections totaled $269,243 out of a budget of $870,000 and personal property tax collections totaled $154,710 out of a budget of $435,000, Scott reported.

The cash operating general fund had a negative (-) monthly balance of $348,993 and year-to-date balance of $2,247,673.

Selected general fund revenue balances for categorical aid were $575,144, or 21 percent of budget; personal property tax relief $295,432 or 100 percent of budget; local taxes $146,334 or 38 percent of budget; occupancy taxes $50,694 or 41 percent of budget; meals tax $384,028 or 37 percent of budget; and business tax collections $28,567 or six percent of budget.

The delinquent tax report reflected a total of $46,814.09 collected as of Oct. 31 or 36 percent out of a goal of $130,350.