By Randy Arrington
LURAY — The Luray Council had a full plate earlier this month as they worked their way through three proclamations, a half dozen public hearings and 19 votes on a myriad of issues at its April 10 meeting.
Among a trio of proclamations adopted, one recognized staff from the Luray Police Department and the Town’s Parks and Recreation Department for their swift reaction to vandalism and graffiti along the Hawksbill Greenway on March 28.
“This vandalism was extensive and created a blight seen by residents and visitors to Luray,” the proclamation reads. “The Luray Police Department began an extensive investigation into the incident and was able to identify and arrest an individual by the end of March 28th…Officer Dustin Painter, Officer Jay Roy, Detective Sergeant Allen Smoot, Sergeant Nathan Dofflemyer and Lieutenant Lonnie Foster tracked down several leads to identify the suspect.”
The proclamation notes the staff of Parks and Rec “began immediate cleanup of several locations to remove the blight from the most prominent locations along the Greenway’…Logan Atkins worked extensively to remove the graffiti from several sites and Ryan Cubbage coordinated with several artists to schedule repairs of the affected mural…”
“NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Mayor and Members of Town Council of the Town
of Luray hereby express our sincere appreciation and gratitude to the Town staff involved in the
apprehension of the suspect and the repairs to Town infrastructure resulting from the terrible vandalism
incident on March 28, 2023.”
Damian Roberts faces multiple charges of destruction of property at multiple locations, according to a report the LPD issued on its Facebook page.
A second proclamation unanimously adopted by the council showed appreciation for police officers who responded and saved a 21-year-old disabled man with special needs who was entrapped in the mud in a pond on Cave Hill on April 1.
“Officer Brandon Henson, Officer Briana Good, and Sergeant Nathan Dofflemyer immediately and safely
entered the pond to save the individual,” the proclamation reads. “The Mayor and Members of Town Council of the Town of Luray hereby express our sincere appreciation and gratitude to the Town staff involved in the incident that saved the life of a Town resident.”
The officers arrived on the scene within two minutes, according to the proclamation, “assessed the situation and provided lifesaving actions to extricate the individual from the mud…the individual was assessed at the scene by medical professionals and returned home safely.”
A third proclamation recognized the public service of Grace Nowak, who has served on the Luray Planning Commission for the past decade. Nowak, who was first appointed in 2013 by Councilman John Meney, is stepping down from the planning commission. She served six of her 10 years on the commission as vice chairman.
In other appointments, the Luray Council also unanimously approved the nomination of Barbie Stomback to fill the vacancy on the Luray Planning Commission. The appointment runs through Dec. 31, 2024. Stombock retired from the central office of Page County Public Schools several years ago and runs the Virginia Gift Shop and Mama’s Treasures on Main Street.
In other business at its April 10 meeting, the Luray Council also discussed the following issues:
• Unanimously approved “emergency” funding of $10,000 requested by the Luray Parks Association to reinstall electrical service to the Luray Singing Tower. The bell tower suffered electrical problems over the past two months following the construction of the round-a-bout on West Main.
• Unanimously approved a FY22-23 budget amendment to add up to $550,000 in Capital Reserve funding to Capital Improvement Expenditures funding for expenses associated with the Memorial Drive Corridor Improvements project; add up to $370,000 of revenue from Sewer Fund Facility Fees and Proffer Fees from the Luray Landing development to Capital Improvement Expenditures for costs associated with the West Lu Lift Station project. A public hearing preceding the vote drew no speakers.
• Unanimously approved a request from 124 Court St LLC for a Special Use Permit to operate a bed and breakfast at 233 Mimslyn Lane in the medium density residential (R-2) district with conditions noted. A public hearing preceding the vote drew no speakers. The Luray Planning Commission conducted a public hearing at their March 15 meeting and unanimously recommended approval.
• Unanimously approved a request from Larry Weedon for a Special Use Permit to operate a lodging house at 109 High Street in the high density residential (R-3) district with conditions noted. A public hearing preceding the vote drew no speakers. The Luray Planning Commission conducted a public hearing at their March 15 meeting and unanimously recommended approval.
• Unanimously approved a request by Jane Gharfeh for a Special Use Request to operate a lodging house at 262 Allison Drive in the Planned Neighborhodd Development (PND) district in Luray Landing. A public hearing preceding the vote drew no speakers. The Luray Planning Commission conducted a public hearing at their March 15 meeting and unanimously recommended approval.
• Unanimously approved a request by Scenic Serenity LLC for a Special Use Permit to change the use and construct public storage units at 23 Zerkel Street in the Limited Industrial (M-1) district with conditions noted. A public hearing preceding the vote drew no speakers. The Luray Planning Commission conducted a public hearing at their March 15 meeting and unanimously recommended approval.
• Unanimously approved a Code Amendment — Appendix A, Article V, Section 519 – Lodging House Regulations — to establish regulations on the use and operation of all lodging houses operated in the Town. Regulations would be established for the general operation, occupancy limitations, safety regulations, prohibited activities, and enforcement. A public hearing preceding the vote drew no speakers. The Code Amendment took effect upon adoption.
• Unanimously approved the Preliminary and Final Plat application received from Baker Development Partnership LLC for the the subdivision of Parcels 42A8-A-1, 42A8-A-3, 42A8-A-1D, 42A8-A-1E, 42A28-A-2, 42A17-1-121, and 42A17-1-150 into 11 open space lots, one well lot, right-of-way, and easements for the Luray Landing Planned Neighborhood Subdivision. The Luray Planning Commission unanimously recommended approval at its March 15 meeting.
• Unanimously approved the third and final renewal of the Ralph Dean Park Concession Agreement with the Luray Little League to operate facilities at the park for the 2023 season. A Request for Proposals for the 2024 season will include three extensions and be developed later by staff.
• Unanimously approved referring consideration of the Code Amendment (Appendix A, Article V, Section 516 – Accessory Dwelling Units) developed by Councilman Ligon Webb to the Luray Planning Commission.
• Unanimously approved a request from the Chief of Police to authorize the issuance of Town credit cards to the Department Captain Michael Wagoner, Lieutenant Lonnie Foster and Patrol Sergeants Nathan Dofflemyer and William “Nathan” Fadeley. Due to the extent of required training for Officers
and other shift expense issues, the additional credit cards would allow better coverage for training events and should an emergency expense occur during regular shifts.
• Unanimously agreed to set the date of the public hearing on the recommended FY 2023-24 budget for the Town of Luray for its meeting on Monday, May 8.
• Unanimously approved the appropriation of $22,500 of ARPA funds for the placement of infield mix to Fields 1, 2 and 3 at Ralph Dean Park and to replace the Field 4 scoreboard controller. Parks and Rec plans to incorporate field fill into future budgeted activities.
• Approved the appropriation of $29,425 of ARPA funds for the lining of the sewer lateral from the Watch and Warrant restaurant at 2 East Main Street. The motion included awarding the contract to clean the lateral ($4,250) and line up to 150 linear feet ($22,500) from Nova Lining Company, LLC in Springfield, Va. After a lengthy discussion, Councilman Joey Sours voted against the measure, wanting more information. The motion passed 5-1. Staff recommended the work to take away any potential liability on the Town’s end of the line, and to show the Town had done everything it could to remedy the problem on their end. Sewer issues have caused the temporary closure of the popular new restaurant in recent months.
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