Danville City Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to approve a developer’s proposal to build a mix of multi-family residential units, townhouses and single-family houses on Stewart Street, which connects to West Main Street near the Central Boulevard interchange.
Keith Walden of CWC Holdings needed the property rezoned and a wavier on minimum lot sizes in order to move forward with construction. He removed blighted structures on the street. In their place, he plans to build 24 multi-family units, with the remainder of the land set aside for townhouses and single-family houses. He also would create a cul-de-sac, closing Stewart Street at Watson Avenue.
The project drew heavy opposition from neighboring residents when first brought before Council in December. Following nearly 90 minutes of debate and listening to the concerns of many citizens, Council that night asked for further review of the project -- and urged Walden and citizens to find areas of compromise regarding the layout of the development and the buffer areas.
Modifications made since December appear to have satisfied many concerns. One citizen expressed continued opposition last night.
At last night’s business session, council also:
• rezoned property adjacent to the offices of Faces of Our Children on Arnett Boulevard to allow the owner to consolidate all of the properties as one parcel.
• accepted a $25,000 grant from the Danville Regional Foundation to hire an author and illustrator to write a children’s book about the Dan River. Called the “Dannie Project,” the 36-page book -- complete with illustrations – would expose third and fourth graders in Danville Public School System to the history, ecology and geography of the river through the odyssey of Dannie, a river otter. The project would be designed as a teaching tool with specific relation to Standards of Learning in science, math, history and English. A teacher’s guide would be provided along with the picture book for classroom implementation.
• accepted a $100,000 grant from the Danville Regional Foundation for the city’s China strategy project, which is an economic development initiative to recruit Chinese companies to this region.
• transferred $1.5 million from fund balance to make payments to the Tobacco Commission for non-performing grants to GOK, U.S. Green Energy, Web Parts and Macerata Wheels. Council previously had agreed to make payment in installments to the Tobacco Commission for GOK, U.S. Green Energy and Web Parts. The transfer of money will allow the city to make the next installment payments due. For Macerata Wheels, authorized repayment in full of the $600,000 grant to the company.
• agreed to accept moral obligation to cover a $6.44 million loan from American National Bank & Trust Co. to provide cash for modifications at the facility leased by Telvista. The loan is a refinance package that will pay remaining indebtedness on the first mortgage and provide $1.35 million for building modifications needed to accommodate a new call center client, creating 300 additional jobs. Telvista is located at 119 Cane Creek Blvd. in Airside Industrial Park on South Boston Road.
Following the business session, Council reconvened in a work session to review non-routine matters that may be voted upon in future business meetings. Last night, Council was presented with an overview of the city employees’ retirement system and how it compares to the Virginia Retirement System.
Also in the work session, Council continued its department-by-department review of the working draft of a budget submitted earlier this month by City Manager Joe King. The departments reviewed last night included the city attorney’s office, human resources and economic development.
Last week, Council reviewed departmental budgets for community development, transportation, information technology, finance and city manager. The remaining departmental budgets are scheduled for review on March 24 and March 31.
Under the working draft as submitted by King, municipal services and programs will remain at current levels with no increases in real estate, meals and lodging taxes.
The budget draft includes a utility rate study recommendation for an average 3.5 percent increase in wastewater rates. The bill for the typical residential customer would increase by $1.85 a month. No increases for electricity, gas and water are included in the budget draft.
The working draft of the city’s budget is for the next fiscal year, which begins July 1.
River City TV broadcasts all business sessions. Watch them live on Comcast cable channel 10 or streaming at www.rivercitytv.org. Video archives of council business sessions also are available at www.rivercitytv.org. Work sessions are not televised or recorded on video, but they are open to the public.