Three bridges on 2014 fix list

Amissville burned-out Lombardy also fixed, at least for now

Rappahannock County is getting in shape for 2014, as the supervisors approved three bridge replacements and wrapped up discussions on a revised county trash ordinance and the old Lombardy restaurant at their meeting Monday afternoon (Jan. 6).

After electing their officers (with no changes from last year), the board heard from Virginia Department of Transportation representative Mark Nesbit and County Administrator John McCarthy, who informed the supervisors that three county bridges — two on Route 622 and one on Fodderstack Road — were scheduled for replacement sometime in 2014, though the exact dates, as McCarthy put it, “are still being refined.”

The first bridge scheduled is one McCarthy said is “pretty far up Harris Hollow” on Route 622. Nesbit said the bridge currently has an efficiency rating of only 53.9, but will be a relatively quick repair and likely only be closed “for about a week.”

The second to-be-replaced bridge on Route 622 is located on Rock Mills Road and crosses over the Covington River, and will be a bit more substantial — requiring it to be closed for one to three weeks. Both replacements are scheduled for the summer, McCarthy noted.

The third and final bridge is on Fodderstack Road, just beyond the Washington town borders. Nesbit said the replacement will likely be the most time-consuming of three, and require residents to take a detour for two to three weeks. Repairs are scheduled for the fall, McCarthy noted, somewhat dismayed, which will also require a bus rerouting if the project isn’t handled over the summer. All three repairs were approved unanimously, 5-0.

One man’s trash . . .

The afternoon meeting also saw the conclusion the supervisors’ ongoing discussion of the old Lombardy restaurant, which burned down to its current half-standing state in 2010. After several complaints, McCarthy had informed property owner Randall Poe back in November that his structure might be in violation of chapter 74 of the county’s ordinance, which covers derelict structures.

Poe told the supervisors that he didn’t want to have to tear the building down if he didn’t have to, and agreed to work with the county and building inspector Richie Burke to properly secure the structure. Monday, McCarthy said Poe had “secured the open areas against the elements” to Burke’s satisfaction.

“It seems your gentle attempt to coerce him was effective,” McCarthy told the supervisors, adding that Poe understood a decision on the final fate of the restaurant would likely have to be made sometime later in the year. The matter was then indefinitely tabled.

Talk then turned to county attorney Peter Luke’s “next draft in the series” of amendments to the county’s trash ordinance, covering solid waste and inoperable vehicles. “Just saying that something ‘doesn’t look nice’ isn’t enough,” Luke stressed. “It has to endanger health and safety.”

“As a practical matter,” McCarthy added, “I don’t foresee that you’ll receive many of these,” referring to junk vehicle or other similar complaints against property owners.

Currently, county property owners are allowed up to two inoperable vehicles on their property, provided they own more than an acre of land. However, after several supervisors suggested In November that the code should account for vehicles kept solely for spare parts, Luke said he’d rewritten it to exempt farm machinery — as long as it’s not visible from the road or a neighboring property and is stored on land zoned for agricultural use. Those two provisions also applied to inoperable vehicles, Luke said.

“I appreciate the fact that you heard our concerns and addressed them precisely and thoroughly,” said Stonewall-Hawthorne supervisor Chris Parrish.

Luke said that once a violation occurs, property owners have 30 days to correct the problem; afterwards, it comes before the supervisors for a majority vote. If a consensus is reached, the vehicle will be towed away at the property owner’s expense. A public hearing on the provision will be held at the supervisors’ February or March meeting.