Town ARB member wanted; another is remembered

In the briefest of monthly sessions on Nov. 9, the Washington Town Council reviewed a special use permit, announced a vacancy on the town’s Architectural Review Board and remembered a former ARB member and town first lady who’d passed away.

Straying from the light agenda early in the meeting, Mayor John Sullivan referred to former longtime Washington resident Eve Willis, who died at her home last month in Sperryville, as “a force to be reckoned with,” as both a member of the town’s first Architectural Review Board and wife of former mayor Stew Willis. He read aloud a tribute from town council member Patrick O’Connell, who was away that night on business for his Inn at Little Washington:

“Eve Willis was one of Washington, Virginia’s most influential first ladies, tastemakers and political operatives,” O’Connell wrote. “She served tirelessly on the Town Council and the Architectural Review Board during an era of great tumultuousness — often finding herself in the middle of a storm. Like her shop in town, she herself was a rare find. No one who met her ever forgot her. She was an indomitable force. Like most legendary personalities, she was larger than life.

“. . . Eve Willis will be greatly missed and forever appreciated for her many contributions. All of us extend our condolences to her husband, Stew, and the rest of her devoted family.”

Sullivan also announced that the town would be seeking a new ARB member to replace Susan Stoltzman, the wife of former council member Dan Spethmann; the couple are spending most of their time working elsewhere, he said (and their home on Mt. Salem Avenue is for sale). Interested candidates, who must be residents of town, are asked to submit letters of interest to town clerk Laura Dodd by Dec. 7.

After a brief discussion, the council agreed to extend for another year the annual review of a special-use permit granted a year ago to the White Moose Inn to house its manager in a building a block away; Sullivan reported that there had been no complaints nor any reported problems with the arrangement.

The council also agreed to retain attorney Robert Mitchell as special counsel. Mitchell successfully defended the town in a recent lawsuit challenging the council’s actions in 2013 to join with the Inn at Little Washington and Trinity Episcopal Church to make improvements around Main and Middle streets. The lawsuit was dismissed in circuit court, but petitioner David Konick has filed an appeal, to the state supreme court, of Judge Jeffrey W. Parker’s ruling that Konick hadn’t the “standing” to pursue the action.