Town of Washington a big step closer to keeping its post office

Postal site developer agrees to buy Warren Avenue property from town

Christmas could come early for those in Washington who wish to keep the post office in the county seat, where it’s been for almost 215 years, with the new desired site a short stroll from its existing home at the corner of Main and Middle streets.

The Town Council voted unanimously Monday night to hold a public hearing on its proposed acceptance of a $135,000 contract for purchase of a town-owned parcel of land on Warren Avenue at Leggett Lane, allowing for a specialized developer to construct a post office and lease it to the U.S. Postal Service.

Mayor John Fox Sullivan said Kim Tedrick, of Mid-Atlantic Postal Service, which is in the business of building postal facilities throughout greater Washington D.C., has agreed to buy the Warren Avenue property, at the same time continuing the town’s — and now Tedrick’s — negotiations with the U.S. Postal Service to keep the facility in the bounds of the historic town.

“He [Tedrick] has a lot of experience in putting up — I’m forgetting the number, 25 or 35 post offices in Northern Virginia,” Sullivan said. “He has a good reputation, he knows how government works. He believes we have a very good site. Something that is of importance is the speed in which we can deal with this opportunity.

“There are zoning issues, there are potentially ARB issues, the fact that there is an old building on that property,” Sullivan said.

The council unanimously voted to advertise a public hearing in December to properly zone the .5853-acre parcel for postal use, to be followed by a joint meeting with the planning commision, which could recommend a zoning ordinance or special-use permit to allow for post offices and similar facilities.

Sullivan stressed that the “purchase agreement” with Tedrick is now a public document agreement contingent on his company, Mid-Atlantic Postal Service, consummating a deal with the U.S. Postal Service.

The third action taken by the council involved what might be done with the existing wooden building.

“The council some time ago had this structure evaluated and the opinion of the person evaluating the structure was it could not reasonably be moved and wasn’t a candidate for restoration,” educated Town Attorney John Bennett. “If a party wants to step forward to move it that will be fine.”

The council unanimously agreed to consider contract offers to move the structure, by no later than Feb. 14, 2019.

Sullivan, who after December will have ended his second and final term as mayor, added: “We are are going to move this expeditiously as possible . . . to try and take advantage of what we think is a great opportunity.”

The outgoing mayor said the proposal meets the U.S. Postal Service’s stated needs — a new building, with easy truck access from U.S. 211, “and it is in the town of Washington, it’s not two miles south of here. One might think . . . that it might be a win/win proposition.”

Meanwhile, during public comment, council member-elect Joe Whited suggested that instead of swearing in incoming mayor Fred Catlin at the regular monthly meeting Dec. 10, he and newly elected town treasurer Gail Swift be sworn in the previous day, at the town’s annual potluck Christmas party at Town Hall. Town clerk Laura Dodd mentioned that Circuit Court Clerk Peggy Ralph would have to be in attendance.

To see the ongoing discussions on stub street abandonment, the search for new town office space, and the town’s adoption of a Planned Unit Development (PUD) model for future development, watch the unedited video of the meeting online at rappnews.com/video, or on the newspaper’s YouTube channel at youtube.com/RappNewsPlus. For the meeting agenda and related items, visit washingtonva.gov/government-2.

Luke Christopher
About Luke Christopher 101 Articles
Luke is a "Best of D.C." photographer who has been published, in print, in The Washington Post, The Washington Times and Miami New Times. He started his photography career as a reporter for the University of Maryland's daily newspaper and served as the entertainment editor for "City Living " magazine.

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