Purcellville Council Readies for Sale, Lease of Town Properties

During a marathon Dec. 13 meeting that stretched past midnight, the Purcellville Town Council closed out its business for the year.

Among the 14 items on the agenda were several that dealt with town-owned properties.

The council unanimously approved a special use permit to allow transitional housing at the town-owned home at 781 S. 20th St. The property has been leased for nine years by Good Shepherd Alliance for its Mary’s House of Hope that provides temporary housing for women and children. The action clears the way for the Good Shepherd Alliance to close on the purchase of the property by the end of the month. The town is selling the property for $300,000; the property is assessed at $344,000.

The town’s former maintenance facility also is getting new life. The council unanimously approved a special use permit to allow a makerspace operation as a permitted use in the town-owned buildings at 785 and 787 S. 20th Street.  The town has been in negotiation with Makersmiths over a proposed four-year, 11-month lease for the property.  Makersmiths is a nonprofit that provides users with tools and gadgets, from 3D printers to laser cutters—even down to simple craft materials like paper and glue—to encourage creation and innovation.

The draft lease envisions a payment of $250 a month for the first year; $1,250 a month in year two; $2,250 a month in years three through five, for a total rent of $99,000. Makersmiths would pay for utilities and maintain the structure and make at least $25,000 capital investment in the property annually. The town hopes to sign the lease in January.

The town’s Parks and Recreation Committee also got approval to push ahead with its exploration of building a “pump track”-style bicycle park on the water treatment plant property along South 20th Street. According to the staff report, a pump track is a small track using as little as 300 square feet of land and is a looping trail system of berms and “rollers” for bicycling without the rider pedaling. The name comes from the pumping motion used by the cyclist’s upper and lower body as they ride. Such a project could cost as little as $5,000 and as much as $149,000, according to materials provided to the council.

The future of Fireman’s Field is still uncertain, although the council approved a motion to extend the lease with the county for one more year through the end of 2017 while the Town Council explores options to generate more revenue from the property.

The council deadlocked on an early morning 3-3 tie vote on a motion to authorize staff to continue recruiting a paralegal position to assist the town attorney that had been authorized in the spring as part of the adopted fiscal year 2017 budget. Only six members of council were present at the time.

Town Manager Rob Lohr will give the council a full report on staffing needs and recruitment status at its Jan. 10 meeting.

Among other actions on the night’s long agenda, the council deferred until January Patricia DiPalma-Kipfer’s request for a town-initiated rezoning and comprehensive plan amendment to permit mixed commercial development on her property next to Catoctin Corner at the east end of town; voted to not proceed with any requests for non-potable water connections pending discussions with its utility rate consultant; and formally established the Purcellville Arts Council as a permanent town committee.

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