Northern Virginia Daily

Article date:  August 14, 2012



By Alex Bridges

FRONT ROYAL A federally mandated connection from Kendrick Lane to Kerfoot Avenue nearly hit a road bump.

Front Royal Town Council on Monday debated whether to approve a resolution of support for a road between the two routes through the former Avtex site or to send the matter to the Planning Commission to work on the connection's design. The Environmental Protection Agency requires the connector road as a part of an agreement to release the superfund site to the town, according to information provided by the town. The EPA requested that the road be temporary until the agency issues a complete clearance of the site.

In the end, council voted 4-2 to approve the resolution and send the matter of designing the road to the commission. The motion also directs town staff to work with a consultant to conduct a traffic safety study on the connector and its relation to the Kerfoot Avenue corridor. Councilmen Daryl L. Funk and Thomas H. Sayre voted against the motion.

Council previously voted down a motion 4-3 made by Funk to refer the resolution itself to the commission. His motion also included language related to the study and urged that the commission include the road in its discussions about the town's capital improvement plan. Mayor Timothy W. Darr cast the tie-breaking vote against Funk's motion, which had been supported by Councilmen Thomas H. Sayre and Eugene W. Tewalt. Darr expressed that he supports the creation of the road but not sending the resolution to the commission. Vice Mayor N. Shae Parker and councilmen Bret W. Hrbek and Hollis Tharpe voted against the motion.

Residents should have a chance to give the town input on the connector, Funk said in support of his motion. After the meeting Town Manager Steven Burke told Funk it was likely that the town would hold a public information meeting to collect input for the road's eventual design. Funk noted that the resolution is a step in the inevitable release of the process but said Jennifer McDonald, executive director of the Warren County-Front Royal Economic Development Authority, indicated to him that referring the resolution to the planning commission would not delay the eventual release of the site.

"The EPA could release the property tomorrow, irregardless of moving forward with this part of it," Funk said.

Hrbek and Parker said the town needs to approve the resolution, which declares only the support of the road so the EPA can have the resolution and the process can be that much farther along. Hrbek expressed a fear that sending the resolution to the commission would delay the matter for another six to eight months. Parker reminded council that they have already approved a tax increase under the auspices that the extra revenue would help pay for a traffic safety study and the construction of the road.

"Council already voted to support this road whether we know it or not," Parker said.

Council removed mention of the temporary nature of the connection after Councilman Eugene R. Tewalt expressed concern about the current condition of the route upon which the town would base the new road. Sayre questioned the route as proposed on maps previously given to members and added that it appeared the town has space to work with on the plan.

"The road is falling apart," Tewalt said, noting that he, too, visited the site.

Sayre expressed concern about the road as proposed and designed in maps, noting that part of the route dips several feet and is prone to flood.