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Chase City Council limits height of stacked items in town / January 13, 2021
During a short meeting Monday, Chase City Town Council approved a zoning ordinance that limits to eight feet the height that items can be stacked in a residential district.

Mayor Alden Fahringer said the ordinance would prevent unsightly items from towering above fences, which are limited to a height of eight feet. It also addressed a potential safety issue that could occur from items stacked too high.

Council members tabled, until after hearing from constituents, a proposed time change for monthly meetings of Town Council, moving the start time from 7 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Pauline Keeton questioned whether the earlier time would prevent people from attending council meetings because it conflicts with their work schedule. Marshall Whitaker shared a historical perspective, explaining that when he first came on Council the meetings took place at 5:15 p.m. No one attended, he said, and “that’s because they [the elected officials] didn’t want anyone to come [to the meetings].” He noted too that while an earlier time slot might be more convenient for members of council, “we are here to serve the people.”

Council did approve, as a first reading, a change to town code that requires members of the Chase City Planning Commission to also be residents of the town. Fahringer said the ordinance, as written, requires one member of the town’s administrative branch of government to serve on the planning commission. No currently qualifying town employees live within the town limits.

James Bohanan made the motion to approve the change, explaining that people who live around town, even though outside of municipal limits, are still a part of Chase City and should have input on its future.

If approved after a second reading, the new planning commission will consist of five members, with at least one member of town council and one member who is part of the administrative branch of the town government, without reference to where that person lives.

Every member of the planning commission must be a landowner who is deemed by council to have the “knowledge and experience to make decisions on questions of community growth and development.”

Council also approved a request from Fahringer to establish an economic development committee. Appointees will include two council members, an IDA representative, an at-large member from the community and a representative from the Chamber of Commerce.

Public Works Superintendent Jim Wilson shared that problems with the wastewater treatment plant are being addressed and resolved. Issues with buildup of certain bacteria and byproducts were eliminated by adding solids obtained from Morgan Lumber after the company processes lumber.

Employees in the department are continuing to search out and repair locations where storm and groundwater were infiltrating the treatment plant.

Whitaker thanked members of Wilson’s staff who “made him look like a hero.” Whitaker said he was at Woodland Cemetery the other day when he was approached by a nearby resident who asked if the town could clean the leaves and debris from the fence line facing the resident’s property. By happenstance, a crew from public works drove into the cemetery shortly thereafter. Whitaker asked them to look into clearing the debris, which they did. “They did a perfect job,” Whitaker said.

He also thanked the Mayor and town staff for the flowers sent to his wife who has been ill.

Town Manager Dusty Forbes reported that clean-up has begun at the Robert E. Lee building on Second Street, readying it for renovations and repairs.

In other business Forbes noted:

• The town purchased a new truck for the water crew.

• Now that the Lakeside Commerce Park has been sold to Microsoft — Chase City had a partial ownership interest in the property near Clarksville — the town is looking for new land which can be used for industrial development.

• Lake Country Satellite and Microsoft have nearly completed a project to bring free WiFi to downtown Chase City. A few more hotspots need to be installed. There is now free WiFi available for up to eight hours at a time in much of the downtown area. Forbes said the service is family friendly.

• Two rounds of leaf pick-up and removal have been completed. There will be one more done in the next couple of weeks

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