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Chase City loosens rules for business use of sidewalks

SoVaNow.com / July 14, 2021
Businesses in Chase City can now display up to three items, including seating areas, in front of their shops as long as pedestrian traffic is unobstructed.

The change to the town code to allow the display of merchandise was approved by Chase City Town Council Monday night during its July meeting.

Before this change, the sidewalk ordinance did not allow businesses to display merchandise or to place any items such as tables and chairs on the sidewalks in front of their stores. As amended, code section 4-1-11 allows up to three items to be located outside the store on the sidewalk, so long as the items do not interfere with pedestrian traffic and are abutted to the building.

Queena Smith, owner of Queena’s Beauty Supply in Chase City, asked Council members not to be too restrictive in allowing merchandise to be displayed outside of downtown shops, as this draws in visitors, she explained. Smith said she’s always surprised by the number of people who do not know her beauty supply store exists despite having been in operation for several years.

Businesses that want to place tables and chairs on the sidewalk must first obtain a special permit from the town manager.

The public is still required to obtain a permit from the town manager prior to conducting “any public meeting or deliver[ing] an address on or near any street or sidewalk of the town which may cause congregation on the sidewalk or street.”

In other business, Council adopted a resolution recognizing changes to election laws enacted by the General Assembly earlier this year. The legislature changed the date for the election of mayors and town council members from May to the first Tuesday in November for any election held after Jan. 1, 2022.

The terms of newly elected Council members will begin on the following Jan. 1. The terms of office for current officials that otherwise would have ended June 30, 2022 have been extended until Dec. 31, 2021.

Chase City received is first round of federal COVID relief funds under the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), a sum of approximately $1.1 million. Forbes said the money will be used mainly for infrastructure repairs and upgrades as allowed by the federal government. Forbes said the current plans for the money are to:

» complete the electronic installation of the SCADA system at the wastewater treatment plant. A SCADA system is a stem of software and hardware that will allow the town to control processes at the wastewater plant either locally or remotely. The cost is $84,456.

» Another $472,420 will be spent to upgrade the town’s water meters to a digital system, Forbes said. “This will ensure accurate and timely meter reading and for these readings to be integrated with the town’s water billing system,” he explained.

$109,222 will be set aside to fortify sewer lines from Grove Avenue to the community ballpark. Slip liners will be installed to prevent infiltration of water and fill in cracks and holes in the existing lines, according to Forbes. So far this year, the repair work on the town’s aging sewer system has keep 150,000 gallons of excess water from infiltrating and overwhelming the town’s wastewater treatment plant.

The repairs already completed and the new slip lining will ensure the wastewater treatment plant continues to operate optimally, Forbes said.

Two new portable pumps will also be purchased for the wastewater treatment plant at a cost of $44,900 each.

The balance of the money will be spent on a new street sweeper and vacuum truck for the town. Forbes pegged the cost of this vehicle at $845,000.

Bluestone High School football coach Harry John asked Town leaders and residents to help with his recruitment efforts for the Bluestone Barons football program. “I’m excited by the training trends, we have about 20-25 kids coming out, but we need more. The best opportunity for kids to see if they have an interest in playing football is during these workouts.”

The Bluestone football team has been holding training sessions from 8-10 a.m. for the past couple of weeks in Chase City. John said it’s not too late for new kids to join.

Training for middle school students will start in a few weeks.

John said he’s aware that having no buses available to transport kids to and from the practices could pose a problem for some who want to play but can’t get to the school. He asked for volunteers willing to drive the students to school and pick them up after practice.

“Sports helps build students up. Football has brought me through times in my life and I see it as giving kids something more constructive to do with their time and keeps them away from idle hands. We all know what happens with idle hands,” John said.

Anyone interested in playing any sport for Bluestone must first receive a physical. John said Sentara Chase City Family Medicine is offering free physicals for these students on Wednesday, July 14 from 5:30-8 p.m.

John encouraged anyone interested in playing any sport to take advantage of this free physical and also asked that students considering football to call him at (919) 924-2668.

Mayor Alden Fahringer announced that Thomas Cribb, pastor at First Baptist Church in Chase City, has announced his retirement and plans to return to his home state of South Carolina. Fahringer thanked Cribb for his “great support” of the town in during his ministering to people in the Chase City area.

He encouraged residents to follow in Cribbs’ footsteps and to get in involved with “worthy groups” who are helping to move the town in the right direction. “They are the backbone of the community.” He said volunteers can also reach out to the town.

Council members James Bohanan and Marshall “Tommy” Whitaker added their calls for residents to support town events. “We need everybody’s support,” Whitaker said.

Bohanan listed several upcoming events that he said more people in town should attend because they’re fun and cost little to no money. These include Party at the Pavilion concerts on the second Saturday of the month during the summer, and the airport fly-ins that take place on the fourth Saturday of the month from April through October. The fly-ins at the Chase City Municipal Airport are free and come with free breakfast. Admission to Party at the Pavilion costs $5 per person.

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