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South Hill eyes code changes to improve town’s appearance / July 11, 2018
South Hill Town Council, as part of an ongoing effort to improve aesthetics in the town is considering several code changes. The changes were discussed Monday during the monthly meeting of the council.

The first code revision, which Town Manager Kim Callis said would prevent unsafe traffic conditions while also maintaining the appearance of neighborhood streets, would place limits on the parking of commercial vehicles and trailers along residential streets.

The prohibition would not apply to vehicles or trailers being actively loaded or unloaded or belong to crews working on and around the streets. Additionally, buses or vans operated by school systems and used to transport school-age children would be exempted.

The police chief would have the authority and flexibility to issue permits for street parking.

Callis asked, and Council agreed, to hold a public hearing on the proposed amendment at the regular Council meeting set for Aug. 13.

Ben Taylor asked Council to also consider amending the code to address the problem with inoperative vehicles around town. “You know the issue of dilapidated properties is dear to my heart,” said Taylor, adding that he considers inoperative vehicles in the same vein. Many of the vehicles have broken windshields, flat or no tires, no insurance or current registration. He called for a code section “with teeth” that would require the owners of the vehicles to either remove the vehicles or place them behind a fence or inside an enclosed structure, out of sight of the general public.

Police Chief Stuart Bowen suggested language that would allow owners 60 days to address the problem.

Callis agreed to work on the amendment and bring the language back to Council at their next meeting.

VDOT has approved the town’s request for funds to extend Raleigh Avenue from Parker Park to West Atlantic Street. Callis did not have a time frame for this work. He also announced that the town would be receiving a risk management grant from VML Insurance. The money would be used to purchase trauma kits for the 21 members of the South Hill Police Department.

In other business,

Council approved offering up to six weeks adoption leave for full-time employees. Currently parents of newborns get up to 12 weeks leave at 60 percent of pay. Callis said adoptions are similar and worthy of leave.

Callis explained the leave, at 60 percent of pay, is available to any one adoptive parent involved in a “legal adoption.” It can be used before the adoption occurs, if the parent must leave the state or country to complete the adoption process or receive the child.

Callis called the policy a benefit that could be used to recruit new employees to the town.

Construction work on the Kids = Play all inclusive playground will begin at Centennial Park in early August. Callis said “for safety reasons” the town will close the area of the park while installation takes place. “If all goes well the playground should be open to the public by Labor Day.”

Police Chief Stuart Bowen, who this month marked his second anniversary with the town, thanked council and the mayor for the opportunity to serve.

At the request of Public Works Director Bill Wilson, Council awarded the town’s annual fuel contract to Parker Oil Company. The price for fleet gasoline and ultra low sulfur diesel will be $0.02 per gallon above wholesale “rack” price. This is a $0.002 increase over FY2018 price.

The price for delivered gasoline remained unchanged at will be $0.04 per gallon above wholesale “rack” price and $0.06 per gallon above wholesale “rack” price for delivered low sulfur diesel.

Wilson explained “rack price is the price at which refineries sell fuel to their customers.”

Stacy Archer, who works in code compliance was honored for her 20 years of service to the town.

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