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South Hill looks to clarify code on loitering

SoVaNow.com / January 15, 2020
South Hill Town Council held a public hearing ahead of vote to amend the Town Code as it relates to loitering during Council’s regular monthly meeting on Monday night.

No one from the public chose to speak on what Town Manager Kim Callis called a “minor change” to the ordinance to make it consistent with Virginia state law.

The proposed change substitutes the word “loitering” for the word ”trespassing” in the ordinance, but no other changes are made to Code Section 50-3, which prohibits a person from loitering or sleeping in or upon any street, park or public place or in any public building in South Hill. The ordinance also prohibits any person from obstructing passage through or upon any public street, alley, bridge, or parking lot in the town.

Violating the town’s loitering law is a Class 3 misdemeanor which carries a fine of up to $500.

When asked, Callis said the Town does not have a significant problem with loitering but there was one individual who he was aware of who had caused some issues.

In other business, Council members agreed to hold a public hearing on changes to the town’s parking ordinance, Section 50-800. The proposed change would make it unlawful for a vehicle to be parked with its left side facing the curb so that the front of the vehicle is facing in the direction of oncoming traffic, except on one-way streets.

Business Development Manager Brentley Morris announced that a new restaurant, 313 Franklin Cocktails and Kitchen, is set to open in the building now known as The Lofts on Franklin. The restaurant will be in the area that was once the cafeteria of the former South Hill Elementary School building.

The site was renovated in 2019 by private investment group HGM&S 2, LLC. They converted the former school property into 27 market-rate apartments, with event and restaurant spaces.

The owners are hiring culinary and hospitality staff. They have not announced a specific opening date but are teasing expectant customers on their social media page at 313 Franklin-Cocktails & Kitchen.

Morris also announced plans to transition the town’s popular Sunset Sounds concert series from management by the Market Square Committee to the South Hill Chamber of Commerce.

Callis announced that Biggs Construction and the town’s infrastructure division staff have finished installing a new waterline along Highway 47. They expect to have customers connected to the new service line by the end of January.

J.A. Barker Construction has begun work on changes to the intersection of East Atlantic Street and Maple Lane. The changes are being made to reduce traffic issues at the intersection. Weather permitting, work should be completed by Friday, Callis said.

Town staff is working with the McGuire Woods law firm to update South Hill’s outdated sewer use ordinance. The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality has asked the town to make the updates. Council will hold a public hearing on the amended ordinance at the next regular meeting on Feb. 10.

Council members also agreed to appropriate another $20,000 to continue South Hill’s Façade Improvement Matching Funds program for the rest of the 2020 fiscal year that ends June 30. The earlier appropriation was for $50,000, and this money was spent or is committed to approved projects.

Callis said matching funds are available to approved business property owners looking to make improvements to their building façades throughout the town. To date, nine property owners have completed improvements on their buildings, two more applications are pending and one more property owner has inquired about the funds.

After returning from closed session during which legal matters were discussed, Council members adopted a new Employee Handbook. The book covers everything from staffing, compensation, performance evaluations and work rules to safety and loss control and investigations, grievance procedures, harassment policies and protections for whistle blowers and against retaliation.

It is the responsibility of the human resources manager to distribute a complete copy of the new handbook to all town employees, the mayor, members of Town Council and others in a timely fashion and to communicate any changes to the handbook in writing.

Employees will need to sign an acknowledgement form upon receipt of the employee handbook.

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