Fredericksburg City Beat

This blog includes news about City Hall, city schools and other 22401 news.

Pamela Gould reports on City Hall. You can reach her at 540-735-1972 or Robyn Sidersky reports on city schools. You can reach her at 540-374-5413 or

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What’s news next week

A few notes on next Tuesday’s council agenda.

Tax exemption questions abound

The U.S. National Slavery Museum (whose exemption request you can read about in Sunday’s paper) isn’t the only nonprofit seeking a real estate tax exemption from the council on Tuesday. New Vision, a transitional home for female ex-offenders located on William Street, has also asked for a three-year exemption that would be worth $2,026 a year. The council will hold a public hearing on this Tuesday, but the city manager has recommended against granting it, because the city code has a provision that says exempt property "shall not be occupied or used by any person as a dwelling or for other personal use." New Vision, in response, has asked why an institutional housing facility like the Thurmam Brisben homeless shelter should be eligible for exemption while New Vision’s housing for ex-offenders isn’t. City officials responded by saying that since New Vision is in a house (not an industrial building, like the shelter) and because its residents stay up to one year (compared to less than 30 days at the shelter), then it’s different.

New Fire Station site

Council members will consider a land swap concerning the site for Fredericksburg’s future third fire station. The first site was on Fall Hill Avenue near Bill Buttram Photography. But its access has been severely limited by the way Celebrate Virginia has developed around it. That land was originally donated to the city by the Silver Cos., and now Silver is proposing to replace the original site (on which it would like to put a PNC Bank) with a new one farther into the tourism complex. It’s not on Fall Hill, and that caused a little concern among a few council members when they heard about it last week, but fire officials say they’re OK with it because it’s a little bit bigger, and will allow them to expand in the future. In a way, this is another tax-exemption issue, because transferring property to the city means it goes off the tax rolls.

Court site agreement

We wrote here about recent developments regarding plans for a new downtown courts complex on the Princess Anne Street post office site. One of the more bureaucratic steps in that process is an agreement the council will consider approving with Keating Development, which handles the Postal Service’s real estate deals. Read the agreement here.

Gordon W. Shelton Boulevard

Carl D. Silver Parkway runs through Central Park. Once construction is complete, it will continue in a loop through Celebrate Virginia that will create an awkward intersection of two roads with the same name. To fix that problem, the Silver Cos. have asked to rename part of the loop for Gordon Shelton, a former City Councilman who played a big role in the discussions that led to Fredericksburg’s annexation of the Celebrate land from Spotsylvania County in the 1980s. Silver is proposing that the eastern side of the loop road, continuing into a new piece of road that will intersect with Fall Hill Avenue, be named for Shelton. The other side of the loop will remain Carl D. Silver Parkway.

Voter registrar on the move

The city plans to move the voter registrar’s office out of its cramped quarters in the front corner of city hall to the Executive Plaza. Moving a voter registrar (also the absentee-ballot voting precinct) involves a lot of bureaucratic hoop-jumping, so the city wants to start the approval process now to make sure everything’s in place for the November elections.