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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Next week: tax exemptions, 1200 Prince Edward

Next Tuesday is the last City Council meeting of 2008 (There’s your excuse to throw a party.).

You can expect to see a presentation on the courthouse complex plans and a re-consideration of an edited version of Tom Tomzak’s resolution asking the General Assembly to let localities ban smoking in public places.

Also, as part of their consent agenda, council members will consider a measure that would suspend the process by which nonprofit groups can apply for real estate tax exemptions. For some background on how these exemptions work, see this story on the Slavery Museum’s recent request for such an exemption. That request was denied because the city said the museum didn’t qualify for an exemption, since no museum exists on its property.

The measure before the council wouldn’t change certain exemptions that the state constitution automatically grants–those for churches and state property, for example. It also wouldn’t keep a group that already has an exemption from applying for a renewal–exemptions last three years.

But for new nonprofits who believe they may qualify for a council-granted exemption, it closes another door to aid from the city. The portion of the city budget that goes to outside agencies is expected to be cut next year, as well, as the city starts its budget process with a $4 million deficit and the potential for worse tax returns and more state cuts.

On Wednesday night, the Planning Commission will hold a public hearing on the re-submitted special exception application to build four condos in the burned-out building at 1200 Prince Edward St. You are forgiven if you just passed out at your keyboard due to an extreme case of deja vu.

Commissioners will also hold a hearing on a new mixed-use zoning ordinance. This would make it easier for developers to craft projects that combine retail, residential and office uses on the same property. This ordinance change was called for in the city’s JumpStart plan and in its new Comprehensive Plan.