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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ARB Standing: Feeling aggrieved?

The issue of ARB standing (in English, that means the question of who can appeal ARB decisions) may qualify as the City Council’s favorite issue to toss back and forth from Planning Commission to ARB to special task force and back again. Last night, the council tabled action on a proposal to expand the definition of who can appeal ARB decisions. Both the Planning Commission (actually, two different Planning Commissions) and the ARB had recommended against doing that.

If you want some background, read this.

Basically, the argument against expanding standing says that if you let just anybody appeal ARB decisions, you open up the possibility that people will appeal them just to delay projects they don’t like, and that this will deter development in the city because developers will fear an added layer of bureaucratic delay.

The argument for expanding standing, which Matt Kelly, Kerry Devine and George Solley seem to support, says that the Historic District is important enough to add a step or two to the process if somebody has a valid problem with a project. Kelly said he thinks the city can find a way to set reasonable restrictions on who can appeal while still giving more people a chance to challenge these decisions. He also points out that, unlike Planning Commission decisions, ARB decisions are final, they aren’t just recommendations to the City Council, and the council can’t change them.

So anyway, if you missed tonight’s discussion of standing, don’t worry, you’ll get a chance to sit through another one before long, it appears.