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vanessa-newVanessa Remmers covers Stafford County government and schools for fredericksburg.com and The Free Lance-Star.

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Parkway loan, Ferry Farm rezoning approved

County supervisors wrapped up a few issues that have been hanging around for awhile now. Here’s a quick rundown of what happened at Tuesday afternoon’s meeting.

Loan for Celebrate Virginia Parkway 

Work on the 10-year-old parkway, off U.S. 17, is expected to cost around $300,000, which will be provided by Celebrate Virginia Development Company LLC, a subsidiary of the Silver Cos. Should costs be above that, the county will lend up to $150,000 for the work, to be paid back over five years. A piece of land valued around $500,000 is offered as collateral.

The plan came about partly from the developer, which asked for assistance, and partly from the county, which wanted to put the neighborhood roads at the end of the 4-mile parkway into the state system but couldn’t since they didn’t have a connection to a state road, County Administrator Anthony Romanello said. Trucks have also been using the road as an access point for construction of the dam at Rocky Pen Run Reservoir.

The agreement was also stipulated as part of an application pending for two apartment projects on the parkway. The Celebrate Virginia North project will be before the board soon.

Ferry Farm rezoned, allows for home replica 

Ferry Farm off State Route 3 in southern Stafford will be the first piece of land to be classified as Heritage Interpretation zone. The rezoning was unanimously approved Tuesday and allows the tourist site to expand its offerings.

Ferry Farm has submitted a master plan, showing a new visitors center, administration building, maintenance building and a greenhouse. But perhaps most notable is the planned replication of the home where the first president grew up. An archaeological dig that uncovered the foundation of the home drew international attention.

The historic site would also be an endpoint for the Belmont-Ferry Farm Historic Loop, parts of which are complete.

Embrey Mill proffers and CDA

After a closed session discussion, supervisors approved a swap to the proffers for the Embrey Mill project. It allows the two park areas to be combined into one, for the planned athletic complex.

Also approved was the creation of a community development authority.

Admissions tax

I wrote about this addition to the board’s legislative agenda last week. The vote to add enabling legislation for an admissions tax was 6-1, with Susan Stimpson against.

Boat tax

I’ll give you more details about this discussion in the coming days. The full board voted to have the county administrator look at three scenarios when preparing the FY14 budget: elimination of the boat tax, a three-year phase-out, and no changes. Marina owners have said that Stafford’s high boat tax hurts their businesses and many boat owners keep their boats in other counties (such as Prince William). They’ve said that elimination of the tax would lead to economic development — if more boats are kept in Stafford, that equates to higher revenues from sales and fuels taxes, as well as letting marinas expand and create more jobs. The board holds a public hearing on all tax rates as part of the budget adoption process in the spring.

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