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Council goes in circles over Inner Loop concerns

Two Culpeper businesses are concerned about a traffic roundabout planned as part of the construction of the town Inner Loop project.

The agenda for the Aug. 14 town council meeting listed a discussion of “Inner Loop commercial entrances for Wendy's and Pizza Hut at roundabout on Route 229.”

That item was removed from the agenda before the meeting and referred back to the Public Safety, Public Works, Planning and Community Development Committee for further discussion. The discussion may now take place before the full council at the regular Town Council meeting Sept. 11.

Background provided for the council notes that, ”VDOT is managing the construction of the James Madison Highway/Route 229 traffic circle and has identified an issue of concern with an existing commercial entrance off Route 229 (just to the north of where the new roundabout will be located).

“VDOT engineers have evaluated the existing entrance for Wendy's and have determined that by allowing the left hand turn from the northbound lane of Route 229 into Wendy's to remain in use will create the potential for backups into the roundabout. Roundabout backups can cause significant delays and potential public safety issues. Consequently, VDOT is recommending that this existing commercial entrance be closed.”

VDOT suggests a new commercial entrance and a 350-foot service lane off the Inner Loop just west of the new roundabout.

The council may decide whether to accept the VDOT recommendation (at a cost of about $50,000 with an additional $50,000 in VDOT matching funds), stay with the original plan or suggest a third alternative.

The council may also hold a public hearing prior to voting on adoption of a resolution authorizing the town to acquire right of way and easements as needed for the western Inner Loop highway.

The council is also expected to hold a first reading at its Sept. 11 meeting of proposed amendments to the town code that would more clearly define the separation in ownership between the town's water and sewer system and the property owners water or sewer lateral.

If adopted after a second public hearing on Oct. 9, the amendment would also more clearly define maintenance responsibilities as well as those associated with damages “resulting from failures of the water or sewer mains or laterals as well as illegal connection,” according to information furnished by town staff to the Personnel and Ordinance Committee.

A first reading may come Sept. 11 on an amendment to the town code dealing with the review of criminal history records of candidates for town employment.

The change would not prohibit such background checks when considering employment, but would insure that the town takes new steps to “prevent disparate impact discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964,” according to information furnished by town staff to the Personnel and Ordinance Committee.

A report from the Finance, Technology, Tourism and Economic Development Committee notes that Internet technology updates and enhancements are continuing to the town computer system, that new in-car cameras have been ordered for police vehicles and are scheduled for installation this month and that the town 911 maps have been updated.

The above items are only tentative topics of discussion as Town Council agendas are not finalized until the Monday before meetings. The final agendas are available online at CulpeperVa.gov

Council meetings begin at 7 p.m. in the Board of Supervisors Meeting Room, 306 N. Main
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