SH school rehab projects progressing

At South Hill’s town council meeting on Monday night, Town Manager Kim Callis reported the Groom School rehabilitation project is progressing nicely, while the rehabilitation of the old South Hill Elementary School has “hit a couple of bumps in the road” that have delayed the process.
Callis said the town has been working with Landmark Development on the rehabilitation projects and has prepared and submitted a variety of documents to the Virginia Housing Development Authority.
The plan is to develop the old Groom School on Plank Road into multi-family housing.
On that project, Callis said, “Documentation has been submitted to the VHDA requesting a tax credit allocation, which would be awarded in May if all goes well.”
If everything goes according to plan, Callis said site work could begin in early 2018 with an opening in early 2019.”
“We haven’t hit any bumps in the road on that one yet,” he said.
That’s not the case with the former South Hill Elementary complex on Franklin Street, which is planned to be developed into senior housing.
“We have hit a couple of bumps in the road on the senior part of it, and so Landmark decided it would be best not to submit the application in March for the credit allocation but to do so in the summer round,” Callis said.
If the credits are awarded, site work could begin in spring of 2018 with an opening about 12 months later.
“From the time they put the shovel to it, it takes about a year to get all the construction completed and be ready for occupancy,” Callis said.
In other news, Callis said the Timmons Group has completed its survey and preliminary design work for the roadway and traffic signal improvements at the intersection of U.S. 1 (N. Mecklenburg Avenue) and Route 138 (Union Mill Road) where the new hospital is being constructed.
“We have also met with either the property owners or their representatives of parcels that are adjacent to the intersection,” Callis said.
As part of the project, a public information meeting has been scheduled for March 28 at 2 p.m. at the town hall to provide an overview of the project and hear comments from interested parties.
“There are a couple of adjacent property owners who have some questions and wishes and things of that nature, but we think we can work our way through it,” Callis said.
Council member Millie Bracey asked if anything is planned for Route 138 heading south toward South Hill in terms of a right turn lane into the hospital. Callis said that’s not part of the plans discussed with Virginia Department of Transportation at this point but it could be brought up.
“They’re trying to send the majority of the traffic through Highway 1, but we will bring this up,” he said.
Meanwhile, a draft nomination document for the proposed South Hill Historic District has been prepared. A public hearing to receive comments from interested parties is tentatively scheduled for May 9 at 4 p.m.
The council approved the South Hill Police Department’s proposed ordinance for additional assessment of electronic summons systems. The assessment will charge $5 for each criminal and traffic offense to go toward buying and maintaining an electronic summons system.
The council also approved two proposed amendments to town ordinances, amending the sign ordinance to increase the maximum amount of inches for the height of letters and symbols on wall signs from 24 to 36 and amending the table of permitted uses to add lawn and garden machinery and equipment sales and service as a permitted use in zoning district Commercial C-1 by special exception permit.
On the latter, Bracey asked if the town could also stipulate all machinery and equipment should be stored indoors, and Code Compliance Official David Hash answered that concerns like that could be addressed once a special exception permit is applied for.