County proceeds with restaurant’s septic repairs
State health officials and engineers have determined that the septic system at the county-owned Seabreeze Restaurant property on Gwynn’s Island is repairable, said County Administrator Mindy Conner during Tuesday’s board meeting.
“They’re treating it as a system that needs repair, not a failed system,” she said.
Mathews County Building Official Jamie Wilks told board members that he had met recently with state and local representatives from the Virginia Department of Health and with the engineering firm the county has hired to work on the project, and that they are determining what repairs will be necessary.
“They assured me it was possible and it will be done,” he said.
Conner said that the county is getting close to a final lease, but that the draft lease is still being fine-tuned and that the septic issues have to be resolved before the lease can be signed with new tenants. She told the board that, since the Seabreeze is on county-owned property, the county will be responsible for the repairs.
The draft lease is available online, and some of the terms have been tentatively changed from the prior lease. While the previous lease gave the tenant the opportunity to renew an initial five-year lease for one additional five-year period, the revised draft lease grants the tenant the option to renew for two additional five-year periods as long as notice is given to the county in writing four months in advance. The rent has been increased to $8,100 annually, to be adjusted up or down at a maximum of 2 percent annually according to the Consumer Price Index.
The proposed lease also calls for the tenant to invest at least $100,000 in capital improvements during the first three years of the term of the lease, including lifting the premises out of the flood plain, and it gives the tenant the first right of refusal to purchase the property if the county decides to sell, as well as a credit in the amount of 50 percent of any capital investment made as of the date of the offer.
Still under revision is the provision governing maintenance and operation of the septic system. Conner said that those expenses will continue to be shared, but the language explaining the details has yet to be completed and agreed upon.
Among the other terms of the lease are requirements that the tenant pay for all repairs up to $5,000 and half of the cost of repairs beyond that, and that the tenant maintain “all-risk” property insurance that will repair or replace the building and fixtures if they’re damaged or destroyed, as well as $2 million in liability insurance, with the county named as the insured.
In her report to the board, Conner mentioned that the proposed new name for the Seabreeze is “Hole in the Wall.”