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Offer input on city's Kalahari project
Residents will have a chance to provide input on Kalahari project

 Kalahari Resorts wants to build a water park similar to this one in Sandusky, Ohio, in Celebrate Virginia.
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Date published: 5/25/2010

Fredericksburg residents will get a chance tonight to tell City Council and Planning Commission members what they think about the size of a proposed Kalahari Resorts water-park hotel and convention center, and about the digital sign the resort wants to put on Interstate 95.

At 7:30 p.m. in City Hall, the council and commission will hold a joint public hearing on five separate planning permissions Kalahari needs to build its proposed 850-room, 11-story resort in Celebrate Virginia.

The planning permits Kalahari is seeking are:

A special exception to construct a 110-foot-high sign facing I-95. The sign's digital board could be used for Amber Alerts and promoting community events, as approved by Kalahari. Approval of the sign, which would have a digital message that couldn't update more than once every five seconds, is a requirement for the Celebrate Virginia site to be suitable for Kalahari.

A proposal to exchange 3.2 acres of right of way that Celebrate Virginia had previously dedicated for Carl D. Silver Parkway for 4.3 acres of new right of way. This would essentially reroute the unbuilt portion of the parkway so it doesn't bisect Kalahari's proposed site. In a separate vote, the Planning Commission will be asked to determine that this exchange of right of way complies with the city's Comprehensive Plan.

A special-use permit allowing Kalahari to build its resort up to 155 feet. A city ordinance limits building height to 90 feet. Covenants on the Celebrate Virginia land state that no building may be visible by the naked eye from the Rappahannock River. Kalahari and the Silver Cos. provided results of a balloon test that indicate the building would not be visible from the river.

A special-use permit that would allow Kalahari and the Expo Center to share 1,110 of the 2,744 parking places at the two sites. Kalahari plans to physically connect its convention center to the Expo Center, which would be used as exposition space that Kalahari would lease from the Silver Cos.

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