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Old Bedford Middle School developer looking to rezone property after auditorium cannot be saved

Daniel Flint, arson suspect, may have go through competency evaluation before seeing judge

BEDFORD, Va. – It’s nearly been four months since the old Bedford Middle School was set on fire.

In January, Bedford firefighters spent hours trying to put out the blaze. Then, in February, police made an arrest, calling the incident an arson.

The developer said there are plans to move forward, but some of the project is changing.

Dave McCormack with Waukeshaw Development said that just because people aren’t seeing activity on the site doesn’t mean there’s nothing going on behind the scenes.

He said they have has spent about a month trying to figure out what to do with the property because there’s so much damage inside.

When the iconic bell tower fell, it fell into the school’s auditorium.

That auditorium was going to become a free community space for the town to use after construction, but that can no longer happen.

McCormack said they will be rezoning the property. The auditorium will become additional apartments and parking will have to change too.

“Our investment in that auditorium was very low. Now it will be millions of dollars for the same use. So, from a business, financial standpoint, it’s really difficult if not impossible to make the case to now go back into that building and rebuild that auditorium,” McCormack said.

McCormack said the rezoning meeting is planned for the beginning of June with the county’s planning commission board and town council.

Town Mayor Barry Warner says the planning commission will hold a public hearing on Thursday, June 4 at 5:30 p.m. then they will make a recommendation to Town Council. Council is scheduled to hold a public hearing at a regular meeting on Tuesday, June 9 at 7 p.m. If McCormack’s request is approved, town officials will also make changes to the lease and performance agreements to reflect the change.

Daniel Jared Flint, 21, of Bedford, is facing one burglary charge and one arson charge. (WSLS)

After police arrested Daniel Flint for the fire and charged him arson. The pandemic is having an impact on when he could see a judge.

Bedford Commonwealth’s Attorney Wes Nance said he doesn’t think there will be a hearing for Flint for several months.

Bedford police spent a month searching for a suspect until tips lead them to Flint.

After his arrest in February, he was supposed to appear before a judge for violating parole, but that never happened because the pandemic shut down court systems across Virginia.

Nance said as for the arson charges, he’s anticipates Flint’s attorney will have him do a competency evaluation. This could take 60 to 90 days to complete and the court will have to consider jail safety protocols because of the coronavirus.