Rappahannock News

Boundary change should not be a Town vs. county issue

- B M I. H The writer, who wrote a history of the Town of Washington, lives in Woodville

I nd it astounding that the Board of Supervisor­s is not embracing the proposal made by the Town of Washington to move a roughly four-acre parcel of land into the Town’s jurisdicti­on. This parcel is part of a lot owned by Chuck Akre that straddles the towncounty boundary. These four acres represent about a mere 0.003% of the total acreage of about 138,900 acres within Rappahanno­ck County (excluding Shenandoah National Park), according to acreage estimates in the most recent comprehens­ive plan.

The proposal to develop this land, perhaps with a community center or a new library, perfectly ts with the county’s comprehens­ive plan to con ne developmen­t to areas adjacent to the town and the county’s villages. If the Board of Supervisor­s wants no developmen­t in these places, why did they approve the comprehens­ive plan?

This area is a wetland. Indeed, a stream used to ow through it and a tannery was located next to it in the 1800s, utilizing the stream water for its works. The Avon Hall pond now blocks the stream, but the area still has seeps from the water ow. It is doubtful if a septic eld could be successful­ly located on the 4 acres, thus making it mandatory that the town septic system be used for any developmen­t.

The Board of Supervisor­s is apparently unaware of previous boundary changes in which small parcels of county land were transferre­d to the town’s jurisdicti­on. As in the current situation, these also involved lots that were bisected by the town-county line. For example, between 1989 and 1991, Claybert Smoot was unable to obtain zoning approval to construct a house because his property was divided between the town and the county.

The Board of Supervisor­s voted unanimousl­y to adopt a resolution: “There exist a number of parcels divided by the town/county boundary which because of their small size and the presence of the boundary are prevented or severely limited from developmen­t. It is in the joint interest of the Town, the County, and the citizens of each jurisdicti­on to adopt a procedure for mitigation of the inequities herein stated and these procedures shall be adopted for the bene t of the a ected citizens. Now, therefore, the Town and County will consider applicatio­ns from eligible landowners for inclusion of their property within the boundaries of the town.”

This topic emerged again in 1998-1999. The Town of Washington requested that the County agree to boundary adjustment­s for lots that were divided by the town boundary line. Three property owners applied to have their lots included entirely within the town.

There was a unanimous vote by the Board of Supervisor­s to adopt a resolution to adjust the town/ county boundary: “It is declared to be in the joint interest of the Town, the County, and the citizens of each to adopt this resolution to provide for the inclusion of the following lots to be wholly within the town of Washington” and that “an appropriat­e adjustment of the town and County boundary be made if such be approved by the Circuit Court of Rappahanno­ck County.” This approval occurred on June 8, 1999.

The Supervisor­s during these two deliberati­ons were renowned members of the Rappahanno­ck community — Charles K. (Pete) Estes, Robert P. Anderson, Michael M. Massie, Hubert S. Gilkey

III, Ellis D. Bingham, Roger A. Welch and Ronald L. Frazier. They clearly recognized the inequities imposed on Rappahanno­ck County citizens whose land was bisected by the town/county boundary line.

Is there a vendetta occurring against the Town? No one objected in 2006 when the County acquired 4 acres of town land adjacent to the courthouse; indeed, the County now owns 6.1 acres of land within the town. Who is putting up those “No boundary change” signs that are littering our county roadsides?

One supervisor has written to me, “This boundary change may not be a good deal for Rappahanno­ck County. Once that boundary is adjusted, the future of that land will be completely out of the county’s control.” Now, another Supervisor is stating “What’s the town willing to provide in exchange for this adjustment to the town boundary.”

This should not be a town versus county adversaria­l situation. It is a case of what is “in the joint interest of the Town, the County, and the citizens of each jurisdicti­on to adopt a procedure for mitigation of the inequities herein stated and these procedures shall be adopted for the bene t of the a ected citizens” which is the way this situation was viewed by icons of Rappahanno­ck County in the 1990s.

No one objected in 2006 when the County acquired 4 acres of town land adjacent to the courthouse; indeed, the County now owns 6.1 acres of land within the town.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United States