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Warren County attorney to draft response to annexation request

The Warren Sentinel
FRONT ROYAL – Warren County attorney Blair Mitchell said Dec. 4 he plans to draft a response to a a citizen-initiated annexation request to bring 604 acres located between Happy Creek Road and Interstate 66 from Warren County into the town of Front Royal.
The county's response to the request must be filed with the Virginia Commission on Local Government by Dec. 20.
The Front Royal Town Council in November passed a resolution supporting the boundary line adjustment, which would bring the land into the town with agricultural zoning. The property would have to be rezoned before it could be developed.
Mitchell told the Warren County Board of Supervisors during their Dec. 4 meeting that his response to the request will ask the Commission for more time for the county, town and developer, Front Royal Limited Partnership, to work out the details of the request, including what impact future development on the property might have on the county.
“We certainly want to let them know that we want additional time with that,” Mitchell said, adding that his response to the request will be “hopefully optimistic” that the parties can reach an agreement for a friendly boundary line adjustment providing the county's concerns about future impact are addressed.
County supervisors say they want to know what kind of development is planned for the property in the future and what impact it would have on schools, emergency services and tax revenue.
But representatives for the developer have said there is no firm plan yet on what to do with the land.
Board of Supervisors Chairman Archie Fox said the county needs to know more about what the developer wants to do with the land before officials can agree to a boundary line adjustment.
“The devil could be in the details with this,” Fox said.
Supervisors received information from the Warren County Planning Department about the projected fiscal impact of a different development that had been proposed for the property, although that project never commenced.
The fiscal impact to the county of the proposed Centex development was estimated at $25,263,810 – a one-time capital impact figure based on a density of two houses per acre. Centex pulled the application for that project before it went to vote.
But County Administrator Douglas Stanley told the supervisors Dec. 4 that it's difficult to use those figures to project the impact of any future development on Front Royal Limited Partnership's property without knowing what the owner's plans are and adjusting for future inflation.
“It's difficult to show that (impact) in a situation like this where you have an applicant requesting a boundary adjustment but not providing any detail,” Stanley said.
Mitchell said that ideally the developer will commit to certain conditions in any agreement between the town, county and Front Royal Limited Partnership for a boundary line adjustment.
“I think we all hope that there would be at least some commercial component,” Mitchell said, referring to future development on the property. “We have certain things that, if they're all addressed, we likely would not oppose a boundary adjustment.”
The Front Royal Planning Commission supports the boundary line adjustment request if the following criteria are included in the agreement:
Front Royal Limited Partnership must address the fiscal impact of any development on county services including schools, parks and recreation and emergency services.
Transportation improvements will be made by the developer as dictated by the traffic impact analysis prepared by Front Royal Limited Partnership and reviewed by the town and the Virginia Department of Transportation.
The developer will come to an agreement with the town for water and sewer to serve the proposed development.
The Planning Commission supports a development with a maximum of two units per acre with a commercial component, encouraging cluster development and open space.
Attending the Dec. 4 meeting at the Warren County Government Center were Warren County Board of Supervisors Chairman Archie Fox, Linda Glavis, Daniel J. Murray Jr.. Richard Traczyk, Tony Carter and Warren County Administrator Douglas Stanley.
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