Round Hill Council Again Delays Vote on Expanding Utility Service Area

The legislative process that could extend Round Hill’s utility service to additional properties around the town has once again been delayed.

The Round Hill Town Council on Thursday night tabled a motion that would have directed the Planning Commission to consider amending the town’s Comprehensive Plan to add criteria for the extension of water and sewer service to three land bays outside the town limits by either expanding the town’s corporate limits or its Joint Land Management Area—land outside the town limits where the town provides utility service. According to the Intent to Amend, that extension would accomplish the plan’s goals to prepare for housing in the Greater Round Hill Area to benefit the aging population, residents with disabilities or special needs and low-income residents and to encourage smaller home development there.

It was the second time this month that the Town Council tabled the motion, and six weeks after Tree of Life Ministries initially asked the council to consider adjusting the JLMA boundary to extend utility service to the 7-acre Weona Villa Motel property where Executive Director Paul Smith has proposed to build a 32 micro-cottage community for low-income residents like seniors.

Mayor Scott Ramsey has said the nonprofit’s request is not the main push behind a possible Comprehensive Plan amendment, but that the request merely highlighted a lack affordable housing opportunities under current policies.

During their March 7 meeting, council members determined that the original one-page Intent to Amend resolution was too vague and asked Town Administrator Melissa Hynes to draft another with additional guidance for the Planning Commission. Hynes did that.

Thursday’s five-page resolution included a scope of work for the Planning Commission to consider when reviewing the Comprehensive Plan and a sample two-page draft text amendment.

The scope of work included six bullet points that would have been intended to keep the commission on track. Those included directions for planning commissioners to not consider specific projects or developments, to draft amendments that would address unmet housing needs already referenced in the plan and to hold a public hearing and present a final recommendation to the Town Council within three months.

It also would have directed the commission to study three specific land bays—the 7-acre Weona Villa property, an 11.71-acre property directly across Loudoun Street from the abandoned motel and a 20.04-acre property at the northern corner of Yatton and Airmont Roads where land developer John Clark is proposing to build 20 1,000- to 2,800-square-foot, energy-efficient homes intended to benefit seniors and first-time home-buyers.

Hynes’ sample draft amendment included language supporting a boundary line adjustment to bring those three properties into the town limits or within the JLMA to support a public recreational facility, low density residential developments at one dwelling unit per acre and a nursing home, residential care or assisted living facility.

Hynes’ sample draft amendment also stated the town would support a corporate limit or JLMA boundary line adjustment only if proposed development complies with the goals of the Comprehensive Plan, which would not permit structures greater than 2.5 stories in height and would not permit townhomes or duplexes unless they would appear to be single family homes from the street.

It also laid out conditions that developments would be allowed only if the traffic they generate would not adversely impact the Main Street/Loudoun Street intersection, if their utility usage would not adversely impact in-town utility service, if they maintain the rural character of the southern portion of town and if they agree to install sidewalks connecting resident with community facilities within a half mile.

Even if the Town Council votes this year to approve a Comprehensive Plan amendment outlining an intent to extend the town’s corporate limits or the JLMA boundary, it would need to come to an agreement with the county to do so.

The Town Council is expected to take a vote directing the Planning Commission to amend the plan at its next meeting on April 4.

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