The Round Hill Town Council last Thursday night discussed the possibility of reviving talks of a town boundary line adjustment that could eventually bring the entire 1,390-home Joint Land Management Area into the town limits.
Under a concept laid out by Mayor Scott Ramsey, the town would consider bringing the eight-home West Loudoun/Mystic neighborhood, the 45-home Fallswood/Poplar Hill neighborhood and the 67-home Brentwood Springs neighborhood into the corporate limits by 2020, followed by an incorporation of the entire JLMA, which includes The Villages at Round Hill development.
If that ever happened, the town’s size would grow from about 240 homes to 1,865 homes, or a bit larger with a handful of undeveloped lots in town and another 220 homes left to build in The Villages at Round Hill.
Ramsey said the time to re-ignite discussions of a town expansion is now because the Town Office is finally in a stable condition, following a fair amount of staff turnover during 2018.
He cited a few reasons for the town to consider an expansion. Chief among those was a need to bring more residents into the town’s corporate limits to give them a chance to run for public office. He said that many out-of-town residents, whom the town serves with water and sewer, feel frustrated that they’re being represented by a population that’s about 25 percent the size of their community. Currently, 85 percent of the town’s utility customers live outside the town limits.
Ramsey pointed out that two of the current Town Council members live in a section of the town that was a part of the boundary line adjustment the town completed in 2004.
He said that if more people are given the opportunity to run for a town office, it would revitalize elections. He noted that since 2002, there have never been more than three candidates on a Town Council ballot and the mayoral seat has been contested only once. In that time, 40 percent of town elections have been decided by write-in votes.
The current Town Council and Planning Commission vacancies are also now entering their third months with no resident interest.
Another reason the town is considering expansion is to provide the town with additional revenue to help pay for non-utility projects like sidewalks, trails and parks. Less than 250 households currently have a primary responsibility to fund those.
According to town estimates, the town would net about $350 of revenue per new household annually, which would mean it would pull in $42,000 if it incorporated 120 homes in the first year.
An expansion would also lower property taxes for existing in-town residents and lower utility rates for out-of-town households that are incorporated.
Ramsey told the council that he plans to meet with individual neighborhoods to talk about a potential expansion in November, December and January.
The last time the town discussed an expansion was in 2017. Those talks stopped when controversy ensued over the town’s consideration to incorporate a short-term expansion area of only 217 homes, but not all of The Villages at Round Hill community.