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You Have a Target on Your Back

February 6, 2013 by Valerie Cury filed under Editorial, Opinion No Comments
town of purcellville sign

Those who live in the proposed Purcellville Joint Land Management Area (JLMA) are in the target area for the future growth of Purcellville. If this growth area is approved as part of the County’s Revised General Plan, sooner or later you will become part of Purcellville, or, as the Loudoun Times Mirror called it “The Ideal Town.”

Unfortunately, the newspaper didn’t mention the almost $70 million debt that the town carries (about $9,000 per person). Nor did it mention the town water and sewer bills that increase approximately 25 percent annually. As reported here in January, Purcellville wants you in its JLMA … regardless of your feelings on the subject.

Why, however, should you be in a “growth” area in the first place if your neighborhood is already built up? According to its definition, a JLMA is specifically designed to supply water and sewer from the town to surrounding areas, and also to separate regions that have “significantly different land uses.” However, the proposed JLMA cuts right through the middle of existing residential neighborhoods. The proposed JLMA is the same as the old urban growth area set up decades ago when Purcellville was surrounded by farms. To use an obsolete plan in a new amendment to the County’s Revised General Plan is sheer folly, since hundreds of homes already exist in the JLMA.

If you haven’t been following the saga of the Purcellville Urban Growth Area Management Plan (PUGAMP), you should be. The town voted to get rid of PUGAMP last year and now it’s the county’s turn to agree to dissolve it. The resolution (CPAM2012-0002) that the county is using to eliminate the PUGAMP still contains the JLMA, and if you are in it you can be the first to be absorbed by a simple “boundary line adjustment.” Sure, you have a chance to protest that at a public hearing. But, if your public hearing goes the way the recent county planning commission went (9-0 in favor of the resolution) kiss your right to stay out of the town goodbye. You can’t testify on your own behalf at the one-judge legal proceeding. And, if the judge agrees with the town and county’s boundary line adjustment, overnight, you’re in the town.

It’s been said that you don’t have to be in the JLMA to be annexed and that’s true. However, the town can still bring you into its boundaries under the following scenario. Let’s say someone has a farm or plat of undeveloped land that’s not attached to the JLMA. Under the CPAM2012-0002 resolution, the town can extend water and sewer service to that isolated piece of land, and, within five years, the properties sandwiched between the town and the isolated piece of land – including your house – can be annexed into the town. Don’t worry, you can keep your well and septic system … unless the town and/or county says they don’t meet “public health standards,” in which case you will be required to hook up to the town’s system (current cost approximately $49,000).

Look carefully at the associated map of Purcellville and the proposed JLMA area and see if your property is in it. If it is, and you don’t want to be part of the JLMA, now’s the time to say something. There will be a public hearing on adopting the CPAM2012-0002 resolution on February 13 at 6:00 p.m. at the County Center in Leesburg. This will be your last chance to let the board of supervisors know your wishes. Call the clerk of the board of supervisors to sign up to speak at 703-777-0200. Advanced sign ups will be taken until noon the day of the meeting, or sign up in person at the meeting.

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