Town Council Meeting October 11
Zoning Text Amendment:
In early October, the Purcellville Town Council voted to send zoning text amendments to the Planning Commission for review. The motion, initiated by Council Member Kelli Grim passed 5-2 with Council Members Doug McCollum and Chris Bledsoe voting no. The zoning text aments include the following:
Change the zoning ordinance back to lower the maximum building heights allowed in the C-4 District. This includes 21st Street, Hatcher and parts of Main Street – the Downtown Central Commercial District. In 2008, the Lazaro Council raised the building heights allowed in this district from 35 ft. to 65 ft. – six stories – based on the advocacy of developers John Chapman and Mark Nelis and the Vineyard Square development. This review, if passed, would keep building heights in line with the original purpose of the district.
Change the ordinance to add tree preservation requirements on non-residential properties, and to increase the required tree and vegetative plantings within the stream and creek buffer.
Added screening and buffering requirements – this would provide buffers and screening between commercial and residential properties to minimize harmful impacts.
Change the ordinance to add civil financial penalties for violations to the zoning ordinance related to signage, landscaping, starting a building project without a permit, outside storage of vehicles on commercial property to name a few.
Grim, who is also the council liaison to the planning commission, said that the review was based on the Comprehensive Plan and issues that had been on the Planning Commission priority list for quite some time. Grim pointed out that Catoctin Corner (Main Street and 287) was a perfect example, noting that if there had been an updated zoning text amendment at that time, some mature trees could have been saved. She noted that the residents have expressed their concern about these issues. “At the time in 2008 when the changes occurred, they were in direct conflict with the Comprehensive Plan.”
Council Member Nedim Ogelman said, “As members of the Town Council what we do is we express and represent the values of our citizens. This is a value that has been expressed by the citizens of the town and by the Planning Commission – we are saying yes we want you to pursue these things.”
The Council voted unanimously not to raise the business tax rates for the next year.
The Town Council also voted to pass the sports grant funding program, supports sports organizations and provides $5,200 in funding. Started in 2008, this has been managed by the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board to help various teams from around Loudoun County came to the Town Council asking for money. Said Grim, “We want to help first and foremost the children in our community.” Council Member Karen Jimmerson said, “I would like to see it go to kids who can’t afford to play sports – so that they can and that they are residents of Town because it is their tax money.” She continued, “My biggest problem with this is that it doesn’t go to the kids who need it. Most of the teams that have gotten the money in prior years have not been Purcellville based teams – they are from all over.”
Town Council Meeting October 25
Local Control Over Annexations
Council Member Nedim Ogelman raised the issue of two resolutions passed by a majority on previous council.
One resolution considers the annexation wishes of Loudoun County land owners as a part of Purcellville’s Comprehensive Plan Review.
The other resolution requests that the County Board of Supervisors collaborate with the Town to consider the annexation proposal from Pleasants Kline – Purcellville Crossroads.
Ogelman said he would like to revise part of the first resolution and repeal the second resolution. Ogelman said he wants to take action on these resolutions because they do not represent the values that most Purcellville citizens expressed during the election. All of the newly-elected members of the Town Council campaigned on not expanding Purcellville’s boarders, unless there was widespread citizen demand. These two resolutions as written don’t “reflect what we’re doing and why we are having a Comprehensive Plan,” said Ogelman.
Town staff has been using the two resolutions as a guide to the Planning Commission during the review.