Connect with us

Local Government

Warren and Clarke Counties discuss boundary readjustment

Published

on

As County Administrator Doug Stanley fields questions, Deputy County Administrator Bob Childress points to impacted area of Shenandoah Farms along the Warren-Clarke border. Photos/Roger Bianchini

It appears a border war between Warren and Clarke Counties in the Shenandoah Farms area will be averted – though some concerns over possible insurgent behavior has been expressed by a contracted land surveyor – sort of.

Of the potential of area citizen unhappiness at being moved from one county to the other in a final resolution of existing boundary anomalies, licensed land surveyor W. Stuart Dunn wrote the two county administrators on July 31: “It is our expectation that not all the home owners of Shenandoah Farms will be pleased with the location of the county line.  This could lead to destruction of monuments, something that cannot be controlled.  Additionally we might encounter some opposition to us completing our work.”

Dunn did not elaborate on relocation into which county from the other might be expected to cause the most citizen unhappiness.  The “monuments” Dunn referred to are placed boundary markers indicating latitude, longitude and elevations along established boundary lines.

It is the absence of such markers that has led to the current confusion surrounding the Warren-Clarke County line in Shenandoah Farms, a subdivision and Warren County Sanitary District that straddles that county line.

We went with arms outstretched in a prayerful hope for peace – Stanley and Childress may have been gesturing …

As summarized in land surveyor Dunn’s letter to the Warren and Clarke County administrators the original boundary “does not call for any monuments established at that time (1836).  Instead the description relied on a number of naturally occurring features.  This has led to some doubts as to the correct location of this line.”

With no markers placed originally and naturally-occurring landmarks referenced undergoing some changes over the last 182 years you have the current situation.  That situation, as explained by Warren County Administrator Doug Stanley and Deputy County Administrator Bob Childress at a Tuesday morning county board work session is that some citizens physically in one county are being taxed, voting and sending their children to school in the other.

Childress explained that the boundary was revisited in the 1970’s but that no definitive boundary adjustment was done at that time.

According to maps presented in the agenda packet there are 10 lots with seven homes and two building permits in place straddling the county line that would be most directly impacted.  Those lie across Howellsville Road from Warren County Volunteer Fire and Rescue Company 6 headquarters.  For the most part those lots, like the fire station itself, are considered in Warren County but are actually in Clarke County.

“I don’t think Clarke has any heartburn” about adjusting the boundary of those lots into Warren County, Stanley told the supervisors.  It was observed that Company 6 serves addresses in both counties.  Stanley later told Royal Examiner that Company 6 is currently 100% managed by Warren County Fire & Rescue, with Clarke County making a contribution to its operations.

“I don’t think it’s something to fall on our sword over,” Stanley said of drawing a “(boundary) line in the sand” around the fire station.

The yellow parcels, like the fire station across Howellsville Road to upper left, are believed to be in Clarke County from the red, dotted line.

Other lots taxed in one county but physically in the other appeared to be larger Agriculturally-zoned and undeveloped lots

Stanley told the supervisors that his hope is that the two county governments will agree to a boundary realignment that as possible will keep people in the county they have believed themselves to be in, and so their children in the same school system.

Voting impacts

Stanley said the issue came to the fore from updated questions from the State Elections Board on which voting districts some county citizens were in.

“We went to Clarke officials and said ‘we have an issue that needs to be resolved,’ ” Stanley told the supervisors.

One immediate consequence of what has been discovered is that some residents who vote in Warren County but are actually physically in Clarke County, or vice versa if there are such cases, may have to alter their voting precinct or district in the upcoming November mid-term elections.

Both Warren County Registrar Carol Tobin and Building Official David Beahm attended the work session due to the potential electoral district and building permit implications of the new boundary study.

Following the revelation about the voting district alterations, Board Chairman Tony Carter drew laughter when he commented, “We may have to investigate Tom’s last election.”  Tom is Supervisor Tom Sayre, in whose Shenandoah District the boundary anomalies lie.  However, with so few residences involved Sayre’s electoral status seems safe.

Both County Registrar Carol Tobin and Building Official David Beahm were present to address potential voting district and building permit impacts.

Public Hearings next year

Stanley noted that with the necessary surveying and negotiations between the two county governments it was unlikely a public hearing on an agreed-upon plan could be held prior to the spring of 2019.

“Will they have any choice?” South River Supervisor Linda Glavis asked of citizens in the affected area.

County Administrator Stanley noted that impacted citizens on both sides of the line will have the opportunity to speak at their respective, or even both, county board public hearings on the matter.

A board consensus was reached to notify Clarke officials that Warren was ready to move forward with the boundary study.

Estimated survey costs submitted by Dunn Land Surveys, Inc. were $8,500 in establishing GPS controls; $15,500 for field survey work; and $850 per monument boundary marker.  Work beyond the initially submitted contract will be billed at $125 per hour for field work and $100 per hour for office work.

Share the News:

Local Government

Town Council’s goal setting session ends – Crooked Run West to Parking Meters – Part 6

Published

on

Town Manager Joe Waltz wraps uo the Goal Setting Work Session.

At the August 19th Front Royal Town Council work session, the Council had a list of seventeen items to discuss. The first seven goals have been covered in previous stories on the Royal Examiner.

In part 6 of our coverage, the rest of the list of seventeen goals were discussed. This include:

  • Crooked Run West
  • Code Enforcement
  • Route 522 Corridor Water Reliability/Redundancy Project
  • Project Budgets
  • Compensation Study (Year 3 implementation)
  • Old Town Hall
  • Property Maintenance
  • Workforce Housing
  • Valley Health PILOT
  • Parking Meters

Town Manager Joe Waltz leads the discussion.

Share the News:
Continue Reading

Local Government

Town Council’s goal setting session continues – Health Insurance – Part 5

Published

on

Town Manager Joe Waltz leads the discussion on the Town’s Health Insurance.

At the August 19th Front Royal Town Council work session, the Council had a list of seventeen items to discuss. The first six goals have been covered in previous stories on the Royal Examiner.

In part 5 of our coverage, Goal item number 7 was discussed – Health Insurance.

Town Manager Joe Waltz leads the discussion.

Share the News:
Continue Reading

Local Government

Town Council’s goal setting session continues – Happy Creek Area – Part 4

Published

on

Town Manager Joe Waltz leads the discussion. Photo and video by Mark Williams, Royal Examiner.

At the August 19th Front Royal Town Council work session, the Council had a list of seventeen items to discuss. The first five goals have been covered in previous stories on the Royal Examiner.

In part 4 of our coverage, Goal item number 6 was discussed – Happy Creek area development, infrastructure.

Council indicated staff is working to get development of the Happy Creek Road area moving forward. A primary goal is to qualify for a funding split with VDOT on area road infrastructure improvements. New road infrastructure improvements were designed over 20 years ago. That plan needs to be redesigned and reengineered in order to improve the Town’s ability to qualify for a VDOT funding split.

The road plans for the area are closely tied to the Front Royal Limited Partnership (FRLP) plans for a primarily residential development of some one thousand homes on about 750 acres of land on the town’s east side.

Staff informed council that a revised road plan needed to be created by October 30. It was also determined that a plan for roads in the nearby designated Urban Development Area and near the new Valley Health hospital project also be completed by October 30. Council also decided to reevaluate PND (Planned Neighborhood Development) /Subdivision ordinances.

“I’m not finger pointing the planning division, I want to find a happy medium between what the planning division and the town council wants,” Interim Mayor Tederick stated. A council consensus was to create a committee to address the issues with PND/subdivision ordinances by September 30. This committee will provide a report to the council by January 30, 2020.

Share the News:
Continue Reading

Local Government

Town Council’s goal setting session continues – Pedestrian safety – Part 3

Published

on

Town Manager Joe Waltz leads the discuss on Pedestrian Safety.

At the August 19th Front Royal Town Council work session, the Council had a list of seventeen items to discuss. The first two were covered in this related story:

Town tackles priority issues over Melting Pot pizza at 4-hour work session – Part 1

In Part 2, the Council discussed Streets/Infrastructure improvements (paving, storm sewer, curb & gutter and sidewalks) and I & I, or Inflow and Infiltration, issues with its drainage system.

Town Council’s goal setting session continues – Infrastructure – Part 2

Now with Part 3, the Council discussed pedestrian safety.

Pedestrian Safety has been championed by Vice Mayor Bill Sealock this past year. The Town has taken steps to heighten public awareness and elevate common sense in conjunction with existing traffic laws to reduce the likelihood of more vehicular-foot traffic collisions.

Goal 5, Pedestrian safety:

The final high priority item was the ongoing issue of pedestrian safety on Town roads. South Street and North Shenandoah Avenue continue to be high-traffic areas of primary concern. It was noted that pedestrian-vehicle accidents have primarily occurred at dusk and dawn during the busiest traffic flow times of the day. It was noted that a 50/50 cost sharing request has been submitted to VDOT for improved lighting to combat the visibility issue.

Additional signage and improved pedestrian crossing markings are also planned. Educating pedestrians to utilizing marked crossings and alerting drivers to pedestrian right of way in these areas continues to be a crucial factor in heading off future vehicle-pedestrian collisions.

“I’d like this council to review the study and recommendations on getting more curb; it’s more complicated but I think it would help with increasing pedestrian safety,” Councilman Meza said.

Council determined to re-evaluate the South Street plan by September 30, and to develop a safety plan for Kerfoot Avenue near the soccer fields by September 29.

The Royal Examiner’s camera was there:

Share the News:
Continue Reading

EDA in Focus

EDA Reform Committee weighs options as information being assembled

Published

on

The EDA Reform Committee gets down to business – Royal Examiner Photos/Roger Bianchini. Video by Mark Williams, Royal Examiner.

The committee grown out of the first full joint Town-County meeting to discuss the future of the Economic Development Authority held its first meeting at 5:30 p.m. Thursday afternoon, August 22, at the Front Royal Town Hall.

Among topics of discussion were:
– election of a chairman;

– the “Pros and Cons of limiting the EDA mission”;
– “Types of EDA Structures and Relationships in Virginia and Nationally”;
– “How to dissolve the EDA legally”;
– The “EDA filing bankruptcy”;
– And the advisability of separate County, EDA legal counsel.

The short answers were: Archie Fox; probably a good idea to focus on commercial and industrial recruitment and facilitating a positive environment for existing businesses; regional associations and independent ones; probably cannot be done within the existing financial situation but long run make EDA employees County staff; not enough info to determine an answer but probably not; and perhaps separate counsel as a short term trial in the wake of current County-EDA Attorney Dan Whitten’s pending departure for another job on September 13 with his assistant on maternity leave until mid October.

Soon-to-be-departed for other horizons County-EDA Attorney Dan Whitten, left, Committee Chair Archie Fox and new EDA Executive Director Doug Parsons listen to the noise from the other side of the table.

Some public skepticism greeted the announcement of the committee’s makeup of the Town Manager and County Administrator, County and Town Attorneys, EDA Executive Director and one representative of both the Front Royal Town Council and Warren County Board of Supervisors.

And while those two elected municipal officials and appointed administrative and legal staffers may be best positioned bureaucratically to develop a game plan to guide the EDA forward or not, it was their presence in their positions in recent years – save new EDA Executive Director Doug Parsons – as the EDA financial fraud scandal was allegedly developing under their collective noses that contributed to any public perception that a municipally-led committee might not be best qualified to reach a permanent solution to see past mistakes are not repeated.

Perhaps in reaction to such public skepticism, Interim Front Royal Mayor Matt Tederick told Royal Examiner in a recent video interview that he plans to suggest creation of a citizen committee to review the EDA Reform Committee findings.

Interested spectators included six of the seven EDA Board of Directors, from left in back row are Greg Harold and Ed Daley, and in front of them from left, Tom Patteson, Jorie Martin, Jeff Browne and Gray Blanton – only Mark Baker was absent.

But judge for yourself – watch the committee, whose name newest EDA Board member Jorie Martin suggested at Friday morning’s monthly EDA meeting be considered for a change, get their feet wet in establishing what went wrong in the past and how such mistakes can avoid being repeated in the future as the EDA board and staff move to right the ship of community economic development in this Royal Examiner video (And Jorie, we have a name suggestion not so reminiscent of “Reform School” – how about The EDA Steering Committee? After all, they are steering toward a plan of action.)

Share the News:
Continue Reading

Local Government

Town Council’s goal setting session continues – Infrastructure – Part 2

Published

on

Town Manager Joe Waltz continues the goal setting work session with streets, infrastructure and I&I issues. Photo and video by Mark Williams, Royal Examiner.

The Town Council continued the goal setting session with the next two items.

Goal 3 – Streets infrastructure improvements:

The council next addressed its road infrastructure, putting it high on its budget priority list. “We need to address the infrastructure, it’s a real problem here, as it’s falling apart in my area. The budget will not sustain a project to fix our streets at this time, we need another source of financing,” Councilman Tewalt told his colleagues.

Several councilmen suggested a bond issue or loan might be required to take on this problem.

There were several particular problem roads discussed such as the Bridge on Prospect Street, as well as traffic lights on North Shenandoah, which are in need of repair. Eventually an infrastructure plan with cost estimates was proposed to catalog all the roads and bridges that need repairs. Council will seek fund alternatives to help with cost estimates given that the projected budget can’t withstand the number of repairs needed. A project plan is scheduled for submission and approval by September 30.

Goal 4 – I&I issues:

The Council then addressed I & I, or Inflow and Infiltration, issues with its drainage system. Due to heavy rainfall, the council had a meeting with DEQ (Department of Environmental Quality) and have been under a State Consent Order on upgrades since 2009. Consequently a new meeting is scheduled to rewrite the order because of existing violations. Apparently plans of action are already in effect and the staff estimate is about $3 million dollars to come into compliance with mandated upgrades to control stormwater runoff.

The unusually high amount of rain last year was pointed to as the cause of the overflow issues and consequent Consent Order water treatment violations. Flow tests will be conducted in the spring of 2020 to see if the repairs and upgrades have worked and brought the I&I system up to code. However, these repairs are on town owned properties, but involve customer owned pipes that have not yet been repaired. Council has designed a plan for long term repairs and upgrades to the customer-owned pipes. This plan is scheduled to be contracted by December 31 of this year.

So now we’ve covered four out of seventeen – Part Three will be Pedestrian Safety.

Pedestrian Safety has been championed by Vice Mayor Bill Sealock this past year. The Town has taken steps to heighten public awareness and elevate common sense in conjunction with existing traffic laws to reduce the likelihood of more vehicular-foot traffic collisions.

The Royal Examiner’s camera was there:

Town tackles priority issues over Melting Pot pizza at 4-hour work session – Part 1

Front Royal grapples with pedestrian safety in wake of two fatalities

One day after traffic safety discussion, another pedestrian struck in town

Share the News:
Continue Reading

King Cartoons

Front Royal
59°
Mostly Cloudy
06:3619:52 EDT
Feels like: 59°F
Wind: 2mph N
Humidity: 88%
Pressure: 30.17"Hg
UV index: 0
MonTueWed
77/62°F
79/65°F
84/58°F

Upcoming Events

Aug
27
Tue
1:30 pm Botanicals in Watercolor I @ Art in the Valley
Botanicals in Watercolor I @ Art in the Valley
Aug 27 @ 1:30 pm – 4:00 pm
Botanicals in Watercolor I @ Art in the Valley
This four week course with the instructor, Elena Maza, will deal with the basic three-primary color palette, different pigments and how they interact, how to mix all colors from three primary colors, how to apply[...]
Aug
29
Thu
1:00 pm Substance Abuse and Recovery Summit @ Mountain Home Bed and Breakfast
Substance Abuse and Recovery Summit @ Mountain Home Bed and Breakfast
Aug 29 @ 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Substance Abuse and Recovery Summit @ Mountain Home Bed and Breakfast
The McShin Foundation and RSW (Rappahannock, Shenandoah, and Warren County) Regional Jail would like to invite you to our substance abuse and recovery summit to be held on August 29, 2019, in Front Royal, Virginia.[...]
Aug
31
Sat
1:00 pm DJ Skyhigh’s End of Summer Blast @ Warren County Fair
DJ Skyhigh’s End of Summer Blast @ Warren County Fair
Aug 31 @ 1:00 pm – 9:00 pm
DJ Skyhigh's End of Summer Blast @ Warren County Fair
Come join DJ Skyhigh for his end of summer blast. Lisa Bell will be hosting wine tastings (at an additional charge) of over 50 international wines. Wines may also be purchased by the bottle to[...]
Sep
3
Tue
1:30 pm Watercolor Landscapes @ Art in the Valley
Watercolor Landscapes @ Art in the Valley
Sep 3 @ 1:30 pm – 4:30 pm
Watercolor Landscapes @ Art in the Valley
This four week course with instructor Elena Maza will focus on learning basic skills to create watercolor landscape paintings: basic composition and use of color and value to create a sense of depth and distance.[...]
Sep
4
Wed
1:30 pm Botanical Drawing @ Art in the Valley
Botanical Drawing @ Art in the Valley
Sep 4 @ 1:30 pm – 4:30 pm
Botanical Drawing @ Art in the Valley
Learn and practice the art of botanical drawing in pencil with local artist and instructor Elena Maza. This four session course will focus on learning basic drawing skills as applied to botanicals: basic line drawings[...]
Sep
7
Sat
10:00 am SHS Marching Band Mattress Fundr... @ Skyline High School
SHS Marching Band Mattress Fundr... @ Skyline High School
Sep 7 @ 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
SHS Marching Band Mattress Fundraiser @ Skyline High School
Skyline High School Marching Band is having a mattress sale fundraiser on Saturday, September 7, 2019, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Skyline High School (151 Skyline Vista Drive, Front Royal, Virginia). There will[...]
12:00 pm 2019 NFL Kick Off Party @ Sly Fox Golf Club
2019 NFL Kick Off Party @ Sly Fox Golf Club
Sep 7 @ 12:00 pm – 8:00 pm
2019 NFL Kick Off Party @ Sly Fox Golf Club
Golf – “Captains Choice Format” 12pm Shotgun “Tail Gate” Food and Drinks – 5pm to 8pm Golf + Food & Drinks $45 Tail Gate Food & Drinks Only $15
1:00 pm Strokes of Creativity: 1-year ce... @ Strokes of Creativity
Strokes of Creativity: 1-year ce... @ Strokes of Creativity
Sep 7 @ 1:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Strokes of Creativity: 1-year celebration @ Strokes of Creativity
Join us for our 1-year celebration on Sept. 7 from 1-6 pm. We will have demos, and Artist meet and greets. Unique and one of kind items, face painting, crafts and Chase from Paw Patrol will[...]
6:00 pm FRUMC Celebrates Homecoming @ Front Royal United Methodist Church
FRUMC Celebrates Homecoming @ Front Royal United Methodist Church
Sep 7 @ 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
FRUMC Celebrates Homecoming @ Front Royal United Methodist Church
In tandem with the 110th anniversary of the church building, the Front Royal United Methodist Church will host Homecoming ceremonies on Saturday and Sunday, September 7th and 8th. Five previous pastors have agreed to return[...]
Sep
10
Tue
1:30 pm Watercolor Landscapes @ Art in the Valley
Watercolor Landscapes @ Art in the Valley
Sep 10 @ 1:30 pm – 4:30 pm
Watercolor Landscapes @ Art in the Valley
This four week course with instructor Elena Maza will focus on learning basic skills to create watercolor landscape paintings: basic composition and use of color and value to create a sense of depth and distance.[...]