Loudoun’s smallest town is planning on a large growth spurt.
After two years’ work with Loudoun County staff to draw up revised boundaries for Hillsboro, the Town Council last week formally requested Board of Supervisors support for the plan.
The expansion would be significant. The proposed incorporation of 66 acres includes almost 30 properties and would more than double the size of the town, now covering 60 acres.
Town leaders say the expanded boundaries would better reflect the community and its history. Some properties are split by the current town boundaries and other landowners who consider themselves to be part of the town live outside the corporate limits. The boundaries were adjusted less than a decade ago, but did not resolve all the concerns.
The additions include large areas to the northwest and south of town, plus an eastern expansion that includes the Hillsboro Charter Academy, the Old Stone School and will extend to the Hillsboro United Methodist Church—all buildings that most passersby consider to be part of the town. The church cemetery would remain outside the town limits.
Mayor Roger Vance and Town Councilwoman Amy Marasco Newton say the council wants to make the town more walkable from end to end, so people can walk to the church, for example.
The council has done a lot of outreach, Vance said, beginning early this year. He noted that a degree of consultation has paid dividends in that the landowners contacted, with the exception of the church cemetery’s trustees, want to come into town. They are prepared to pay the town real estate tax, currently 6 cents per $100 of assessed value, because they want to be officially a part of the community, Vance said. The prospect of a dedicated and centralized town utility system, plus movement on the town’s traffic-calming efforts, are also influencing elements.
During a public hearing last week, property owners strongly supported the plan.
The proposal is scheduled to come before the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, at which time Hillsboro leaders hope the supervisors will pass a resolution to hold a public hearing, tentatively set for Oct. 12.
Marasco Newton and Vance praised the county mapping staff.
“They’ve been so comprehensive,” Vance said, noting the various concerns that have been raised. One has been resolved by the town’s joining FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program.
“There are a lot of protections to keep the character of the town,” Marasco Newton said, noting the town is pretty much encircled by AR-1 zoning. Development is not the intent of town leaders, who say the goal of the expansion is more to define the town’s borders, clean up split town/county parcels and clarify the town’s future footprint, which will be of help in applying for grant money, according to Vance.
They hope the expansion would be passed and recorded in the Circuit Court by early next year.
The boundary line adjustment is just one of several initiatives being pursued by the town.
The county government has approved a $4.8 million grant to help build some of the planned Rt. 9 traffic-calming measures in the town. Construction will start in 2018, and will include simultaneous laying of water and sewer lines over one or two seasons, depending on traffic management.
The council also is moving forward with an application to compete for regional funding for the larger element of its traffic calming plan, which envisions roundabouts on the east and west sides of town.