Purcellville residents shared their visions for the future of the town during two Planning Commission input sessions Saturday at the Carver Center.
The panel is undertaking an update of the Town Plan.
Planning Commission Chairman Doug McCollum, who also serves on the Town Council, said he was pleased with the turnout of more than 100 participants, including town residents and those living outside the corporate limits.
“We wanted to hear their views, what they liked as well as their gripes,” he said.
Participants were asked to shared their views on three subject areas: What do you love about Purcellville? What are the town’s biggest opportunities and challenges? And to redraw zoning districts to reflect the best areas for growth, redeveloping and preservation.
On the question, “What do you love about Purcellville?” the top attribute listed was its small town atmosphere. Others cited friendly people, community spirit, environmental and preservation record, walkability and safe environment, baseball games, Fireman’s Field, the Chapman-DeMary Trail and the W&OD Trail.
One individual hailed Purcellville as a town with “all the good qualities of ‘city’ life without the clutter.” Another cited “rural vibe with urban access.” A third noted the town’s diversity of people and ideas.
Purcellville’s position as the hub of rural wineries and breweries was cited as a positive attribute, as were its small businesses and restaurants.
In the opportunities and challenges category, participants cited mountain biking as an opportunity at the town’s Hirst Reservoir, the recreational facilities at Franklin Park and several cited a need for more recreation—something like Leesburg’s Ida Lee Park recreational facility—to serve families, teens and special needs children. The need for more good quality restaurants—not chains—was cited. Others wanted affordable housing for seniors and young people starting out on their careers.
What’s not needed? Participants cited data centers, park and ride lots in residential areas, the Northern Collector Road, and the Vineyard Square downtown redevelopment project.
Former Economic Development Advisory Commission Chairman Warren Grossman said he thought it was important to ask residents what sort of town do they want to see and what are the needs for the town.
Based on sign-in sheets and listed addresses, Senior Town Planner Daniel Galindo estimated the total morning attendance was 75, of whom 59 signed in, 48 were town residents and 11 came from outside the town boundary. Attendance was lower in the afternoon session, with an estimated 50 attendees, of whom 34 signed in, amounting to 24 town residents and 10 from out of town.
“People seemed to like the format. T hey could come and express their ideas, leave, and feel reasonably secure they hadn’t missed something,” McCollum said Monday.
Galindo was pleased by the public’s reaction, which he thought would give the town good input. “I thought it was great. I’m excited to go through the comments and correlate them,” he said.
“We’re targeting March 19 for the next public meeting,” Galindo said, noting the planning staff and lead consultant Emily Crow would review the findings. The next portion will be where he and Crow present the findings and more detailed information.
“We want to keep building on it, get into finer and finer detail,” Galindo said.
Crow said the process and results when tabulated would be posted at planpurcellville.com. Through the website, residents may continue to make comments on the project for another two weeks.