Formally established in 1802, Hillsboro has long been Loudoun’s smallest town—and the fourth smallest in the commonwealth—with a population hovering around 80 and an acreage of about 56 acres.
But at 2 p.m. Dec. 28, that all changed when Clerk of the Loudoun Circuit Court Gary M. Clemens recorded Judge Thomas D. Horne’s court order finalizing the boundary line adjustment between the county and the town that tripled the size of the municipality.
With the expansion, the town covers 172 acres and its population is estimated to rise to approximately 115 people.
Round Hill now ranks as Loudoun’s smallest town, with about 130 acres. Hamilton has 190 acres.
Mayor Roger Vance thanked county supervisors and Town Attorney Liz Whiting for leading the way through the process.
Councilwoman Amy Marasco noted that the achievement is just the first piece of the town’s larger plans for street and utility improvements and to promote business growth.
Both Supervisor Tony Buffington (R-Blue Ridge) and County Chairwoman Phyllis J. Randall (D-At Large) supported the town’s efforts to create more natural boundaries, addressing several lots that were bisected by the town limits and bringing in homes and building that are closely associated with the town. Those included the Old Stone School, the community’s civic center where the Town Council holds its meetings, and the Hillsboro Charter Academy.
Town leaders have spent a decade planning traffic-calming measures on its main street—busy Rt. 9—and on water and sewer system upgrades. The revised boundaries will permit the town to set defined service areas for the water and wastewater systems, as well as to bring the entire traffic-calming project within the town’s jurisdiction, making those projects easier to manage, according to Vance.
The new additions to town are significant. In addition to the town-owned Old Stone School and the Hillsboro Charter Academy, the expansion incorporates the Hillsboro Bed & Breakfast on Stoney Point Road, the United Methodist Church and the Stoneybrook Farm and Market.
Overall, the increased boundaries will be beneficial to the town, Marasco said. “We can’t survive as residential only,” she said, noting the council could now “reimagine” the Old School for new uses that may better capitalize on the 16,000 vehicles that pass through town every day. Among the possibilities she sees are restaurants, and small retail shops, perhaps stores that could serve hiking and biking enthusiasts who are expected to visit the new state park to be developed northwest of town.
“I’d like to see appropriate sized rural businesses, such as a craft brewery,” she said.
And the success of Stoneybrook Farm and Market over the past several years is likely to lead to expansion and that would now be dictated by town zoning rules, not the county’s. “They’ve told the town they’re excited to expand into a full-service deli and additional dining seats,” Marasco said. “We’re not overly strict, but we want it to be in keeping with the look of the town.”
Marasco’s 32-acre bed and breakfast property had been split between the town and county. And now, if she wants to build a barn, she’ll be working within the town’s Zoning Ordinance.
With two B&Bs in town, the town will increase its Transient Occupancy Tax revenues and will collect a 4 percent meals tax on food sales at Stoneybrook, Vance said.
More of Rt. 9 also is within the town’s jurisdiction. “We’re going to be requesting speed limit reductions to 25 miles per hour,” Vance said.
The potential for business development is also increased, Vance said. Last year, the town aided in the formation of the Greater Hillsboro Business Alliance, a loose confederation of business ventures in the area.
Buffington was very pleased with the final accord.
“This is very important for the town and for me. Ever since I came into office I’ve been working with Roger, Amy Marasco and Liz Whiting. We’ve had a good working relationship,” Buffington said this week, crediting Whiting with tireless work with the county’s legal and planning staff to make sure everything was done correctly.
Buffington considers Hillsboro a beautiful little town. “It’s even older than America,” he said, referring to settlement records that date to 1746. “I want to do what we can to revitalize it, and make it a great place to work, live and play.”
Next on the agenda, Buffington said, is to bring back Hillsboro’s post office and ZIP code designation. The town’s post office at the Hill Tom Market was closed in postal service cutbacks. Today, the town is served by the Purcellville Post Office 10 miles away.
“They need a post office to have an identity for the town,” Buffington said, adding he is working with the mayor and U.S. Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-10-VA) to achieve that goal.
Vance and the council see all these movements as interrelated, all adding to the town’s momentum.
The next challenge is finding the funding needed for the street and utility projects. But, the boundary expansion and the coming of the new state park, “put the town in a better position, and brings the picture into better focus,” Vance said.