Purcellville residents have the chance next week to voice their thoughts on how they feel the town should handle development through the next decade.
The town’s Planning Commission will hold a public hearing at the Town Hall on Thursday, July 19 at 7 p.m. to solicit resident feedback on the town’s draft Comprehensive Plan. It will use the input to “inspire, guide and direct the evolution of the community by providing clear and predictable recommendations from citizens to the town’s elected officials,” according to the intent of the plan.
Virginia Code requires the plan to address the town’s land development by including assessments of existing conditions, trends of growth and probable future community needs in an effort to promote residents’ health, safety, order, convenience, prosperity and general welfare. Once completed, the plan will act as a guide for the town through 2028.
The commission will initially present residents with a 22-slide PowerPoint presentation that outlines the planning process, key findings from previous public hearings and seven focus areas that make up 15 percent of the town’s total area—sections at the west and east ends of town, the northern and southern downtown areas, the eastern portion of Main Street and the east and west ends of Hirst Road.
Planning Commissioner Ed Neham said that last year’s community meetings showed that a majority of residents wanted to keep the town small and that they were concerned about overdevelopment. “There was a lot of change influenced by what was heard at those sessions,” he said.
The most controversial of these areas is the eastern gateway into town, since two large tracts in that area could be developed at any time, according to Planning Commission Chairman Tip Stinnette.
“That’s probably the most contentious area,” he said. “Unless [the town] buy[s] it, we cannot legislate over open space.”
The draft plan addresses some of these concerns by suggesting that new subdivisions include parks and green space and that the town strive to maintain the walkable scale of the community at large. “All of that was kind of part of what the plan looks like now,” Neham said.
Work on the current draft began three years ago, with the previous update to the Comprehensive Plan completed in 2011. The most recent major update before that came in 1998.
The commission is hoping for a good turnout next week so it can use resident input to better shape the draft.
“It would be really great to have a lot of people show up,” Neham said. “We’re all for that.”
Following the public hearing, the commission will discuss resident feedback, take a vote on the plan and send it to the Town Council, which will then hold its own public hearing before taking a final vote.
Stinnette said he thinks the commission should be able to vote on and send the plan to the Town Council by early October.