Semmes, Mason to Testify for Town in Dam Lawsuit

Two former town employees will testify on Leesburg’s behalf in an upcoming trial determining ownership of a stormwater management dam.

Former public works director Tom Mason and Martha Mason Semmes, who formerly served as the town’s planning and zoning director, have been tapped by the Town Council to serve as witnesses to testify on the town’s behalf at a deposition requested by the Exeter homeowner’s association.

The town is set to go to trial with its largest HOA in February over ownership of its stormwater management dam. While both sides agree that the dam falls on HOA property, dispute remains as to whether the town or the HOA is on the hook for repairs or enhancements to the dam. Currently, the state of Virginia has required that the dam be brought into compliance with state regulations since it is considered a high-hazard dam. The price tag for those upgrades is in the neighborhood of $1 million and does not include annual maintenance costs.

According to a staff report, the two former town employees have been identified as having the “requisite knowledge” to testify on the town’s behalf. Semmes served as the town’s planning and zoning director in the 1980s and recently retired as Middleburg’s town administrator. Mason was hired with the town in 1985 and retired from the position of public works director in 2016. He currently serves as a flexible, part-time employee with Leesburg.

The witnesses will be paid $75/hour for their time. The three-day trial is scheduled to begin Feb. 25, 2019.

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