Front Royal poised to adopt some R1A District changes
6 May 2016 News
FRONT ROYAL, Va. – This week (Monday, May 2) the Front Royal Town Council reviewed Draft Amendments to sub-division Cluster Development in R-1-A Districts. The changes developed by the Planning Commission are a result of negotiations with the Front Royal Limited Partnership on development of 604-acres transferred into Town from Warren County as part of a “friendly boundary adjustment” several years ago.
The draft changes will allow for reductions in minimum lot sizes, setbacks and other space variables in exchange for larger, community open spaces, including recreational amenities, and natural buffering proffered by the developer during negotiations tied to the Town-County boundary adjustment.
Existing R-1-A Districts in Front Royal will not be impacted by the changes due to a 20-acre minimum requirement. Citing vagaries about control of recreational amenities and possible transfers into Town or County control, only Councilman Gene Tewalt stated opposition to the changes.
The development of as many as 818 residential units on the FRLP property north of Happy Creek Road and west of Shenandoah Shores Road is envisioned as the primary future residential expansion on Town or County land.
In stating his objection to even the potential of Town control of parks or recreation facilities tied to the FRLP development, Tewalt said, “I don’t want to the Town to go back into the Recreation business … I think we are holding a future Council responsible for taking over a park.”
As part of the ongoing revenue negotiations over North Corridor commercial development in the County enabled by Town extension of its water and sewer service, the County has taken over total funding responsibilities for several services formerly shared with the Town of Front Royal. Parks and Recreation is among those, as are the Municipal Airport, Fire and Rescue, the Public Library, and the Economic Development Authority.
What was termed “Double Taxation” on Town citizens for such services benefiting County residents in and out of Town was long a sore point with many Town officials. As both Town and County citizens, for years Front Royal residents paid both Town and County taxes to support those services. Removal of that dual tax burden on Town citizens has been one of the County strategies in response to Town issues with equitable tax revenue disbursement from commercial development in the County’s North Corridor.
Submitted by Roger Bianchini