All News & Blogs
County attorney says a special service district to pay for the Harrison Road Connector is a fair path for supervisors to take
Visit the Photo Place
BY DAN TELVOCK
Spotsylvania County Attorney Jacob Stroman says the path the Board of Supervisors wants to take to pay for the Harrison Road Connector is fair to all property owners.
Stroman was responding to a letter sent last week by Gifford Hampshire, an attorney representing resident Susan Tait, who is suing the county over this road project.
The 1.5-mile road begins at the back of Spotsylvania Towne Centre off State Route 3 and ends on Harrison Road near Hazelwild Farm. The road is just west of Interstate 95.
The crux of the argument is whether it is fair to include residential properties in a proposed tax district to help pay for the road--if the residential property is rezoned to commercial or industrial.
Stroman says it is.
Hampshire says the county should exclude the residential properties because that is what was promised years ago when supervisors approved the mall rezoning.
The issue will take center stage on Aug. 11, when supervisors hold a public hearing on whether to scrap the Community Development Authority for a Special Service District as the funding mechanism for the connector road.
Hampshire says state law allows properties to be excluded from the service district to ensure that only commercial property will pay the extra real estate tax within the district's boundaries.
Supervisors have said that only commercial property in the service district will pay for the road unless residential property is rezoned to commercial. However, the ordinance says the terms of the ordinance can be changed from "time to time." That instills fear in residents who own land in the district that they could eventually be forced to help pay for the road.
Some residents who attended a July 21 Waverly Village Homeowners Association meeting accused supervisors of trying to pull a bait and switch, saying the service district doesn't provide much protection for residents.
"Before the board passes any substitute funding vehicle, it should ensure that those commercial properties are, in and of themselves, sufficient to repay the bond debt such that there is no need to hold out the option for residential properties to be included at a later time," Hampshire said.