The nearly 1,000-acre Morven Park just north of the Town of Leesburg is set to move into the town's limits following the Loudoun Board of Supervisors' approval earlier this month.
On May 15 the supervisors unanimously signed off on a resolution allowing County Attorney Jack Roberts to work with Leesburg's attorney to finalize the boundary line adjustment.
A nonprofit, Morven Park is operated by the Westmoreland Davis Memorial Foundation. The foundation's Board of Trustees in 2011 began drafting a master plan for the park, the results of which led the organization to pursue moving into Leesburg's limits.
That plan includes “coordinating special events conducted at Morven Park with the Town of Leesburg, improving alternate access” to the park and “maximizing the historic educational and equestrian programs and active recreation areas/facilities of Morven Park through partnerships with the Town of Leesburg, the Loudoun County School Board and other interest groups,” according to Loudoun County documents.
Frank Milligan, Morven Park's executive director, said after discussions with both town and county officials he believes the park can more quickly achieve the objectives laid out. Ultimately, Milligan said, the park, with the assistance of Leesburg Town Council, hopes to establish a “historical zone” district, similar to what's established at Monticello in Charlottesville.
A National Register Historic Property, Morven Park was home to Gov. Westmoreland Davis of Virginia. It's estimated the park hosts more than 100,000 visitors each year.
Milligan said time and cost are the two key factors in shifting into the town limits. Establishing the “historical zoning district” through the county, while possible, would've likely taken more time and been more expensive.
Loudoun County Supervisor Geary Higgins (R-Catoctin) said he doesn't believe it reflects poorly on the county – that park officials find it easier to acquire zoning and regulatory approval, and that it's less expensive, with the town than with the county.
Higgins, who introduced the boundary line measure along with Supervisor Ken Reid (R-Leesburg), said the board wants Morven Park to be successful, and if it's easier to work with the town than the county then the supervisors were willing to accommodate.
Leesburg Town Council must still sign off on the boundary line adjustment to officially bring the park into the town. The council is scheduled to take action on the matter in July.
This story has been updated from a previous version to clarify that Leesburg Town Council has yet to finalize the boundary line adjustment.