The Leesburg Town Council voted Nov. 26 to affirm a resolution that would leave Route 15 out of the boundary line adjustments to incorporate Morven Park.
The council initiated the process to incorporate Morven Park into town limits during a Sept. 10 meeting, after the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors unanimously signed off on a measure to move the 990 acre estate, formerly the home of Virginia Gov. Westmoreland Davis, into Leesburg town limits. The Board of Trustees for Morven Park voted to pursue a boundary line adjustment in December 2012.
Though town council members iterated concerns about cost and long-term effects, Assistant Town Manager Scott Parker explained that the process to initiate the boundary line adjustment would address those issues as they arose through other resolutions.
After exploring the prospect of incorporating a part of Route 15 into the Town of Leesburg, town staff ultimately recommended against the measure.
“It's quite feasible that any fix or solution [on acquired parts of Route 15] the town would be obliged to pay for,” Parker said Nov. 25 at the Leesburg Town Council work session.
Additionally, town staff consulted with the Leesburg Police Department, who stated the acquisition of Route 15 “is not paramount that the road be incorporated for the purpose of enforcement of ingress and egress for events at Morven Park.”
Also under consideration was putting Virginia Tech's Marion Scott duPont Equine Center within town limits. The town has reached out to Virginia Tech for its input on the prospect and the two parties are still talking.
Town staff said it's not necessary for an agreement to be in place at this point in the boundary line adjustment process.
They also noted that bringing in park of Route 15 would create a “doughnut hole,” where a parcel of property owned by the O'Carroll family would be within county jurisdiction, while the surrounding area is town jurisdiction.
Ultimately, the town council voted 6-1 to leave out Route 15 in the boundary line adjustment process, with Tom Dunn dissenting.
“I'm opposed to Morven Park coming into town,” Dunn said. “It's not in the town's best interest and is going to ultimately cost us more money. We're not gaining anything we don't already have.”
Dave Butler was one of the few town council members who spoke on behalf of the resolution at the unusually quick town council meeting.
“Having this in would just complicate things in the future and is liable to cost the town significantly more money,” Butler explained.
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