Leesburg Town Council began legal action against Loudoun County on July 10 after the Board of Supervisors voted to make Loudoun Water, and not Leesburg, the presumed utility service for residents in the Leesburg Joint Land Management Area, or JLMA.
Council voted 6-1, with Councilman Ron Campbell the only nay vote, after an hour-long closed session.
The JLMA is land bordering Leesburg that has been managed jointly by the town and county since 1991. Leesburg has the choice to annex the land as it grows. The area exists to help Leesburg plan for the future, and the town considers any potential utility funds a vital part of future revenue.
In the resolution Mayor Kelly Burk read after the closed session, Leesburg criticized the county for not discussing this change with the town before voting on it June 20.
“The process was poor, it was not transparent, it was rushed, there was no study, there was no input from the town or any other stakeholder, and there was no good faith effort demonstrated by the county to meet with the town to discuss and negotiate positive solutions for both parties,” Burk read.
Council instructed staff to bring legal action against the county challenging the amendment, to initiate annexation studies of all or part of the town’s JLMA, to appropriate $150,000 from the fiscal 2020 budget to cover the cost of studies and litigation, to communicate with the county that the town is still open to negotiation and to continue its discussion with the county to annex the part of the JLMA that contains the new Compass Creek development. Council initiated this annexation in fall 2018.
Most on council made no comments about the vote, but Councilman Ron Campbell thought the lawsuit would bring more problems than benefits.
“I believe it is ill-timed, without careful thought and study. I believe it has negative consequences to the future of this town and all the residents without proper consideration of the risks as well as the advantages,” he said.