Board sets hearing for disputed sanitary district

FRONT ROYAL – Warren County leaders expect to hear from residents about an effort to dissolve a sanitary district set up earlier this year.

The Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to schedule a public hearing for July 19 on a request by residents to join a petition to abolish the Lake Front Royal Sanitary District.

The Warren County Circuit Court allowed the creation of the sanitary district earlier this year after receiving a petition from at least 50 residents in the neighborhood. The request and petition came after the property owners’ association declined to pursue the district’s creation.

While the creation of a sanitary district requires only a petition and a court’s approval, abolishing a district requires support by the Board of Supervisors as well as a petition and a judge’s order.

Nicholas Manthos, a spokesman for the property owners seeking to dissolve the district, filed a petition with the county June 1 featuring signatures of approximately 100 residents. The county registrar needs to determine if at least 50 of the people who signed the petition also are registered voters.

Virginia code states that any sanitary district can be abolished upon the petition of the governing body and no fewer than 50 qualified voters living within the district. The county publishes the notice of the hearing for three weeks. The circuit court then holds a hearing on the petition 10 days after completion of the publication of the notice. The judge then enters an order abolishing the district only if any bonds issued have been redeemed and used; or unless all obligations and functions of the district have been taken over as a whole; or unless the purposes for which the district was created are impractical or impossible of accomplishment and no obligations have been incurred.

Also at the meeting, supervisors:
• Approved the capital improvement plan for fiscal 2017, amended to reflect that a future replacement station for the Rivermont Volunteer Fire Department now places third on the list of prioritized projects. The change came after supporters of the fire department expressed concern that the project fell too low on the list of priorities. The new version of the plan also reflects an increase in the estimated cost of the project from $2 million to $3 million. The county and supervisors use the capital improvement plan as a guide. The county’s fiscal budgets list projects when funded.
• Approved a conditional-use permit requested by Susan Signorella to operate her property at 241 Wildcat Drive, Front Royal, as a short-term tourist rental. Aside from the applicant, no one spoke during the public hearing on the request. A letter from the Aspen Hill Farms Property Owners Association president indicates the organization’s support for the permit.
• Approved a conditional-use permit requested by David Williams to operate a commercial repair garage for recreational vehicles at 85 Shady Lane. Aside from the applicant, no one spoke during the public hearing.
• Approved a conditional-use permit requested by Limeton Union Church for a church at 9 Limeton Church Road. The existing church was built prior to the establishment of a zoning ordinance and is considered non-conforming. The owners wish to expand the church’s fellowship hall and vestibule area to allow space for accessible bathrooms and an elevator. Alan Zabel spoke on behalf of the applicants during the public hearing.
• Approved a request by Franklin and Sherry Barb to modify the conditional-use permit for private camping at 205 Boundary Ave. The Barbs sought to add lots under the permit. No one spoke during the public hearing on the request.

Contact staff writer Alex Bridges at 540-465-5137 ext. 125, or