Power firm to consider golf club land for project

FRONT ROYAL – A company specializing in energy production might consider bringing a project to Warren County.

The Board of Supervisors voted 5-0 at its meeting Tuesday to enter into a letter of intent with American Power Ventures LLC to buy or lease a 41.26-acre portion of property owned by the Front Royal Golf Club. North River Supervisor Daniel J. Murray Jr. made the motion seconded by Vice Chairman Tony Carter. The board took action after discussing the matter in closed session.

The letter of intent remains in effect until Oct. 31 and during such term the county plans to negotiate exclusively with American Power Ventures. The terms included with the letter state that American Power Ventures could lease the land for $10,000 per acre annually or buy the property for $8.25 million should the firm decide to pursue a project on the site.

County Administrator Doug Stanley said Wednesday that American Power Ventures – a developer of renewable and gas-fired power plants – is in the very early stages of identifying possible site locations in the mid-Atlantic and Northeastern United States. The firm’s representatives are speaking with several communities, including Warren County, and are signing preliminary agreements that allow them to do studies to determine whether a power plant may even be feasible.

American Power Ventures is based in Bernardsville, New Jersey. The private firm develops and manages power generation and infrastructure projects for its own account and on behalf of private developers, municipalities, cooperatives, investor-owned utilities, industrial companies and private equity investors, the company’s website states.

American Power Ventures has participated in the development and/or financing of facilities with total investment exceeding $3.5 billion.

Also at the meeting, supervisors:
• Adopted a resolution asking county legislative representatives to oppose Senate Bill 1491, sponsored by Del. Patrick A. Hope, D-Arlington, that would add short-term tourism rental to the definition of agritourism activity. The county already allows short-term tourism rentals in agricultural zoning by conditional-use permit. The proposed legislation does not include a minimum acreage or setbacks. County staff also would have a difficult time determining the length of stay. The state Senate approved the bill 31-9 on Jan. 31. State Sen. Mark Obenshain, R-Harrisonburg, who represents Warren County, voted in favor of the bill’s passage. The House of Delegate is considering the legislation. Supervisors asked Dels. C. Todd Gilbert, R- Woodstock, Michael Webert, R-Marshall, and Christopher Collins, R-Winchester, to oppose the bill.
• Adopted a resolution asking county legislative representatives to support House Bill 1415, sponsored by Del. R. Lee Ware, R-Powhatan, that would allow Warren County to increase its transient occupancy tax to 5 percent, with the revenue from any levy over 2 percent going to support tourism efforts. The House of Delegates passed the bill 72-27 on Jan. 26 with Collins, Gilbert and Webert voting against the measure.
• Adopted a resolution asking county legislative representatives to support House Bill 1693, sponsored by Collins, that would increase the maximum fee for any project encompassed in a contract for architectural or professional engineering services related to multiple projects from $100,000 to $150,000. The county has multiple architects and engineers on term contracts and fees for a single project often exceed $100,000. The amendment to Collins’s bill would allow the county to use term contracts for projects rather than bidding out the services for individual projects. The House of Delegates passed the bill 98-0 on Jan. 30.
• Adopted a resolution asking the county’s representatives to oppose House Bill 2104, sponsored by Del. Kathy J. Byron, R-Forest, that would permit the commissioner of the revenue to use any method to determine actual fair-market value of machinery and tools. The county contends the bill violates the principle of uniformity in assessment methodology by allowing the taxpayer to choose the method of assessment on equipment. The bill was left in a committee Wednesday.
• Adopted a resolution asking the county’s legislative representatives to oppose House Bill 2447, sponsored by Del. Robert G. Marshall, R-Manassas, that eliminates the ability of localities to assess license fees for motor vehicles, trailer and semi-trailers. The bill would have an effective date of July 1, 2018, if passed. The county collects approximately $874,700 in license fees.

Contact staff writer Alex Bridges at 540-465-5137 ext. 125, or abridges@nvdaily.com