BERRYVILLE — The Clarke County Board of Supervisors is looking favorably on Berryville’s request to annex roughly 130 adjoining acres in the county.

Berryville Mayor Jay Arnold proposed the annexation in a June 24 letter to the supervisors, who discussed it during a work session Monday morning. No opposition was voiced, and all five supervisors seemed amenable to the annexation proceeding.

However, the board won’t formally vote on the matter until its meeting next Tuesday. It usually doesn’t vote during work sessions.

If approved by both Berryville Town Council and the supervisors, the annexation will become effective on Jan. 1.

In the late 1980s, the county and town entered into an agreement defining Berryville’s future annexation rights.

David Weiss, the supervisors’ chairman and Buckmarsh District representative, said the board is “just following suit” with provisions of the agreement.

“We’re not veering from the (annexation) plan,” Weiss emphasized. “We’re implementing the plan” as it was established by previous local officials.

Berryville has “put a lot of years of thoughtful planning” into annexation needs, county Planning Director Brandon Stidham said.

Section 3(c) of the agreement permits annexations through mutual agreement of the town and county.

The largest area targeted for inclusion in Berryville’s boundaries is about 111 acres near Battletown Drive and Bel Voi Drive. The properties, designated for residential and agricultural use, are being marketed by Friant Enterprises. One lot already is connected to Berryville’s water/sewer system.

Development of the property is expected soon, Arnold wrote in his letter.

“There’s significant interest in that property,” although no formal development application has been submitted to the town yet, Weiss said.

Officials maintain that efforts to develop the acreage were delayed, at least partially, due to economic concerns following the September 2001 terrorist attacks.

Berryville’s pact with the county enables annexations to occur only at the beginning of a calendar year. If the planned annexation doesn’t proceed immediately, it probably couldn’t be made effective until January 2023, documents show.

Under that scenario, “if the development of the property begins in the near term,” Arnold wrote, “new residents would likely have to navigate a period of time when they would not be eligible for town services.”

Other areas targeted for annexation include about 10 acres in the 300 block of First Street and nine acres at Berryville’s public works facility on Tom Whitacre Circle near Clarke County High School.

Affected property owners have been contacted about the annexation plan. Officials so far have discussed it with two owners who indicated they’re not opposed, according to Christy Dunkle, Berryville’s director of community development.

Discussion of the annexation plan is on the agenda for the town council’s 7 p.m. meeting tonight. The panel is expected to schedule an Oct. 12 public hearing.

Legal counsel has advised that the town and county aren’t required to hold a joint public hearing.

“We may have board (of supervisors) members attend and watch” the council’s hearing, said County Administrator Chris Boies. But county officials probably won’t speak during the hearing, he said.

— Contact Mickey Powell at mpowell@winchesterstar.com

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