WINCHESTER — The Frederick County Board of Supervisors voted 4-3 on Wednesday night to adjust its boundary line with Warren County for seven property owners who mistakenly believed for years that they lived in Warren County due to deed information being recorded incorrectly.
The boundary line issue came to light when a recent survey by Marsh and Legge PLC, along with Frederick County GIS map data, confirmed the parcels, which comprise about 20 acres, are actually in Frederick County. The properties are along Foster Hollow Road east of Middletown.
At a public hearing on Wednesday night, the property owners pleaded with the supervisors to adjust the boundary line so they can continue to live as Warren County residents. They said they have raised their families and paid taxes in Warren County for years and developed personal ties to that community.
Supervisors Shannon Trout, J. Douglas McCarthy, Judith McCann-Slaughter and Bob Wells voted in favor of the boundary line adjustment. Chairman Charles DeHaven Jr. and supervisors Gary Lofton and Blaine Dunn voted against it.
Trout said the property owners shouldn’t be penalized for something that wasn’t their fault.
“They do have ties to [Warren County],” Trout said. “I know if someone sent me a letter and said I wasn’t in Frederick County, first of all I wouldn’t even be able to sit here, but second of all that would cause me quite a bit of stress.”
But Dunn and DeHaven did not like the idea of changing a boundary line that has been in place since 1836.
While DeHaven said he had “great empathy” for the property owners, he didn’t think that “someone making an honest mistake years ago is a reason to move [the line].”
Dunn tried to reassure the property owners that “people in Frederick County are nice.”
McCarthy countered that a person’s roots are important and mean something to the residents who grew up in the Warren County community.
“It’s our job as supervisors to do what is in the best interest of our citizens,” McCarthy said. “There is no fiscal reason to not do the boundary adjustment.”
Frederick County has determined the amount of tax revenue that would be generated by the properties is minimal.
The matter still needs to go the Warren County Board of Supervisors for a public hearing, which will be held Aug. 20. If Warren County agrees to the boundary adjustment, the two counties will file a joint petition with the Warren County Circuit Court to make the change.
Also Wednesday night:
The board voted 5-2 to deny a conditional-use permit for a special event center at Waveland Farm, located about a mile west of Stephens City, about 1.5 miles east of Middle Road (Route 628) and south of Marlboro Road (Route 631). The permit would have allowed owner Cindy Layman to hold special events, such as weddings, for up to 180 people on her approximately 28.8-acre property. Her property is a working farm that includes a single-family detached residence and three farm buildings. Layman said the special event center would generate income that would allow her to preserve and maintain her farm and support agritourism.
Dudley Rinker, manager of Rinker Properties LLC, spoke in opposition to the request. He said Rinker Properties owns nine of 11 lots in Apple Banks South subdivision, some of which are next to Waveland Farm. He feared a special event center would bring noise, traffic and road damage and hurt the value of his property.
Lofton and Trout were the only supervisors who voted in favor of the request. Lofton said neighbors are usually apprehensive about special event centers when they are proposed, but he doesn’t hear negative comments about them once they are operational.
McCarthy said he is sympathetic to farmers who need to generate income but noted that Layman’s land is zoned for rural areas and a special event center is not an agricultural use.
Dunn expressed concerns about traffic the facility would generate.
The board unanimously voted to approve a conditional-use permit that will allow county resident and local racer Jonathan DeHaven to relocate his business, JDR Motorsports & Fabrication, to his property has 4564 N. Frederick Pike, across from Gainesboro Elementary School. His business fabricates custom car parts.