Washington Town Council on Monday decided unanimously to move forward with Rush River Commons’ request to bring its entire lot, which straddles the town and county lines, under Washington’s jurisdiction.
The body authorized Washington Mayor Fred Catlin to contact the Rappahannock County Board of Supervisors and ask it to move toward independently approving the boundary line adjustment. Catlin said he plans to correspond with county officials in the coming days. If the boundary adjustment is greenlit by the Board of Supervisors, where the measure faces much uncertainty, it would require approval from a circuit court judge before becoming official.
Town Council will broach the matter again at its November meeting where it could authorize a public hearing to take place as early as December when a final vote may be possible, Catlin said, noting that the body plans to move expeditiously toward approval.
The boundary line adjustment request was born when property owner Chuck Akre and his development team at Black Kettle LLC requested in August that the town and county consider making the change so they could gain access to Washington’s water and sewer lines for a portion of the land they hope to one day develop. Part of Rush River Commons was approved by Town Council in September, but Akre and the developer want to expand it further.
Town Council’s vote (with Member Brad Schneider absent) followed an hour long closed session where the body consulted with Town Attorney John Bennett over legal details related to the boundary adjustment that were not publicly disclosed.
It also came after Town Council adhered to the recommendation of former Washington resident Gary Aichele, who was tapped by the body to help form a study group to explore Akre’s request and who headed a previous boundary adjustment initiative, that such a group wasn’t necessary because of the relative simplicity surrounding what Akre and his team want.
“I don’t see how, frankly, the Town of Washington Town Council could do anything but favor the boundary line adjustment,” Aichele said, noting that Akre and the developer have been willing to work very closely with local officials to ensure that their developments fall in line with the visions outlined within the town and county comprehensive plans.