The Botetourt Board of Supervisors agreed unanimously to a boundary change adjustment that, when finalized by the circuit court, will increase the current population of the Town of Fincastle by over 60 percent and increase its geographic size nearly six times.
The board’s vote followed a public hearing during its January meeting last week that drew no opposition, and while the percentages seem large, the actual numbers are modest since Botetourt’s county seat is one of the smallest incorporated towns in Virginia.
The town will grow from 191 acres, according to Mayor Mary Bess Smith, to 1,318 acres and the population from 351 residents to 570.
Fincastle Town Council already agreed to the boundary adjustment and the next step, according to Town Attorney Kathy Wright, will be to have a new plat drawn.
Town Manager David Tickner said the new plat will be based on survey points. That will be done primarily through deed records and surveyor Chris McMurray told Tickner much of the boundary has already been surveyed.
Tickner said the town intentionally used existing tax parcel lines for the boundary change.
Once the plat is done, it will be used to create an AutoCad digital layer that the county, the Western Virginia Water Authority and Voter Registrar’s Office can use.
While town officials don’t have a specific timeline, Tickner said he expects it will take four to six weeks for the plat to be done, then it will be submitted to the Botetourt County Circuit Court for approval.
During her presentation to the supervisors, Smith said the town had made specific changes to ready the town for the boundary adjustment. It will be the first boundary change since the town was platted in 1772.
She said currently about 60 percent of the town’s area is owned by the county, churches and graveyards.
She said increasing the town boundary will also add public lands that will still account for the about same percentage of area. Those public lands include school property on Poor Farm Road.
She said Town Council intentionally left out some larger tracts of land, and called the proposed new boundary a “logical footprint that meets our needs.”
She said Town Council is ready to look to the future with plans for the “day after” the boundary adjustment goes into effect, to the first six months after, a year after, five years after, and more.
She said in the first six months, the town will seek input on updating its Comprehensive Plan and will refocus the town’s Mission Statement and Objectives to accommodate the new territory and new residents.
She said in five years the town will be positioned to deal with growth along the US 220 corridor. “It will allow us to proactively plan for growth,” she told the supervisors.
She said the town is on the verge of a crisis without the boundary change. Part of that is because most of the US 220 corridor is not in the town’s corporate limits— the Fincastle Post Office, Dollar General, the convenience stores on both ends of town and other businesses are outside the town limits.
She said the downtown, the long-term established economic base for the town, has been replaced, and there are a number of vacant business buildings.
The supervisors complimented town officials for the work they did of putting together the boundary adjustment proposal and reaching out to the public.
Supervisor Jack Leffel made the motion for the board to enter into the boundary adjustment agreement, and it passed unanimously to applause from the 20 persons in the audience who were there for the board’s public hearing on the proposal.