Commission to consider Hillsville annexation

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Town plans to expand to take in Carroll County land

By Christopher Brooke, Reporter

HILLSVILLE — The Commission on Local Government will hold its November meeting in Hillsville to gather more information about the voluntary boundary adjustment between the town and Carroll County.
The commission will hear feedback from citizens and tour the affected area.

The idea is for Hillsville to take in the busy Interstate 77-U.S. 58 interchange and several lots on Howlett Street as part of a deal reached between the two localities on several outstanding issues, according to Susan Williams, the commission's local government policy manager.
This involves holding a public hearing on Nov. 15 at 7 p.m. on the proposal, she said. That will be followed on Nov. 16 by the commission touring the area to be annexed into the town.
The five commission members will then hear presentations from representatives of both the town and the county, starting at about 10:30 a.m.
(Citizens will also have the opportunity to submit their opinion about the boundary adjustment proposal in writing up to Nov. 30.)
Staff will prepare a draft report on the Commission of Local Government's findings for its Jan. 10, 2011, regular meeting in Richmond.
If the commission approves the proposal, it would still have to be reviewed by a panel of three judges created by the Virginia Supreme Court.
The commission approved the schedule at its September meeting, at which the members heard details of the proposal from legal representatives for Carroll and Hillsville.
Particulars of the proposal include:
• the town would annex out to Carrollwood Drive.
This would include a part of the Carroll County Recreation Park, from the swimming pool to Farmers Market Drive.
The annexation also would involve the piece of the Southwest Virginia Farmers Market where the Market Village shops are going, according to information presented at the meeting. The market's retail and wholesale buildings would be excluded.
• A second, smaller area consisting of six parcels on Howlett Street would also be added to the town boundaries.
• the town will waive any future annexation rights for a period of 40 years, according to the proposal.
• Revenue-sharing agreements — where the county and town split meals and lodging taxes from the interstate area — will continue for a term of 25 years.
• Annexations could occur in the future, but only if both town and county agree.
• If town officials decide to impose an admissions tax, Hillsville agrees to share 50 percent of those proceeds with Carroll.
• Carroll County Public Service Authority will continue to provide service within the annexed area.
At their September meeting, commission members noted the 40-year waiver of Hillsville's right to annex new areas as "lengthy," according to meeting minutes.
Carter Glass, representing Hillsville, answered "that it is longer than the town would have liked, but that it reflected a compromise with the county," the minutes reflect. "He further indicated that Hillsville has significant vacant land, but needs to expand its boundaries to include land where development is occurring."
Another commission member asked about the revenue-sharing agreement between Hillsville and Carroll County that splits the meals and lodging taxes.
This is only the third voluntary boundary adjustment that's come before the commission in more than three years, Williams said.
The agreement between Hillsville and Carroll County allowed the two localities to avoid going to court on a long-standing fight over water and sewer billing.