Troutville considers expanding town by thousands of acres

TROUTVILLE, Va. (WDBJ7) - The Town of Troutville could grow by more than seven times its current size. It's part of a proposal several years in the works, but not everyone wants to be part of the town.

The tiny town of Troutville was established in 1956 and hasn't changed much since.

But this proposal could add immensely to the town base, which Mayor William Horton readily supports.

"The last two elections I had to beg people, two people to run and did," he said. "This is my pet peeve. I'd like to get more people to be able to run for public office and be on some of the committees in the town of Troutville."

The expansion would add more than 2,600 acres and 300 homes to the existing city.

A map of the proposal shows the new boundaries would expand town limits northeast along US 11 to Troutville Elementary school and take in Stoney Battery Road. I-81 would be the western border. The new lines would extend south to Humbert Road, incorporating Mountain Pass Road, and swoop back into the town limits as they are now.

In a statement, city council leaders said expansion would allow them to manage growth and revitalization; allow better planning, management and coordination of the water system; and provide the town with a broader scope of citizen input into commercial and residential development.

The Mayor and council member Harry Ulrich said it would greatly expand the town's water base. If passed, the incorporated residents would not be forced into the town water system and, they say, the town would not raise rates. The incorporation would not incur any new taxes.

The proposal must pass town council, the county's board of supervisors and a circuit court judge, not to mention - the people.

"I think everything that the town does could be done more efficiently by the board of supervisors," said Rod Dillmon.

He approached the mayor during an interview with WDBJ7 outside town hall.

He said he lives in the proposed area and is against the change, saying he doesn't like the idea of adding a layer of government between himself and the county's Board of Supervisors.

"I don't think there's a good explanation over the last two years of why the town would want to do this," Dillman said.

Dillmon said he thinks the county can do the town's job more efficiently, adding that Botetourt County has been growing and Troutville has been shrinking.

He also complained to Horton and Ulrich, saying the town was not given sufficient notice about the meeting - noting a memo had only been added to the Fincastle Herald the day of the meeting.

Ulrich conceded this point and said residents should get a letter by Monday. He said they promised to be better about notifications.

Dillmon was also concerned the town's proposal committee didn't advertise meetings which it should have. Ulrich also conceded on this point, saying there were two instances in which an "informal" meeting should have been publicly advertised.

"Well we made a mistake because when we met there was more than two council members, it should have been only two because once there's three involved it has to be advertised in the paper and all." Ulrich said.

He promises to do better on that point as well and still supports the plan - saying he's proud of their small town.

He and the mayor said if the proposal goes through, council will not get a pay raise, zoning will not automatically change and there will be no changes to law governing firearms - which come from Virginia State law, not a town or county ordinance.

Some things they say will change include the fact that affected businesses in the area will adjust payment of Business, Professional and Occupational License fees to either the town or county depending on the "definite place of business" or the place where the receipts were earned.

Also, properties, businesses and subdivisions that are currently divided between the town and county would be part of one recognized area, instead of being governed by two separate entities.

The council will hold a public discussion Thursday night at town hall at 7 p.m. Mayor Horton said there will be other meetings in the future.