Board of Supervisors Meeting Date: 

Peter B. Schwartz, Marshall District Supervisor

June 11, 2009

Staff Lead:


Mary Catherine Sheridan, Assistant County Attorney

County Attorney’s Office


A Resolution Authorizing the County Administrator to Make an Offer of Purchase for a Parcel of Real Estate on Behalf of Fauquier County


Topic Description:

The Board of Supervisors has a tax sale case pending in the Fauquier County Circuit Court for a parcel owned by the heirs of Viola Smith.  The property is located on Opal Road, approximately one mile to the east of Springs Road in the Marshall Magisterial District and is known as Parcel Identification Number 6961-77-7033.

During this suit, the County Attorney’s Office had the property surveyed and discovered that one of the adjoining land owners, Robert Banks, has an encroachment onto the Viola Smith parcel.  In an effort to fix the encroachment, avoid any hardship for Mr. Banks, and make the Viola Smith parcel marketable for later sale, the County Attorney’s Office filed a suit in the Circuit Court to determine the boundary lines between the Viola Smith parcel and Mr. Bank’s parcel.  The Court ruled that because Fauquier County did not have a right to possession, the County did not have standing to ask the Court to determine the boundaries.  Therefore, the only way for the County to adjust the boundaries and repair the encroachment is for the County to first purchase the Viola Smith parcel. 

If the Board decides to purchase the parcel, the Board will need to at a minimum make an offer of approximately $48,400, which is the difference between 100% of the appraised value and the total taxes, fees, and costs owed.  If the Board authorizes the purchase of the property and the Court accepts the County’s offer, the County will need to close on the parcel within 30 to 60 days.  A cashier’s or certified check for the $48,400 purchase price will be required at that time.

Once the sale is completed, the County Attorney’s Office will have the survey of the Viola Smith parcel updated so that we can resume the boundary line case.  We will ask the Court to determine the boundaries of the Smith parcel based upon the survey and then will work with Mr. Banks through an exchange of property to complete the boundary line adjustment to fix his encroachment.    After the boundary lines are established and the encroachment is fixed, the County could then sell the Viola Smith parcel.  Habitat for Humanity expressed an interest in the Viola Smith parcel as a potential site for affordable housing. 


Requested Action of the Board of Supervisors: 

Consider adoption of the attached resolution.

Financial Impacts Analysis:

The County will need to pay approximately $48,400 by cashier’s or certified check to the Clerk of the Fauquier County Circuit Court to acquire the property.  Unclaimed surplus proceeds of sale from other tax sale cases in excess of $250,000 will be claimed by the County on June 2, 2009.  This unanticipated revenue may be a source of income with which to purchase the Viola Smith parcel.

Note that if the heirs of Viola Smith don’t claim the excess proceeds of the sale within two years, then the County Attorney’s Office will petition the Court to have those funds paid back to the County.  We attempted to identify and locate Viola Smith’s heirs throughout the pendency of this case.  A Commissioner in Chancery was also appointed to determine the identity of the owners of the Viola Smith parcel.  Despite both of our efforts, we were unable to identify and locate any of Viola Smith’s heirs.  It is unlikely that they will be found in the coming years and make a claim for the excess proceeds of sale.  Thus, the County stands a reasonable chance of receiving a return of the excess proceeds of sale plus interest in this case.


Identify any other Departments, Organizations or Individuals that would be affected by this request:

Not applicable.


  1. Vicinity map
  2. Plat
  3. Land Appraisal Report
  4. Aerial photograph
  5. Proposed Resolution

Back to Agenda...