AGENDA REQUEST

Sponsor:

Board of Supervisors Meeting Date: 

Chester W. Stribling, Lee District Supervisor

November 10, 2004

Staff Lead:

Department: 

Paul S. McCulla, County Attorney

County Attorney’s Office

Topic: 

A Resolution Authorizing the County Administrator and County Attorney to Take All Actions Necessary to Negotiate the Acquisition of Three Parcels of Real Estate, Commonly Referred to as the Common Open Space for Fox Meade Subdivision in Lee Magisterial District, Being Further Identified as PINs 6889-94-9805, 6899-03-8862 and 6899-13-1316, for Public Parks Purposes

 

Topic Description:

Potential acquisition of three parcels of real estate, commonly referred to as the common open space for Fox Meade Subdivision in Lee Magisterial District, and being further identified as PINs 6889-94-9805, 6899-03-8862 and 6899-13-1316, for public parks purposes (Attachment 1).  The property has an old farm pond located on it.

 

The Fauquier County Parks and Recreation Department has indicated that it is interested in the acquisition of the parcels for public park and trail purposes.  A preliminary engineering review indicated that the cost of constructing a trail on the properties could exceed $80,000-$100,000, and would involve grading, stormwater management work, and movement of manholes, and possibly some poles for power lines (Attachment 2). Larry Miller, Parks and Recreation Director, indicated that, not withstanding the comments by the engineer, the subject properties do not contain “any issues that make this site any different from most sites that are used for park land.”  Mr. Miller also states that the Parks and Recreation Board remains committed to acquiring the properties (Attachment 3). 

 

The present owner of the properties, Trifam Systems, Inc., developed Fox Meade Subdivision.  At the time of the development, Trifam failed to transfer the property to the Fox Meade Subdivision Homeowners’ Association.  Although a Homeowners’ Association was called for in the subdivision’s covenants and restrictions, it appears that it was never incorporated.  Because Trifam failed to transfer the property to a Homeowners’ Association, taxes continue to accrue on the property.  At the present time, the delinquent real estate tax balance is approximately $8,000.  Trifam has offered to either donate the property subject to the delinquent taxes to Fauquier County or to sell the property to the County for the cost of the delinquent taxes.

The property has been the subject of some complaints by neighbors that it is being used by persons as a place to run their All Terrain Vehicles (ATVs) and motorcycles, which results in noise and disturbance.  The Zoning Administrator indicated that she has not, at this time, cited Trifam, or any other entity, for any zoning violations at this site.

 

Fauquier County is currently assessing the properties for $72,000, which includes a building lot on one of the parcels.  Because the property is common open space upon which a dwelling cannot be built, the assessment is subject to challenge.  Al Henry, the County’s appraiser, has opined that, due to its nature as open space, the properties have little or no value on the open market to a private purchaser.  

 

Options available to the Board of Supervisors include: 

a) Authorize the purchase of the property for an amount equivalent to the delinquent taxes.  If this option is taken, Trifam’s tax liability will be discharged in exchange for the transfer of the property to the County;

b) Authorize the acceptance of a donation of the property to the County.  If this option is taken, Trifam would transfer the property by deed of donation, and the County would become the owner of the property.  As delinquent real property taxes run with the land upon taking ownership, the County would own the property subject to the delinquent taxes and Trifam would be released from its liability for the taxes.  The County would then “pay itself” for the delinquent taxes, and the tax lien would be discharged;

c) Do nothing.  Under this option, the situation would remain the same with the property continuing to be titled in Trifam’s name, and the delinquent taxes would continue to accrue;

d) Sue Trifam for the delinquency, and then sell the property to collect on the judgment.  Because the property may only be used for open space, according to the County’s appraiser, it has little or no value to the general public and, as such, the County will most likely be the only bidder, which would result in the County owning the property and the judgment still not being fully satisfied.

 

Request Action of the Board of Supervisors:

Consider adoption of the attached resolution.

 

Fiscal Impact:

Acquisition of the property by purchase or donation would result in the release of $8,000 worth of delinquent real property taxes.

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

Parks and Recreation Department

Trifam Systems, Inc.

 

 

Additional Attachment:

Memo from County Attorney to Board of Supervisors, dated September 8, 2004