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II. Inventory and Analysis
The inventory and analysis is composed of the background studies which form the factual and analytical basis of the comprehensive plan; history, population and economy, land use, public facilities, and other data are described and analyzed in order to present an accurate, rational assessment of the community as it has developed and is likely to develop.
The study areas examined below are included in the comprehensive plan in order to give a reasonably complete, analytical description of Round Hill. It describes the powers and organizational structure of the local government. Its purpose is to provide a general understanding of the cultural, historical and governmental environment in which the community has evolved.
A. Historical Perspective
This section which gives the location of the community accompanied by a "location" map (refer to Map E-1), discusses the history of the community, and identifies historic landmarks and areas of historical significance.
- History of Round Hill
The Town of Round Hill, Virginia, is located in the western section of Loudoun County along Route 7 at the base of the Blue Ridge. Round Hill was named for a 910 foot high mountain peak, approximately two miles southwest of town. No one really knows how old this given name is, but in the first court order of Loudoun County in 1757, there was a road order which set out a group of "viewers" (people who decided which way an important road was to go) whose decision was that the road from Leesburg to Winchester would be located on the north side of the "round hill". The first tract of land in today's Round Hill was granted to Benjamin Grayson in 1731. Mr. Grayson sold the land ten years later to John Taylor. Also granted land in Round Hill was William Cox and Thomas Gregg in 1741. When the Leesburg and Snickers' Gap Turnpike (Route 7) was built in the 1830s, a small store opened and in 1858, the area received its first U.S. Post Office.
Round Hill began as a working class community serving the needs of tourists escaping the heat of Washington, D.C. It was the terminus of the train line from 1875 to 1896 when the line was extended to Bluemont. Early businesses included rooming houses, markets, a bank, a doctor's office, a ferrier, and a tombstone manufacturer. Businesses then as now were interspersed among residences. The majority of today's homes were built prior to the end of the 1920's.
On February 5, 1900, the Virginia General Assembly incorporated the Town of Round Hill and appointed town commissioners. In May of that year, the townsmen elected their first Mayor, George T. Ford who later became a state senator. The first council met in the store owned by the mayor which also housed the post office. In the late 1980's, Ford's Store was received by the town and renovated to house the town offices. The train station, located on the northern end of Main Street, continues to be an identifying element of the town's past as well.
The first church in Round Hill was the Mt. Zion Baptist Church in 1881. The elders of this church baptized at Simpson's Creek located southeast of the town. The first Methodist Church in this area was established in the Woodgrove community in 1832. It moved to Round Hill in 1889. The site of the present Pentecostal Church was once the Mt. Calvary Episcopal Church which was established in 1892. The Round Hill Baptist Church came into being in 1905. This is a branch of the Ketoctin Baptist Church which was organized in 1751.
When incorporated, Round Hill had ten streets that were lit with coal lamps. These lights were electrified in 1919. In 1913 the town developed its own water delivery system but many residents remained on their own wells. The town expanded the water system in 1915 to include a spring fed reservoir on Scotland Hill. In 1926, all town privies were to be updated and conversion to septic tanks was encouraged. By 1978 all residents were receiving town water and were to be connected to the sewage treatment plant at Sleeter Lake.
Today's Round Hill has much the same scale an character as the Round Hill of the past. The residents continue to be a mix of social and economic groups. Although the train stopped coming here in 1939, Round Hill remains a haven away from the hustle and bustle of life to the east.
- Historic Landmarks (Refer to Map E-2)
The following is a list of some of the existing residences, churches and commercial establishments which were part of Round Hill when the town was incorporated in 1900. There are numerous other buildings which were built soon after this date as a result of business encouraged by the railroad. Many of these early 20th century buildings are also significant to the historical character of Round Hill.
B. Municipal Organization
The town is governed by six council members and a mayor. Council members are elected for terms of four years, with terms of office staggered. The mayor, a non-voting member except in the event of a tie vote, is elected every two years. The council selects a vice-Mayor from its members.
The town council meets on the first and third Thursday of each month in the town office (Ford's Store). Committees have been established as follows: Sewer Treatment Facilities; Water System; Community Development; Public Properties; Planning and Zoning; and Personnel and Finance. Each member is assigned to one of these standing committees.
The town council appoints six town residents to the Planning Commission for staggered four year terms. The seventh commission member is a sitting council member whose term on the commission is concurrent with their council seat. The planning commission elects annually a chairperson and a vice-chairperson.
The town council appoints four town citizens and one planning commission member to the Board of Zoning Appeals. Board members serve staggered four year terms except for the planning commission member whose term is concurrent with his term on the commission.
The town employs a full time town clerk, a recorder/treasurer, a public works operator, and a zoning administrator. Legal and engineering services are provided on a contractual basis. The town presently contracts with the Loudoun County Sanitation Authority to operate its sewage treatment facility.
C. Demographic Characteristics
- Population Studies
Population analysis and projections are the basis for all planning decisions by indicating the extent of community needs and the probably future demand for facilities and services.
The following table shows the population growth for Round Hill and Loudoun County. Round Hill's population increased by 7 percent between 1950 and 1960 and by more than on third between 1960 and 1970. Between 1970 and 1980, the town's population decreased by 12 percent possibly due to the general decline in family size. However, Loudoun County's growth increased by more than 50 percent between 1960 and 1970 and 55 percent between 1970 and 1980.
Town of Round Hill and Surrounding Areas
Percent of Change in Population
(Source: U.S. Bureau of the Census, Census of Population,
1950, 1960, 1970, 1980, 1990)
Substantial housing growth occurred in Round Hill and Loudoun County in the 1960s. This growth rate continued in the county but not in Round Hill due to limited space for new development and the lack of available water supply to support growth.
The Loudoun County Population Analysis Technical Study (Sept. 16, 1986) projects a 1995 population of 699 people for Round Hill. Annexation of additional land may alter this projection.
- Population Distribution by Age
The 1990 population of Round Hill was evenly distributed among age groups, indicating that the town has no one sector of its population for which it must provide a disproportionate share of its services.
(Source: U.S. Bureau of the Census, Census of Population, 1990).
The mean age of 34.6 is younger than at previous census. Households have gotten smaller at 2.94 persons per unit compared to 4.8 persons a decade ago. This is seen as a continuing trend towards smaller families. The population is fairly evenly split in gender with there being 248 males and 266 females. There is relatively little ethnic diversity. The only minority represented in significant numbers are African-Americans at 14.2% of the population.
In the decade between 1981 and 1990, Round Hill's population remained virtually unchanged. Lack of a suitable water source is viewed as a key factor in that growth. However, in the coming decade those pressures that have caused increases in other areas are expected to have a dramatic effect on Round Hill. New water sources have been located and are being incorporated into the town's system. In addition, several rezoning applications, most notably InterGate and Stoneleigh, for land within the town's urban service area have been approved.
It is anticipated that approximately 1500 households will be brought into Round Hill through annexation over the next fifty years. The expansion will be predicated upon the ability of the town to finance infrastructure improvements.
D. Economic Development
The Town of Round Hill is presently a small town with charm and a country atmosphere. Future economic development decisions should be tempered by the resident's desire to maintain a semi-rural environment.
Few employment opportunities are available in Round Hill. There are two markets, three service stations, a bank, two small office buildings, and various home occupations located in the town. Public and semi-public concerns include the town offices, an elementary school operated by Loudoun County, a post office, four churches and a fire and rescue company. Industrial activities are located in Purcellville and other communities in eastern Loudoun County. Much of the town's work force commutes to the eastern portion of Loudoun County and the greater Washington metropolitan area. It is anticipated that this trend will continue as major industries continue to locate in those areas. There is only one parcel within the town that is zoned for light industrial use. This is a low intensity use with limited employment.
Given the proposed expansion through development, it is expected that the economic growth will need to take place to accommodate daily needs of a larger population. The completion of the Route 7 bypass around the town has had a small negative effect on businesses located within the town. However, as development occurs, existing businesses will probably prove inadequate in serving the needs of the community. Retail trade centers for Round Hill are located in Leesburg, Purcellville, and Winchester, and those areas will remain the primary trade centers. The new areas for commercial use that can be expected in the town will be limited and restricted to the areas currently zoned for business use in the center of town and to the business districts approved in the rezoning of land to be annexed. The businesses in the latter areas can be expected to provide for daily conveniences and for local professional office space. There is one area in the western sector of the town's urban service area that may be targeted for more intensive commercial development - the Hill High store site.
E. Financial Structure of the Town
The purpose of this section is to examine the financial situation of the community's local government. The local government's tax base, its revenues, expenditures, and indebtedness are analyzed and, from this, future fiscal issues are identified and recommendations made for solving specific problems. The financial analysis is critical to placing the community development goals within a realistic framework based on an understanding of the financial resources available to the community, the existing demands on those resources, and the timing for expansion or upgrading of local government facilities and services. The comprehensive plan will be difficult to implement unless it is based upon an accurate assessment of the local government's finances.
- Tax Base
The Town of Round Hill has an assessed property valuation of $25,975,400. Of this, $23,089,000 is from residential property, $2,656,500 for property zoned for business use, and $229,900 for the light industrial district. While additional properties may be added to the residential and business zones, the ratio is expected to remain fairly constant.
- Operating Budget
The town's 1994 FY Budget has a general fund operating budget of $108,390 and a utility fund budget of $154,050. Revenues at this time come from the following sources: real estate tax (.16 per $100 of market value), personal property tax ($1.10 per $100 of value), bank franchise tax, utility tax, interest on reserves, sales tax, ABC profit sharing, motor vehicle and business licenses, and user fees from utilities. While services have expanded over the last several years, there has been very little change in the tax rate. Increases in property valuation through the 1980s allowed this to occur. Currently assessments have been stabilized. This stabilization and future development may place pressure on the real estate tax rate as existing levels of service become inadequate.
F. Natural Features
The purpose of this section is to analyze the natural features of the community in order to understand what land uses are best suited for the community and where these uses can be best located given the physical characteristics of the area. This analysis generally covers the following features.
- Topography: Analysis of the form and slope of the land in order to determine the suitability of specific areas for particular uses (e.g., excessive slope is prohibitive to certain uses.)
- Geology: Analysis of (1) soil suitability for various types of uses based on such factors as fertility and drainage, and (2) subsurface composition for its affect on development factors such as groundwater capacity and foundation-bearing strength.
- Hydrologic features: Analysis of the location and condition of watersheds, aquifer recharge areas, groundwater, bodies of surface water, floodplains, and swamps, marshes, and wetlands. All of these present special problems, and the preservation or protection of water supply sources.
- Meteorological conditions: Analysis of the area's climate and air quality in regard to the type and location of uses within the community, e.g., the direction of prevailing winds may affect the location of and industry.
- Special physiographic features: Analysis of unusual geological features an ecological habitats, areas of scenic value, forests, dunes and other unique natural resources within the community. These should be identified and assessed in relation to recommendations for land use control measures.
- Topography (Refer to Map E-3)
The lay of the land in the Round Hill area varies dramatically from gentle slopes over most of the area to the steep slopes of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Elevations in the area vary from approximately 450 feet above sea level to a high of 1712 feet on one of the peaks of the Blue Ridge. There are several significant knolls in the foothills area. One of these is Round Top, which lies southwest of the town and is the feature after which the town is named. Any land in the planning area over 700 feet in elevation is subject to specific county regulations in accordance with the county's Mountainside Overlay Zoning District. The regulations limit land use activity on properties which are located over 700 feet in elevation and in particular on steep slopes of 15 to 25% or greater. Steep slopes need to be maintained in order to minimize erosion, downstream flooding, structural damage to roads and buildings and environmental pollution.
- Geological Features/Conditions
The majority of the Round Hill area is located in the Piedmont Upland physiographic province, which lies between the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Catoctin Ridge. The underlying geological formation is mostly greenstone and altered igneous rock originally formed by volcanic action.
The rock formations underlying the Round Hill area are crystalline, rather than porous, and well yields as well as recharge sources for groundwater are derived from fractures within these formations. As a result, although groundwater is generally high quality, supplies can be inconsistent and difficult to locate. These rock formations may also pose other difficulties for development in the planning area. Depending upon the depth of soil covering these hard bedrock formations, blasting may be required prior to or during construction.
The following table indicates the drainage and slope characteristics of soils found in the Round Hill area and are shown on Map E-4.
Soils Type and Characteristics
||Subject to flooding|
||Moderately well drained|
||Well drained, 2-7% slope|
||Well drained, 7-14% slope|
||Shallow soils, well drained, 15-25% slope|
||Shallow soils, well drained, 25% slope|
||Rock hard - all slopes|
(Source: U.S. Soil Conservation Service, Loudoun County, 1972).
Those soils which are subject to flooding or are poorly drained present serious problems in construction and in the proper use of septic tanks.
- Hydrologic Features (Refer to Map E-5)
The Round Hill area is divided into three watersheds of the Potomac River Basin. Two ridgelines, one near the northern boundary of the planning area, as defined by the Round Hill Area Management Plan (RHAMP), and one near the southern boundary divide the majority of the farming area into the Goose Creek watershed. The small portion of the area which lies to the north of the Goose Creek watershed is part of the Catoctin Creek watershed. To the south of the Goose Creek watershed, it lies in the Beaver Dam watershed. Approximately 560 acres of this land is located within the 100 year floodplain of Simpsons Creek, Sleeter's Lake, and tributaries to Catoctin, Goose and Beaverdam Creeks. Since existing county policies designate floodplain areas as environmentally critical, land uses within floodplains will be subject to special zoning regulations.
- Meteorological Conditions
Round Hill lies within a temperate climate zone. Average temperatures in January are between 21 and 40. Temperatures in July are between 64 and 87. Annual rainfall averages 40.24 inches. Prevailing winds are 10-12 mph from the northwest. Tornadoes, earthquakes and floods are rare occurrences.
- Special Physiographic Features
The development pattern of Round Hill has been confined and influenced in the past by its surrounding physiographic features and natural resources. Round Hill is surrounded by agricultural and forest land that residents and visitors of the area have enjoyed due to its natural setting, well balanced ecosystem as well as its high scenic value. The Round Hill area is situated within visual proximity to the Blue Ridge Mountains, Short Hill Mountains, Catoctin Mountains, and the distant Bull Run Mountain and Sugar Loaf Mountain.
Within the agricultural boundaries that make up the town, there are natural and man made features that further enforce those boundaries. to the south of town is Sleeter Lake, Simpsons Creek (west branch of the north fork of Goose Creek) and Round Hill (Round Top). To the north is the Washington and Old Dominion Railroad right-of-way and a branch of the north fork of Goose Creek. To the east are several branches of the north fork of Goose Creek.
Within town many old, large trees, such as Sycamore, Copper Beech, Lindens, Tulip, Walnuts and Maples remain. These and others form high dense canopies, creating microclimates enhancing the local ecosystem. These, along with the surrounding open space and other physiographic features, have established, influenced and remained a central component in the Round Hill area as well as the town's character and identity.
G. Existing Land Use
An analysis was conducted of the community's residential, commercial, industrial, public and semi-public, and open space uses. This is recorded on a base map of the locality (refer to Map E-6) and listed below:
- There are approximately 130 acres of land within Round Hill, of which 92 acres (70 percent) are in single-family use. Several single-family sites consist of older structures located on large tracts (ranging up to eight acres) of land.
- Business (commercial) uses are concentrated along Main Street and at its intersection with Loudoun Street.
- There is one parcel designated for light industrial use.
- Public and semi-public uses include the town office, fire house, post office, police substation, and several churches.
- The Town of Round Hill owns additional public land that may become a factor in the future land use decisions. Some of the properties owned by the town include the following: reservoirs; sewage treatment facilities.
Town of Round Hill
Existing Land Use
(Source: Loudoun County Tax Maps).
H. Community Facilities and Services (Refer to Map E-7)
The Town of Round Hill is served by a number of county services and facilities. Adjacent to the town is the Round Hill Elementary School. Middle and high school students attend classes in Purcellville. The county has also located a sheriff's substation above the town offices in Ford's Store. Both the volunteer fire and rescue squads maintain stations in the center of town.
Recreation: Although there are no park facilities in Round Hill, there are two parcels being developed to directly service this area. The first is Franklin Farm - a "regional" park being developed by Loudoun County. The second is an eleven acre tract adjacent to Sleeter Lake being developed by the town. Round Hill Elementary School, which is owned by the Loudoun County School Board, offers recreational facilities including two little league softball fields, a baseball field, soccer fields and a tennis court. The area is served by a variety of county operated facilities located in nearby towns and villages and by the Appalachian Trail.
I. Public Utilities
The town's existing water system serves the residents within the corporate limits, some residents adjacent to the town, and the county's Round Hill Elementary School which is located just outside the town. There are about 270 service connections to the water system, 170 within the town and 100 outside the town, using a total of about 50,000 gallons per day. The school accounts for about 1,500 gallons per day and all other users account for approximately 48,500 gallons. Including the school, the average use per connection is estimated to be 150 gpd.
Until recently three springs located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, about two miles northwest of the Town of Round Hill, were the source of the town's public water supply. A 10,000,000 gallon reservoir is located on the mountain ridge and was fed directly by the springs. The water was then transported from the large reservoir to a smaller 200,000 gallon reservoir just outside the western boundary of the town. New wells are now supplying Round Hill with its water. The smaller reservoir is still being used for storage supply. The town currently gets its water from several wells proffered by developers of land to be annexed by the town.
The town's sewage treatment plant and distribution lines were constructed in 1978. The plant has an existing treatment capacity of 200,000 gallons per day (gpd). The town has also evaluated the potential for incremental plant expansions to 300,000 or 400,000 gallons per day. The plant is currently operating at approximately 25% capacity, processing 50,000 gallons of sewage per day from approximately 230 residential and commercial taps. Due to the age of the system, periodically infiltration/inflow problems cause the plant to process two to three times its normal flow. The town is working to correct this problem.
The town's sewer plant is more than adequate to meet the existing needs of the town and even some of the vacant land surrounding the town. It should be noted however, that due to a 1974 agreement between the town and former owners of the 600 acre Eckles farm, 100,000 gallons of sewer capacity is reserved specifically for the development of that tract. Therefore, while there is potential for growth in the planning area based on existing sewer capacity, expansion beyond the 200,000 gpd plant capacity and any sewer line extensions beyond the corporate limits of the town must be closely coordinated between the town and the county and with members of the development community to ensure that development occurs in an orderly and desirable pattern. Private interest with land slated for development are committed to funding the next expansion of the sewer treatment plant.
Round Hill is serviced primarily by secondary state roads which are maintained by the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT). The Route 7 bypass, completed in 1990, links Round Hill to points east and west. State Route 719 (Main Street/New Cut Road) acts as the town's major north/south corridor.
AMTRAK and the CSX Railroad Company provide rail service from Washington, D.C. to points further west. This railroad can be used for commuting from Loudoun County to work places in Washington, D.C. Additionally, a commuter bus service is available in Purcellville.