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November 9, 2018

Supervisors OK studying BB&T building for offices

File Photo/Lawrence Emerson
If the county buys the BB&T building on Main Street, one scenario calls for moving commissioner of revenue, treasurer and community development staffs from the “new courthouse,” built in the 1970s at 40 Culpeper St.
It’s worth looking at. We’ve got to do something about court security.
— Supervisor Holder Trumbo on building study
By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Staff Journalist
Fauquier’s board of supervisors wants to explore whether the vacant BB&T bank building on Warrenton’s Main Street might figure into the county’s future office space needs.

For that reason, the supervisors agreed Thursday to hire an architect to evaluate the 30,000-square-foot brick structure at 21 Main St. for possible purchase.

The Salem, N.C.-based bank, which shut the branch in July, wants $3.5 million for the building and 1.25-acre commercial site. For tax purposes, county government values the property at $4.1 million.

In October, Fauquier hired commercial a real estate appraiser to evaluate the property.

About two weeks ago, the county received the consultant’s $5,500 report but has chosen not to disclose the property’s appraised value.

Fauquier’s interest in the BB&T building stems from efforts to improve security at the county courthouse at 40 Culpeper St. and ultimately put all three local courts under one roof. The county sheriff’s office provides security for three buildings that house the circuit, general district and juvenile and domestic relations courts.

The circuit court and clerk’s office already occupy the Culpeper Street structure.

To house the other two courts there would require moving out the treasurer’s office along with commissioner of revenue and county community development employees.

Under one scenario, those three agencies would move to the BB&T building.

“It’s worth looking at,” Supervisor Holder Trumbo (Scott District) said of his support for an architectural analysis of the bank building. “We’ve got to do something about court security.” dc

While no architectural firm has been chosen, the study could cost $10,000 to $20,000, according to Mr. McCulla.

“We hope, if it’s agreeable to the (property) owner, we’ll be able to do the study in 90 to 120 days,” the county administrator said.

Mr. McCulla will discuss the terms of a study period with Warrenton commercial Realtor Bill Chipman, who represents the bank.

In other matters Thursday, the supervisors:

• Unanimously rezoned 124 acres at Vint Hill to increase the amount of building space for data center or government use. The 24-percent increase would permit up to an additional 751,265 square feet of buildings for those uses. The land lies at Aiken Drive and Kennedy Road, north of the Vint Hill Parkway.

• Authorized County Attorney Paul MCulla to take all necessary steps to transfer 50 acres of county-owned property to the Lord Fairfax Community College Educational Foundation. That will include an agreement spelling out the terms under which the property would be used to double the size of LFCC’s Fauquier campus just south of Warrenton.

The donation depends upon the Town of Warrenton agreeing to provide water and sewer service. Council members have informally agreed but have yet to take a formal vote on utility service.

The supervisors also stipulated that the land would revert to county ownership if the college or its foundation fail to start construction of a building within five years of the donation.

County and college officials have expressed an interest in constructing a workforce training center, if feasible, on the 50-acre addition.

• Took the rare step of agreeing to condemn private property for public use.

On a 4-1 vote, the board agreed to take a small strip of Black Horse Inn owner Lynn Pirozzoli’s land along Meetze Road to allow construction of the long-planned Central Sports Complex.

Negotiations failed to produce an agreement with Ms. Pirozzoli for a construction easement and acquisition of 2,065 square feet for drainage.

The supervisors expressed regret for the condemnation but deemed it necessary to move ahead with construction of the sports complex, planned for 16 years and for which the county already has spent $1 million.

The county will pay Ms. Pirozzoli $12,452 and immediately take the strip of land.

Holder Trumbo (Scott District) voted against condemnation of the property.

• Approved the sale of a single-family home on one acre at 4355 Lake Brittle Road near New Baltimore to Michael and Ingrid Parker for $257,500, or $30,000 more than the property’s appraised value, according to Mr. McCulla.

One of several county-owned properties deemed surplus, the New Baltimore lot has agricultural zoning.

Contact Don Del Rosso at Don@FauquierNow.com or 540-270-0300.
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