Town Incorporation of Massanutten

3.5 – Comparison of Localities

A comparison of populations and areas for towns near Massanutten can be made based upon 2010 U.S. Census data. At the time of the Census, Massanutten was included as a Census Designated Place (CDP). The data for the nearby towns and Massanutten are shown in the table below. Data for Rockingham County and the City of Harrisonburg is also included. It is important to note that the population density of Rockingham County (89 persons per square mile) is significantly less than the maximum allowed by law (200 persons per square mile) for the possible town incorporation of Massanutten — this means Massanutten meets this legal requirement.

Massanutten’s population and number of housing units are commensurate with data for nearby towns. Actually, Massanutten has the largest number of housing units when considering both residential and timeshare units. However, its land area is significantly larger than those of nearby towns which results in a relatively sparse population density. The Census data for Massanutten delineated a land area of 9.2 square miles. This is smaller than the 12.2 square miles calculated for the bounded town area in this feasibility study — so, the actual population and housing unit numbers for an incorporated town of Massanutten will be larger. As a matter of further comparison, the Town of Leesburg has been included in the table which has a similar land area to Massanutten, but has a significantly larger population.

Virginia Locality Population
(2010 Census)
Total Area
(sq mi)
Population Density
(persons/sq mi)
Number Of
Housing Units
Town of Bridgewater 5,644 2.4 2,391 2,120 $46,140
Town of Broadway 3,691 2.2 1,674 1,560 $46,396
Town of Dayton 1,530 1.0 1,607 662 $36,016
Town of Elkton 2,726 2.9 947 1,314 $39,391
Town of Grottoes 2,668 1.8 1,504 1,135 $40,173
Town of Timberville 2,522 1.2 2,112 1,166 $38,460
Massanutten (CDP) 2,291 9.2 248 2,692 $70,122
City of Harrisonburg 48,914 17.6 2,779 17,444 $33,038
Rockingham County 76,314 853.0 89 33,660 $46,418
Town of Leesburg 42,616 11.6 3,674 15,119 $93,148

It should be noted that the large area bounded by the town of Massanutten in this feasibility study has direct traceability to County and State planning as discussed earlier in this section of the report. It would be difficult to justify haphazardly removing land from the bounded area just to reduce the overall land area and subsequently increase the population density for an incorporated town of Massanutten. The large bounded area of 12.2 square miles or 7,802 acres for the incorporated town of Massanutten largely stems from the large planned area of 5,135 acres for Massanutten Village. This planned area was approved by the County Supervisors 40 years ago and then supported in a dozen approved amendments since then. It is believed that the bounded town area for Massanutten given here is traceable and provides for ample growth capability if the area is incorporated.

It should also be noted, from the previous subsection, that the established boundaries for an incorporated town of Massanutten delineated nearly $677 million of assessed real estate value, of which more than $662 million are taxable. It was determined that Bridgewater has $587.5 million of assessed real estate value, of which only $391.3 million is taxable. And, Elkton has $223.4 million of assessed real estate value, of which only $190.4 million is taxable. In comparison to other towns in Rockingham County, an incorporated town of Massanutten would have between two (2) and three (3) times more taxable real estate which is more than adequate to support a town.