9.6 – Other Considerations

The following were also determined to be of interest to citizens and property owners when considering the town incorporation of Massanutten. These considerations received a lesser prioritization by the Massanutten Town Study Group. Thus, they are merely summarized and the reader is suggested to review applicable sections of this report for further information.

Consideration of Parks and Recreation

Citizens and property owners may wish to consider what would be the impact of town incorporation on parks, trails, and recreation in the Massanutten community. The bottom line is that town parks and open spaces would be entitled to receive state and federal funding for maintenance and improvements. It is unlikely that an incorporated town of Massanutten would have any recreational facilities because there are so many provided by Great Eastern Resorts and by MPOA, who would likely retain these assets. A full summary of this consideration is included in table below. Please refer to Section VI of this report for more details.

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Consideration of Great Eastern Resorts

Citizens and property owners may wish to consider what would be the impact of town incorporation on Great Eastern Resorts (GER), which would be the largest business in the incorporated town. The bottom line is that, if Massanutten incorporates into a town, GER would actually pay the same or less in taxes and fees than it currently pays in all taxes and fees, including MPOA assessment fees. However, a Town Council would control planning and zoning of GER properties, versus the County Supervisors. A full summary of this consideration is included in table below. Please refer to Sections VII & VIII of this report for more details.

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Consideration of Massanutten Villas Owners Association (MVOA)

Citizens and property owners may wish to consider what would be the impact of town incorporation on the Mountainside Villas Owners Association (MVOA), whose members own 175 timeshares in Massanutten Village. The bottom line is that, if Massanutten incorporates into a town, MVOA would actually pay less in taxes and fees than it currently pays in all taxes and fees, including MPOA assessment fees. However, a Town Council would control planning and zoning of MVOA properties, versus the County Supervisors. A full summary of this consideration is included in table below. Please refer to Sections VII & VIII of this report for more details.

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Consideration of the Costs to Incorporate

Citizens and property owners may wish to consider what would be the cost to incorporate an incorporated town of Massanutten. The bottom line is that the citizens of the community would have to pay for the cost to prepare a plat of the town boundaries (~5,000), legally review the initial Town Charter (~$3,000), and analyze the town’s mountainous terrain for VDOT road maintenance funding (~$7,000). These costs are estimated, if the town were incorporated via VA General Assembly enactment. A full summary of this consideration is included in table below. Please refer to Section III of this report for more details.

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Consideration of Town Incorporation Start-up Costs

Citizens and property owners may wish to consider what would be the startup costs after the incorporation of a Town of Massanutten. The bottom line is that the startup costs for the administration of an incorporated town of Massanutten are incidental and can readily be paid for upon the implementation of town vehicle license, food & beverage, and transient occupancy taxes. Many other startup costs of an incorporated town of Massanutten could be alleviated by the transfer of MPOA road maintenance and law enforcement assets, if these services are provided by the town to all citizens and property owners, including those in Massanutten Village. A full summary of this consideration is included in table below. Please refer to Section VIII of this report for more details.

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Consideration of Disenfranchising Property Owners

Citizens and property owners may wish to consider who might be «disenfranchised» by the town incorporation of the Massanutten community. The bottom line is that this is the most misused, misunderstood, and politically volatile term heard in the discussion about town incorporation. Webster’s defines «disenfranchise» as «to deprive the legal right to vote». The table below summarizes the specific voting rights of citizens and property owners in the Massanutten community, pre and post incorporation. It includes voting rights in County, Town, and MPOA elections. The only individuals found to be «disenfranchised» by town incorporation would be Rockingham County citizens, who would own properties in an incorporated town of Massanutten and who would not be citizens of an incorporated town of Massanutten. They would lose their right to elect officials (pre incorporation is the Rockingham County Supervisors) who would be responsible for planning and zoning of their properties (post incorporation would be the Massanutten Town Council). There are individuals in Massanutten Village, who are currently being «disenfranchised». These individuals are permanent residents who rent properties and who are not eligible to vote in MPOA Board of Directors elections. The MPOA Board makes decisions on the quality of life matters that affect all residents of Massanutten Village, including renters.

With regards to MPOA and its assets, it is important to note that VA property owners associations often legally turn over private roads to be maintained publicly by a government body without having unanimous consent of its members. In fact, MPOA has swapped property with Great Eastern Resorts in the past without having unanimous consent of MPOA members. It should also be noted that VA property owners associations often legally transfer, donate or sell assets without having unanimous consent of its members. In fact, MPOA has done this on numerous occasions in the past without having unanimous consent of its members. Please refer to Sections II and VII of this report for more details.

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Consideration of the Resistance to Town Incorporation

Citizens may wish to consider the sources of any resistance to town incorporation. It is very important to understand that incorporation provides a community with a legally organized government body made up of local citizens with the authority to act in the best interest of their community. Pursuant to VA Law, whether being via Court of Law ruling or VA General Assembly enactment, town incorporation is all about what is in the best interest of the citizens of a community. In general, County governments and property owners associations are against incorporation because they lose power and control. In general, businesses are against incorporation, if they are happy with the existing governmental power and control structure. However, a community does not need the approval of any County government, property owners association, or business to incorporate into a town. It only needs the approval of the VA General Assembly or a VA Court of Law, who are sworn to act in the best interest of the citizens. It is important to note that the town of Castlewood was incorporated by the VA General Assembly in 1991, despite the strong opposition of the local County Supervisors. A full summary of this consideration is included in table below. Please refer to Section II of this report for more details.

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