Clarke County Round-up: Courthouse Renovation and Recycling Center Soon; Supervisors Establish New Public Hearing Speed Record

The Clarke County Board of Supervisors moved forward on several initiatives at Tuesday’s meeting including a make-over for the Clarke County Courthouse, more convenient recycling for residents in the northeast corner of the county, and adoption of storm water management reforms that will vault Clarke County to the forefront of modern storm water management.

Clarke County Circuit Courthouse to Receive Make-Over

After 170 years of dispensing justice, the Clarke County courthouse will soon receive a preservation face-lift. Designed and built in 1840 by David Meade, the younger brother of Bishop William Meade, the building was erected soon after Clarke County was formed from Frederick County in 1836.

While the renovation contractor has already been selected, grant funds have still not been transferred.

County Administrator David Ash told the Supervisors that although the paperwork for a $329K Rural Development Authority grant had been completed there were still administrative issues preventing the transfer of the funding and preventing commencement of the renovation work.

Clearly impatient with the bureaucratic delays, Supervisor Chairman Michael Hobert instructed Ash to personally shepherd the grant process through to completion.

“I’d like you make the call to RDA and push it through,” Hobert said to Ash.

Renovation of the historic structure will be performed by Hammerhead Construction of Dulles, Virginia. Hammerhead Construction is a local general contractor with projects in the Northern Virginia and the Metropolitan Washington area.

The project’s scope includes both interior and exterior renovations (but will not include HVAC) and is projected to require five months to complete.

Route 7 Recycling Center

Residents in the northeast corner of the County or those that commute along Route 7 may soon find waste recycling a bit easier. Clarke County has obtained a lease option for a recycling convenience center to be located on property near the Stuart M. Perry Quarry just west of the Shenandoah River.

On Tuesday the Supervisor’s approved $7,500 for a site survey to determine exact placement of the facility.

“The goal of the survey is to find a spot where the terrain easily accommodates driving in a dumping the recyclable materials,” explained Supervisor David Weiss (Buckmarsh). The site survey is also intended to minimize the facilities visual and noise impact.

New Storm Water Management Regulations On Clarke’s Horizon (Even if Rain Isn’t)

New Virginia storm water management rules, intended reduce polluted runoff – the fastest-growing source of pollution to the Chesapeake Bay- will likely soon be added to the Clarke County Code.

Clarke County’s current storm water management regulations have not been overhauled since being established in 1998. The proposed changes will allow the county to require runoff reduction methods that enhance local groundwater recharge, improve stream health and decrease erosion and flooding.

County Planning Administrator Chuck Johnston told the Supervisors that the new Virginia regulations require a local program administrator not only in Clarke County but for Boyce and Berryville as well.

Johnston told the Supervisors that even with adoption the new regulations there are many existing building sites already approved where the new rules cannot be retroactively applied.

“There are many building lots already recorded that pose development challenges but can’t be changed now” Johnston said. “Storm water management is the same thing. The new rules will have the biggest impact on new commercial applications and large sub-divisions.”

A public hearing on the proposed amendment will be held on August 17.

For more information please see CDN article “Planners Approve Sweeping Changes to Storm Water Management Regs” at

New Library Books

The Handley Library Fund plans to spend $20K on new books and CD’s for the Clarke County Library. The acquisition will come from a $30K of surplus of funds raised by Clarke County citizens for the construction of the Clarke County Public Library.

Clarke Supervisors Establish Speed Record for Completion of a Public Hearing

The Clarke County Board of Supervisors convened at 6:30 pm on Tuesday night to consider formal inclusion of the Green Advisory Committee goals into the Clarke County Comprehensive Plan.

With no members of the public present to comment, the Comprehensive Plan was unanimously amended and the meeting adjourned at 6:34:30 pm EST.


  1. Chuck Johnston says:

    Regarding your article on the Circuit Court House renovation, about 90% of the work in this project will be in the 1977 Circuit Court House, which the building on the right side of the picture. The picture is of the 1836 District Court House. The 10% of the project that is in the District Court House will be in the 1950 rear addition for holding cells.

    CDN Editor’s Reply:

    According to the “Hammerhead Construction News”:

    Clarke County Courthouse Renovation Starting Soon

    April 20, 2010: The Historic County Courthouse facility in Berryville, VA that was originally built in 1840 will be going under a renovation, and Hammerhead Construction is contracted for the job. The scope includes both interior and exterior renovations and will take five months to complete.