vanessa-newVanessa Remmers covers Stafford County government and schools for and The Free Lance-Star.

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Reservoir creates waterfront properties that could be more valuable

Read more updates about the reservoir–including the closure of Rocky Run Road–in this story.

At a town hall meeting earlier this summer, one resident questioned if her taxes would increase when the new Rocky Pen Run Reservoir opens in a few months.

The question is really, will the reservoir turn existing homes into higher-valued waterfront properties?

And the answer is yes, it’s possible, but not it wouldn’t happen immediately.

Commissioner of Revenue Scott Mayausky explained to me that assessments (conducted every two years) are based on market values. If homes sell for higher prices, assessments follow suit. The Board of Supervisors sets property taxes each year, so your bill comes from that tax rate set against your house’s value.

While homeowners who live in Hartwood likely didn’t intend to live by a lake, many soon will. Mayausky also said nothing in Virginia law allows the county to exempt current property owners from higher-valued assessments because of the county’s 20-year, $132 million project.

The commissioner of revenue office will monitor sales in the area over time, and make changes based on those figures. “As property begins to sell, we will see quickly if those houses are more valuable because of the water,” Mayausky said.