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UPDATED: County board sticks with 7 magisterial districts

Dec. 21 public hearing set on new district maps

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Prince William County redistricting maps proposed

A consultant hired by Prince William County suggested a new, 8th magisterial district in the county in response to population growth. Supervisors decided Nov. 9 to stick with only seven districts. The red houses denote the county's 13 high schools.

Prince William County supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to stick with only seven magisterial districts – instead of adding an eighth – for at least the next 10 years. Still, the lines of the existing seven districts need to be redrawn by the end of the year to accommodate new population growth in certain parts of the county.

ARCBridge Consulting & Training Inc., a firm hired by the county to redraw the districts, presented potential seven and eight-district maps during the 2 p.m. session of the Nov. 9 board meeting. After a brief discussion, supervisors voted unanimously not to create an eighth district, which would have cost an estimated $1.1 million to $1.6 million and triggered special elections for a new supervisor and school board seat in November 2022. 

None of the supervisors took a strong position on the issue either way. Supervisor Victor Angry, D-Neabsco, said he was “leaning” towards seven districts. Supervisors Pete Candland, R-Gainesville, and Kenny Boddye, D-Occoquan, both said there were pros and cons to either scenario. 

Every 10 years, state legislatures are charged with redrawing the political boundaries for the Virginia General Assembly and congressional districts. Virginia’s counties and cities must also redraw the boundaries of their districts and may decide whether to add new council or magisterial districts, a process that is left to the local elected officials rather than the state legislature.

Prince William County is one of the fastest growing locales in Virginia. It is the second-largest and most diverse county in Virginia as well as the 10th most diverse county in the U.S., according to newly-released 2020 U.S. Census data. The county has added 82,000 new residents since the last redistricting took place in 2011.

ARCBridge’s proposed seven-district map of the county shrinks the three most populated magisterial districts -- the Coles, Brentsville, and Gainesville districts -- so that the population of all seven districts is roughly 69,000 residents. 

The maps presented at the meeting are not the final maps, and will likely change prior to the board’s public hearing on the redistricting process next month. 

“Don’t get too attached to the maps you see today. They’re going to change quite a bit,” At-large Chair Ann Wheeler (D) said.

Now that the board has chosen seven districts, the county will seek community input on the new map and begin advertising next month for a Tuesday, Dec. 21, public hearing to adopt new maps and voting precincts.

Reach Daniel Berti at dberti@fauquier.com

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(4) comments

DMkatchmeric

They should wait until the State House of Delegate map is decided before drawing the PWC districts. They should try to avoid split precincts in HOD elections. Also redraw the precinct lines and make sure that precinct polling places are inside precinct lines. You have time to do this right the next PWC Supervisors election is not until 2023.

DMkatchmeric

8 districts would have made sense to prevent 4-4 gridlock. This decision should have been given to the voters. It should have been listed on the November ballot.

someone

"Chair Ann Wheeler, D-At-large, said at that time she supports adding another district to avoid the rare occurrence in which there is a deadlocked, 4-4 vote." Did she really say that? If there's 4 Socialist-Democrats and 4 Conservative Republicans on the board, nearly all of the votes will be deadlocked.

weouchere

What a waste of time and money.

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