Template talk:Fairfax County, Virginia

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I think this template is very useful, but I am concerned that there is no clear standard for what is a "community" for purposes of this template. It seems like some of the communities are fairly large and others are simply neighborhoods. Clearly Census-Designated Places should be included, but for other areas, what criteria should be used? Argos'Dad 14:51, 25 September 2008 (UTC)

What we generally do is to include all named locations in the county that have their own articles, except those located within municipalities: for Wikipedia purposes, a neighborhood is a named populated place within a municipality, while an unincorporated community is one without a municipality. I virtually never add redlinks to county templates, as I think it looks rather unsightly, but once they're added they really shouldn't be removed without cause. Nyttend (talk) 17:29, 25 September 2008 (UTC)
Your definition makes sense. I recently added Holmes Run Acres to this template even though I was uncertain as to whether it was appropriate. It would seem to fit the defintion of unincorporated community (above), as Holmes Run Acres is a an unincorporated part of Fairfax County, just like many of the other communities (some larger and some smaller) that are already listed. I don't have strong feelings about this, but removing Holmes Run Acres while leaving New Alexandria which is also a very small neighborhood in unincorporated Fairfax County (and doesn't have an article) doesn't make sense. Argos'Dad 18:05, 25 September 2008 (UTC)

Incorporation Hierarchy[edit]

There seems to be some misinformation about the status of towns in the state of Virginia. The hierarchy of governments is: state (VA)->independent city -- OR -- state (VA)->county->town. Thus all Virginia towns are entirely located within the boundaries of a single county. A perfect example of this is the town of Occoquan. The state charter for the town is http://dls.state.va.us/lrc/charters/OCCOQUAN.pdf, and that clearly states (and give boundaries for) that the town is fully within Prince William County. Secondary references that back this up are Google Earth and usps.com . —Preceding unsigned comment added by Timsabin (talkcontribs) 12:32, 15 June 2009 (UTC)

Can you come up with an official state reference for all towns only being in a single county? According to the reference that I have provided, the town extends into both counties — and I have no reason not to believe that things could have changed since the charter was created. All I have seen, aside from the charter, is the Census Bureau's documentary evidence that the town is in both counties. Nyttend (talk) 11:56, 17 June 2009 (UTC)
By the way, how is the USPS website helping with this? It's not as if it shows municipal boundaries. Moreover, Google Maps doesn't show county boundaries. Nyttend (talk) 11:57, 17 June 2009 (UTC)
Note that the last time the charter was amended was 1993. The site that this charter comes from, http://dls.state.va.us/, is the web version of the Commonwealth of Virginia's code. Going through the site I have been able to discern that it is kept very recent; the last charter that was amended that I can find was for the City of Bristol (http://dls.state.va.us/lrc/charters/BRISTOL.pdf) in 2008. This indicates that Virginia keeps this site up-to-date.
I would take data from official state legislative documents any day over census bureau data. Census Bureau data is meant solely to expedite their task of counting people, not to define incorporated localities. No, I can't come up with a reference that proves that all towns must be in a single county. I just know that to be true after living in Virginia for 31 years. I will look on the Occoquan (or other town) site to see if I can further verify that. Also, you can poke holes in my use of Google Earth (not Google Maps) and USPS.com. They got my research started; those plus my life experience told me about the one-county-per-town issue, and the DLS Charter site confirmed it. --Tim Sabin (talk) 12:47, 17 June 2009 (UTC)
The code of the Town of Occoquan clearly states in it's definition section:

Town. The term "town" or "the town" shall mean the Town of Occoquan, in Prince William County, Virginia.

This is in http://www.occoquan.org/pdf_docs/ordinances/ch001.pdf . The last update of this site was in 2009. This same site defines the term County as meaning Prince William County; nowhere is Fairfax County referenced. --Tim Sabin (talk) 14:23, 17 June 2009 (UTC)
  • Tim is correct about Occoquan, based on the language of the town charter. As a more general matter, however, it is possible for a town in Virginia to cross a county line. (That is, it is legally possible; I don't know whether there are any actual towns that are in multiple counties.) According to Virginia Code § 15.2-102, "'Town' means any existing town or an incorporated community within one or more counties which became a town before noon, July one, nineteen hundred seventy-one, as provided by law or which has within defined boundaries a population of 1,000 or more and which has become a town as provided by law." --R'n'B (call me Russ) 15:21, 17 June 2009 (UTC)
No argument if these charters are kept up-to-date; I took it to be that it was only in one county when the charter was made. Thanks for the official code response, R'n'B. My point was that you had not provided any state legislative documents. Moreover, the Census Bureau is responsible for geography as well as for counting people: Nihoa, which is clearly uninhabited and really couldn't support much of any human life (see picture), still has a special detailed Census Bureau study that's linked at the bottom of the article. See this detailed state map for an example. Nyttend (talk) 04:34, 18 June 2009 (UTC)


An IP editor today took out certain "Unincorporated Communities", and put them in a new section called "Villages". In Virginia, there is no concept of a village (or township, for that matter) - only the Commonwealth, Counties, Cities, and Towns. It seems we have chosen to place parts of a county in the "unincorporated community" section, which, to me, is fine. What do others think? --Tim Sabin (talk) 17:44, 14 August 2009 (UTC)

Nationwide, we list all communities by their type: aside from listing census-designated places differently in most states' templates (Virginia is an exception to this), all unincorporated communities are always listed together. Nyttend (talk) 19:17, 14 August 2009 (UTC)