Tess Mackey, Virginia Sea Grant Correspondent
“I’m looking forward to doing work that will be solving a county’s problems and affecting real people’s lives,” says Jacob Testa, who joined the Virginia Coastal Policy Clinic at the William & Mary Law School this fall.
Testa will work with the Middle Peninsula Planning District Commission (MPPDC) to create a memorandum for Mathews County, VA, on property value assessments following the Virginia Department of Health’s new septic system regulations. Many rural properties in this area, which were undevelopable because of the low-lying land and high water table, can now be built upon due to the permitting of engineered, on-site septic systems.
However, real estate value assessments have not yet taken these on-site property changes into account.
As a result, local government is losing property tax revenue that would help to further the economic growth and development of the county. Testa will identify why this discrepancy between the approval of the new systems and the local real estate assessment process exists. Additionally, his memorandum will detail the current state and county laws in place and recommend solutions to the MPPDC, including how sea level rise may increase flood risk on the Middle Peninsula and impact future valuations and development of rural properties.
Testa studied English, philosophy, and music as an undergraduate at Washington and Jefferson College in South Pittsburg, PA. He is now in his third year at the William & Mary Law School, where he serves as Executive Editor of the William & Mary Environmental Law and Policy Review, a Residence Life Hall Director for Green and Gold Village, and Music Director of Law Capella.