A group of developers has asked the Purcellville Town Council to approve a plan that Mayor Eric Zimmerman said could double the town's population of 2,200 in five years.

The plan would mean expanding the town's water and sewer system, paving the way for a level of development not now possible. Unlike rapidly growing Leesburg to the east, Purcellville's development has been limited by its lack of abundant water.

The proposal presented to the Purcellville Town Council by developers Herbert Jonkers, Purcellville South Limited Partnership, Melmore Enterprises and Christian Kerge would change all that. It would provide the estimated $2.5 million needed for a major expansion of the town's water and sewer system that would supply enough water for all the developers' projects and for other development as well. "We're bearing {in the plan} the burden of all the development for the town," Jonkers said in a telephone interview.

The proposal would place the major undeveloped tracts in Purcellville -- amounting to roughly 400 acres -- in a special tax district. The developers own 120 of those 400 acres. Revenue generated from the taxes in the special district, which would be higher than other taxes in the town, would pay the interest on a $2.5 million bond carried by the town to pay for the enlarged water and sewer system. Fees paid by the developers to tap into the water and sewer system would pay off the principal of the bond, said Jonkers, spokesman for the group and owner of 67 acres in the town.

So far, the proposal is under informal consideration, council members emphasized. What the town must first decide, said Zimmerman, is how much growth it wants to encourage. "It would be a major policy decision," he said.

"I'm in no hurry. It's the developers who are anxious to get it done. We'll just sit back and take a look at everything and decide what to do," Zimmerman said.

Jonkers said if the town is too slow in making a decision, he and the other developers will look for a different way to solve their water problems. Purcellville South Limited Partnership has already withdrawn its interest in the proposal, according to partner Andrew Shope.

"We drilled wells on our property and found enough water that we don't need to depend on the town of Purcellville for water," said Shope. His partnership has the town's approval for a 100,000 square foot shopping center and 180 town houses on the 30-acre Kemp tract on the eastern edge of town.

"We couldn't sit back and wait. We had to do something about it and we did something about it," Shope said.

"It will be the landowners that want to develop their property that will have to push the town into making that decision," he said.

The council will consider the proposal again at its March 1 workshop.