Lake of the Woods About LOW
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Orange County Information


Orange County was settled in 1714 when Lieutenant Governor Aleander Soptswood established the Germanna settlement for German miners and their families near the Rapidan River. The county is historically significant as the birthplace of our 12th President, Zachary Taylor, and home of our fourth President, James Madison.

County government began in 1734, and the towns of Orange and Gordonsville were incorporated 100 years later. The county covers 355 square miles and is largely rural and agricultrual, with a population of approximately 28,000.


A five-member Board of Supervisors elected to four-year terms governs Orange County. The county is divided into five voting districts. LOW lies in Orange County District 5, known as the Gordon District. Supervisors set policy and local tax rates, plan and approve the budgete, and govern the county. The Board of Supervisors meets on the second Tuesday of the month at 4pm, and the fourth Tuesday of the month at 7pm in the meeting room of the Gordon Building on Main Street in Orange. Public hearings are generally held at the first monthly meeting and begin at 7:30pm. Public comment is at 7pm at both meetings. Information on Orange County government, including contact information and elected officials and staff can be found in the front section o fthe Fire and Rescue LOW Directory, and at

Animal Shelter

The Orange County Animal Shelter, located on Porter Road in Orange (turn left off Route 20 opposite the Orange County airport) provides animal control services and shelters unwanted, lost or abandoned animals. The Orange County Humane Society helps to find homes for stray and unwanted pets and has a successful spay/neuter program.

Dog Tags

Yearly tags must be on your dog by January 31, or as soon as the dog is four months old. State law requires that rabies vaccination certificates issued within the past three years be presented when purchasing tags. Tags can be purchased at the Orange County Animal Shelter, the Orange County Treasurer's Office or at the Locust Grove Veterinary Clinic on Route 3. Current cost of tags is $2 if your dog has been spayed or neutered, and $10 if not. All income from the sale of dog tags goes to the Orange County spay/neuter program. Ask the Orange County Animal Shelter about discount certificates available for these procedures.

Education and Schools

More than 1,100 children residing in LOW attend Locust Grove Elementary School (K-4), Locust Grove Middle School (Grades 5-8) and Orange County High School (Grades 9-12). The elementary and middle schools are located on Route 20 five miles south of Route 3. Orange County High School is in the town of Orange. School buses pick up students throughout LOW. All Orange County schools meet the Virginia Standards of Learning.

A five-member school board elected by district governs Orange County Public Schools. The school board meets monthly on the first Tuesday at 7pm in the Gordon Building on Main Street in Orange. Further information:

LOWA members and residents with preschool-age children can take advantage of preferred registration at the Lake Co-op Preschool. The Lake Co-op Preschool, located inside the community, is an accredited preschool serving children age two to four.

Opportunities for post-high school and/or adult education include Germanna Community College's Locust Grove (three miles west), Culpeper and Fredericksburg campuses, the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg and Strayer University, which offers both undergraduate and graduate programs.

Emergency Services

Orange County uses the 911 Emergency Response System, and notifies LOW Security when an emergency call is received from within our community. The county employs 11 emergency service professionals who handle emergencies from the Emergency Operations Center under the direction of a Response Systems Manager, EMS Director and Emergency Services Coordinator. Paid rescue personnel supplement local volunteer rescue units.

Georgraphic Information System (GIS)

Ornage County's geographic information system ( provides access to such county map information as parcels, street addresses, zoning, election districts, school districts, flood zones, wetland areas, USGS topographic information, aerial photographs and locations of schools, churches, fire and rescue stations, refuse centers and large businesses. Information acquired fro mthis source should be verified with the Circuit Court Clerk, and inaccurate information should be reported to the Planning and Zoning Office. Property ownership changes are not recorded until January 1 of the year following the transaction.

Planning Commission

The Planning Commission makes recommendation s to the Board of Supervisors on matters involving long-range planning, and the administration and enforcement of the county's zoning and subdivision ordinances. The Planning Commission consists of two members from each of the five county districts, and are appointed by the Supervisor for that district. The Planning Commission meets the first thursday of each onth at 7pm in the meeting room o fthe Gordon Building on Main Street in Orange. The Board of Zoning Appeals meets as needed on the third Wednesday of each month at 7:30pm, also in the Gordon Building. The Board considers zoning variances, exceptions and hears appeals. Call 672-4347 or 982-1455 to schedule a hearing.

Law Enforcement

Police protection and the investigation of criminal offenses are the responsibility of th eOrange County Sheriff's Office working with the Virginia State police. The Sheriff's Office manages a staff of deputies and investigators who cover the county's entire population.

If you have an emergency, call 911 and tell the dispatcher you need a LOW Security officer immediately. LOW Security staff will respond to stabilize any urgent situation until a Sheriff's Deputy arrives.


Orange County has three libraries, all with online services and computers for public use. The Main Library is in the town of Orange. The Wilderness Branch Library is located just outside LOW's back gate on Route 601. It offers reading programs for children year-round. Up-to-date library information can be obtained at You can obtain a library card by showing proof of residency with a LOWA membership card or any other printed document showing your address.

Real Estate and Personal Property Taxes

The Orange County Treasurer's office, located in the Gordon Building on Main Street in Orange, is responsible for collecting taxes. The Board of Supervisors establish a real estate tax rate per $100 of assessed value, with reassessments performed every four years. A personal property tax is levied on vehicles and boats. All county residents are required to have an Orange County sticker on their vehicles, unless their primary residence is elsewhere. Stickers currently cost $25 for a car and $15 for a motorcycle. To obtain a sticker, newcomers must mail or bring a copy of their Virginia vehicle registation to the Treasurer's office. Annual sticker renewals are mailed automatically.

The Orange County Commissioner of the Revenue is available to assist residents with state income tax and personal property tax matters.

Orange County Nursing Home and Home for Adults

The Orange County Nursing Home and Home for Adults provides quality nursing care to all eligible clients using respect and dignity as a basis for service. The present capacity is 134 nursing facility beds and 34 adult care residence beds, along with 17 beds for rehabilitation services to those who qualify. Owned by Orange County Nursing Home Commission, appointed by the Board of Supervisors. The facility complies with all federal, state and local guidelines.


Orange County has no public transportation services. The Greyhound bus line, Amtrak and Virginia Railway Express trains serve Fredericksburg, and carpools and vans provide convenient connections from commuter lots. Five commercial airports are within driving distance from Orange County: Reagan National, Dulles, Baltimore-Washington (BWI), Richmond and Charlottesville.


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