Neighbors Gear Up for Westpark Fight in Leesburg

The neighborhoods surrounding the Westpark Golf Course in Leesburg refuse to sit idly by as the development of the golf course is being considered.

The 140-acre property was placed up for sale in the late summer and recently went under contract with CalAtlantic, a home builder. The majority of the property is zoned for by-right residential development that would allow up to 27 homes. Eight acres is zoned for commercial use.

Nearby residents in the past few weeks have launched an effort to preserve the opens space. A Facebook group, Keep Westpark Golf Course Green, was created, and quickly garnered 500 members. Over the weekend, residents held their first formal meeting at Rust Library, which attracted more than 60 attendees, including Mayor Kelly Burk. They have petitioned the Town Council and also attended Monday’s Parks and Recreation Commission meeting. A GoFundMe page to aid in their efforts has also been established.

In addition to wanting to preserve the green space, residents have pointed to the heavy flooding the property experiences during rain storms and questioned how that would be a suitable location for residential development. A large portion of the property is located in the town’s Floodplain Overlay District, and a smaller portion in the Creek Valley Buffer.

According to Burk, who met with CalAtlantic Vice President David Rettew last week, the homebuilder has its eyes set on building the by-right residential development and then donating the remaining 115 acres to the town for use as a park. There has been no mention commercial development on the site; the existing proffers restrict any commercial development to only a hotel with accessory uses, such as a dining room and golf course.

Town planning staff issued a memo this week responding to some common questions being posed about the Westpark property. There is not much that can be done legislatively should the developer proceed with its by-right development options. However, Burk said the developer was looking at the possibility of clustering the 27 homes around the existing Hole 15 on the property, parallel to Chancellor Street so the development  could be served by one road. The RE zoning designation does not provide for a cluster option, so in this instance the developer would need to pursue an either a Zoning Ordinance text amendment, or a rezoning to R-2, either of which would require both Planning Commission and Town Council review.

Burk said she urged Rettew to meet with the neighbors to address their concerns. A Saturday, Dec. 2, meeting is tentatively scheduled, with further details yet to be provided, according to a post on the Keep Westpark Golf Course Green Facebook page.

Rettew did not respond to a call for comment this week.

krodriguez@loudounnow.com

6 thoughts on “Neighbors Gear Up for Westpark Fight in Leesburg

  • 2017-11-22 at 1:20 pm
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    “donating the remaining 115 acres to the town for use as a park”

    That’s a good deal and I suggest the neighbors take it. And, frankly, there is nothing you can do about them building the by-right homes.

    27 homes for a 115 acre park? That’s as good as it will get folks.

  • 2017-11-22 at 5:34 pm
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    When you ask yourself as a longtime Leesburg resident “How exactly did we get to this sorry state of affairs as a town?”, David’s post helps provide the answer. My prayers are with the Keep Westpark Golf Course Green folks in their fight and encourage everyone to donate at https://www.gofundme.com/keep-westpark-golf-course-green

    Give ’em hell

    • 2017-11-27 at 11:06 am
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      You are really going to object to getting a 115-acre park for FREE? How many 100+ acre parks do you think Leesburg is going to create in the future? The “cost” of the park is 27 houses, which is a pittance compared to the population of Leesburg and a tiny development by Loudoun standards. Since the homes are by-right, there really is practically nothing that can be done.

      An alternative is rejecting the offer, the developer builds the houses anyway, keeps the remaining land and does something else with it in the future (like build even more houses when some Council in the future finally grants their wish).

      Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth. Take the free park and enjoy using it.

      • 2017-12-01 at 7:44 am
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        There is hysteria among residents about what may or may not happen with the property. Most of these well-meaning residents have no clue about how our local government operates and the processes which must be followed. The property sale is not even completed! Once completed, any formal proposals to the Town Planning Commission or Town Council by the property owner won’t be brought forward for a while. Then the community can come forward to make its opinions known. The emphasis stating portions of the property is flood plain is a waste of time: this is not new information and most certainly the buyer paying $6M plus has researched all of this with land-use attorneys and is well educated on what can be built where. To say existing residents want green space at this point is a vapid argument: This Town Council knows that already. The Town Council knows existing residents are tired of seeing the last remaining fields replaced with tract and townhouse housing. We must face realities and not fantasies– we live in one of the most robust economies in the nation; golf courses are not money makers–it’s not 1968 anymore; the land is very valuable. And in the Town of Leesburg, if the end housing result is 27 homes each on 3 acre lots, as Mr. Dickinson said, it couldn’t get any better. This will lift the property values of surrounding, existing homes. And the suggestion of the Town receiving 100+ acres for town parkland should be welcomed. It could be a lot worse–see: Meadowbrook.

  • 2017-11-24 at 10:52 am
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    by-right development does not mean that building, and sewer permits must be issued. yes, you can build those houses, but you cannot connect to an already overburned water and sewer system. Town council can simply delay, delay, delay until such time that 27 more homes can be accomodated.

  • 2017-11-26 at 9:12 am
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    Funny how a Facebook Group includes Realtors and Politicians, or appointees, and you don’t really know who has your best interest at heart. With the old Ryland Folks always being “rezoning happy”, I wouldn’t expecting those 27 homes to be the only ones being built at the site. When the rezoning occurs, point fingers at the ones who appointed the appointees, the Politicians, because they will be the ones approving the additional homes, and the green space to include some green space and a small golf course, which will be a massive drain on The Town of Leesburg for years to come.

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