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.