A standing-room-only crowd packed into the Leesburg Town Council chamber Saturday morning to learn more about a developer’s plans for the Westpark golf course property.
The 140-acre property went up for sale in the late summer and recently went under contract with CalAtlantic. Under current zoning, 27 homes can be built on the land, located southwest of the South King Street/Leesburg Bypass interchange.
CalAtlantic Vice President David Rettew said during the community meeting that was what his company plans to do. A key question at this point is whether 27 homes would be clustered on small lots with much of the current golf course preserved as open space or whether the entire course property be carved up into house lots.
Those are the two options Rettew presented Saturday. The first would require action by the Town Council, as clustering isn’t allowed under the zoning; the second by-right option could move forward without any council review.
Area residents gathered for the meeting raised a few central concerns: the development’s impact on already severe flooding in the area, an anticipated decline of home values in neighborhoods lining the golf course, and the disturbance anticipated during construction.
Several speakers made it clear they would prefer CalAtlantic walk away from the purchase and encouraged Rettew to do so.
The developer, however, said that was unlikely, even as the contractual study period continues. Closing is expected in February.
“We’re trying to put forward a plan that has the least impact on the fewest residents,” Rettew said.
Under the clustered layout option, which would require an amendment to the town’s zoning ordinance, 113 acres would be preserved as open space. He said that land—too much for a 27-lot homeowner’s association to maintain—would be donated to the town, to another larger HOA, or even to a land trust.
But even the option of keeping that land open did not address the concerns of some residents. One said that many buyers paid premiums, as much as $20,000 per home, for golf course views that would be obstructed by CalAtlantic’s homes.
Another concern raised during the meeting was that construction traffic would likely be routed from South King Street on to Country Club Drive to access the development.
It was concerns about flooding that dominated the meeting. Several residents said the developer did not understand the frequency and severity of flooding on the property and questioned whether the town’s regulatory floodplain maps were accurate.
While Saturday’s meeting was designed as a community information session, several town leaders attended. Those included Mayor Kelly Burk, council members Marty Martinez and Ron Campbell, and Supervisor Kristen Umstattd (D-Leesburg).