Residents Face Off with Developer Over Westpark Plans

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.

Representatives of CalAtlantic face a packed Leesburg Town Council chamber during a Dec. 2 community meeting about a proposed subdivision of the Westpark Golf Course property. [Norman K. Styer/Loudoun Now]
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.

CalAtlantic Vice President David Rettew answers questions during a Dec. 2 community meeting about a proposed subdivision of the Westpark Golf Course property. [Norman K. Styer/Loudoun Now]
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).

A resident reviews the plan for a 27-lot subdivision on the Westpark Golf Course property. [Norman K. Styer/Loudoun Now]

10 thoughts on “Residents Face Off with Developer Over Westpark Plans

  • 2017-12-03 at 8:18 pm
    Permalink

    The no-growther’s continue their efforts. Let’s understand what they want. Some residents want to prevent other landowners from using their own property as they wish even though development is allowed as a by-right. These residents are beyond selfish. They want a veto on what other folks do with their property (land).

    How about we do this. If these residents are so concerned about how houses affect the neighboring environment, why don’t we let new houses be built on the converted golf course and raze the houses of the whining residents “concerned” about the environment to compensate.

  • 2017-12-04 at 9:50 am
    Permalink

    These residents are baffling. You get a 100 acre park for 27 (by-right) houses. That’s an excellent deal. Enjoy the free park right next door.

  • 2017-12-04 at 12:13 pm
    Permalink

    This isn’t growth. It is sprawl and destruction of one of the last “open green spaces” in the Town of Leesburg. Numerous issues have come up with this particular proposal and I, for one, find it amazing that the Leesburg Town Council is not addressing any of them nor is the Loudoun Board of Supervisors offering any input on them:

    1. Flood plain issues. No one has offered any ideas on how to alleviate the flooding that will occur where those houses are to be built. The bottle-neck is the drain tunnels that run under the By-Pass into Old Izaak Walton Park. Just pushing dirt around Westpark golf course will not get the water to drain any faster through those tunnels.
    2. Environmental issues. No one is addressing the impact on Dry Mill Run, Tuscarora Creek and the downstream issues from the construction. Fish, frogs and other wildlife live in the streams. Construction on Westpark Golf Course could destroy those ecosystems.
    3. No one has any solution to the traffic issues that have plagued Route 15 south of Leesburg ever since the new developments on Evergreen Mill sprang up. Meadowbrook is going to make it worse once those homes are built and occupied and these new proposed homes in Country Club are simply adding to that problem.
    4. Neither the developer nor the Town Council has ever though to ask what the impact on our infrastructure is going to be, especially with schools. School over-crowding has already forced the Country Club students to switch from Evergreen Mill to Catoctin because of over-crowding in Brambleton. (Thank you Loudoun Planning Board and Board of Supervisors for saddling us with that little bit of incompetence.) Now, with Meadownbrook going in there will be more over-crowding in schools here in Leesburg AND when the 344 new homes go in behind Food Lion, it will be even worse. Where will our children be forced to move next? Hamilton? No new schools are planned for Leesburg until 2023.

    How about we suspend all construction and growth in Leesburg (and Loudoun County) until all of these infrastructure and environmental issues are resolved satisfactorily?

  • 2017-12-04 at 4:27 pm
    Permalink

    I for one am starting to get sick and tired of those, like 84rules, who comment so self righteously yet so inarticulately that they do far more harm than good. For example, this is a Town of Leesburg issue. The property is in the Town of Leesburg. The governmental entity known as the County of Loudoun does not have a say in this matter. Yet, 84rules attacks the County of Loudoun, I guess, just to attack someone. Nor, is there any distinction as to any elected officials, and their roles in any of this. For example, when on the Leesburg Town Council, and then Mayor, Kristen Umstattd voted no on every major rezoning to residential, just as she has done now that she is on the Board of Supervisors. So, for those like 84rules, know what you are talking about, rather than just babbling.

    • 2017-12-04 at 6:38 pm
      Permalink

      Lawgh, did you actually read my full comment, or are you complaining just to be a self-righteous complainer? Do you even know what happened in Brambleton and how it affected the schools here in Leesburg? Yes, we all know this is a town issue, but if you knew about the recent history of the school zoning changes and why they happened, you would know that the Town of Leesburg is making the same mistake the Loudoun Planning Board made in Brambleton. So, for those of you like Lawgh, know what you are talking about rather than babbling.

  • 2017-12-04 at 4:35 pm
    Permalink

    CC residents are hoping this deal falls through. And when they learned that another interested party is a charity that wants to build a home for at risk youth, they don’t want that either. The only thing that will make them happy is to keep it as a golf course. Not all of Greenway, Woodlea and CC residents share this feeling. Many residents would like the donated land to be a community park that all town residents can enjoy.

  • 2017-12-04 at 5:40 pm
    Permalink

    I have to laugh at the offer of 113 acres will be donated to maintain open space! That is the flood plain area, and they will pawn it off so they don’t have to pay taxes on it, and make someone else maintain it… Such a generous gift!!

  • 2017-12-05 at 9:12 pm
    Permalink

    Everyone offers very good information, and yes flooding will still be a major concern, but there is the land concession to consider that will allow for a small golf course and several parcels of land that the Town can determine what to do with. There will be many variables to figure out afterwards, with some folks not being happy, and a few more kids in our schools, but overall many, many more people will benefit from the land concession. My friend Lawgh was correct as Meadowbrook was in Circuit Court for well over 10 years as the project was originally slated for 1,400 units with driveways dumping directly onto Route 15. This was largely due to the efforts of Ms. Umstattd.

Leave a Reply