The future of the Westpark Golf Club property continues to be at the forefront of the minds of the Leesburg Town Council, not to mention the many residents that surround the property.
Located off South King Street and Clubhouse Drive, the golf course property was listed for sale in the late summer and is under contract by CalAtlantic, a homebuilder.
Neighbors have come out in stiff opposition to plans to build 27 homes on the property, which a developer can do by-right without council review under current zoning. In meetings with both neighbors and council members, the homebuilder has entertained the idea of clustering the homes on smaller lots and donating 115 remaining acres to the town for use as possible parkland or for the continued operation of a municipally run golf course, albeit on a smaller scale.
The council had directed the town staff to look into options, including a town purchase of the property, but a staff report noted the high sales price—estimated at north of $6 million—along with the unlikelihood that, with the maintenance and repairs needed, any municipally run golf course operation there would be profitable.
With the property under contract to CalAtlantic, not yet gone to closing, and no formal application filed to the town for any type of development, council members during Monday night’s work session said their hands are somewhat tied. But Councilman Ron Campbell asked for the council to discuss whether it would consider a Zoning Ordinance amendment, which would be required for the clustered development option, and to hear the council members’ thoughts on the situation.
“We owe it to the general public to tell them what we’ve learned and what we found out,” Campbell said. “Given the nature of the conversation among the public and the heightened sensitivity this has generated, and the many letters we all as a council have received from the public, to sit back and wait is a disservice.”
Campbell did not receive support to add the item to the agenda for Monday’s work session, or tonight’s night’s business meeting. But a majority agreed to discuss the issue during its Jan. 8 work session.
Councilman Marty Martinez reminded the council that no application had been filed by the developer at this point. Although he supported holding a work session on the text amendment process, he said having formal discussions on it this week was unwise.
“Until the developer submits an application and we know what we’re up against … I just think this is a little premature,” he said.
Councilman Tom Dunn also attempted some other council actions, but did not receive support to proceed. He suggested sending a letter to the Board of Supervisors seeking funding for the purchase of the Westpark property, as well as initiating a process to downzone the land from its current residential designation to recreation only use. He was the only council member to voice support for either action. Town Attorney Barbara Notar advised against both, noting they could put the town at legal risk. Dunn said that he may make a formal motion to initiate a downzoning as soon as tonight’s meeting.