Leesburg Leaders Hear Options for Westpark Golf Club Site

Although the sale of the Westpark Golf Club property to a residential builder has not yet closed, the Leesburg Town Council is looking ahead to how the property may be developed.

Monday night, the council heard a presentation from the  town staff on some possibilities of how the 141-acre property may be developed. The property is under contract to CalAtlantic Homes.

The potential development of the golf club property has many nearby residents upset, and they’ve launched a social media campaign to make their opposition known. Some of those same residents, from nearby neighborhoods like Country Club, were in the audience Monday night.

Planning and Zoning Director Susan Berry-Hill noted that the Westpark property includes three parcels, the majority of which is zoned R-E (Rural Estate), save for an 8.3-acre parcel zoned B-3 (Business) for a hotel use. Four options have been entertained by CalAtlantic on how to develop the property, she said. However, she was quick to emphasize, no application has been filed by the homebuilder.

For now, they’re considering: the by-right development of 27 single-family detached homes on the R-E portions of the property; rezoning a portion of the R-E property to a cluster option; pursuing a text amendment process to add a cluster provision to R-E zoning; or a new option to retain the golf course for golf but rezone the B-3 portion of the property for townhouse development.

“I don’t really know anything more about that option other than that it’s an idea,” Berry-Hill said of the townhouse option.

Each option would come with varying timeframes and cost to the developer. Berry-Hill also noted that no proffers can be accepted for any rezoning of the property because of restrictions imposed by the General Assembly and the Town Council’s direction to only pursue proffers on areas in the town identified through small area plans. However, the town is able to accept title to or interest in any real property—namely the golf course—via a gift, if the developer so chooses.

Councilman Tom Dunn said he felt it was “a little awkward” that the council was engaging in detailed discussions about a property under contract, in a sale in which the town is not directly involved.

“I know the citizens are calling out for council to do something. The only thing we can do is muscle our way into a purchase,” he said.

But some on the council dais said it was a most appropriate discussion for the council to have, and to keep the community informed.

“When a group of residents come forward with valid concerns about a development, we as a council should sit up and listen,” Councilman Marty Martinez said.

“It’s good for the community to learn what the options are that can be done,” Mayor Kelly Burk agreed.

CalAtlantic remains in a study period prior to the closing of the sale of the Westpark property, which is expected to happen within the next month. The sales price is estimated to be north of $6 million.

krodriguez@loudounnow.com

3 thoughts on “Leesburg Leaders Hear Options for Westpark Golf Club Site

  • 2018-01-24 at 12:14 am
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    If you watched the meeting on TV you saw Burk try to keep the discussion to some very basic procedures. She made sure NO ONE discussed any of the back room deals she involved with.

  • 2018-01-24 at 12:23 pm
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    It seems the Council is unwilling to ask the County for assistance in buying the property and using it for open space/ball fields, or other community uses. The value is estimated at $6 million — so , to get 100 acres for that is pretty good. We send so much to the County and get little back in the general capital program. Other than the courts expansion, and transportation projects, the town fails to ask the County for assistance on regional services we provide – i.e. parks , Balch Library and Leesburg airport. I am concerned about proposals to give the town the golf course because then, the town taxpayers will have to pay for its operation and maintenance — especially flood mitigation. And, operating it as a municipal golf course could wind up costing taxpayers more, as golf courses across the nation are failing. the town also doesnt need 100 acres — but the County could use some of that land. However, it seems the town attorney has spooked a number of council members who think if the government steps in now and seeks to purchase the course amid a private contract with Cal atlantic, the town is going to get sued. I consulted with two experienced land use attorneys who told me that EVEN if there is a firm contract to buy the land by a developer, as long as the governing body has a public use in mind, they can step in and buy it or condemn it. I would hope the Council will ask the Supervisors about westpark at their meeting tonight. Failure to even ASK for money that we pay to the County is pretty negligent. All they can say is “no” but the Supervisors always seem to find money for projects outside Leesburg, dont they ?

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