Plans by Stanley Martin Homes to build 192 single-family, detached homes on the 63-acre Rogers Farm along Dry Mill Road and Lee Avenue have spurred new consideration of expanding the downtown historic district to cover the property.
The Board of Architectural Review called a special meeting tonight to review the application.
The property, across Dry Mill Road from Loudoun County High School, is the largest undeveloped tract inside the Leesburg Bypass. It has long operated as a horse farm. The owner, Samuel H. Rogers, died in 2015. The property is under contract by Stanley Martin from the family’s estate.
Town zoning allows for a by-right subdivision of 10,000-square-foot house lots on the property without Town Council review. Stanley Martin has proposed a clustered-style layout, which allows for smaller lot sizes, down to 5,000 square feet. The clustered option is intended to allow developers flexibility so they can better preserve significant features on the property. However, the town planning staff has raised concerns that Stanley Martin’s layout fails to achieve that goal.
Prime concerns are plans to demolish the stone house and main barn on the property. Both were built in the 1920s and, according to a required cultural resources survey conducted by Dutton & Associates, the distinctive Colonial Revival design and stone-walled gardens reflect early 20th century estates and could be eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places. Additionally, there is a significant stand of hardwood trees on the property, which staff members said should be better preserved under a clustered subdivision design.
According to a staff report to be presented during tonight’s Town Council work session, the subdivision design “shows no protection whatsoever” of those features and instead “depicts elimination of the entire farm complex and a vast majority of the tree stand.”
“Therefore, the applicant must reconsider their cluster design to better protect this identified resource,” the staff reported.
Depending on the recommendations to be made by the Board of Architectural Review during tonight’s meeting, the Town Council as early as Tuesday could initiate a zoning amendment to expand boundaries of the Old and Historic District to include the Rogers Farm. That designation, which would require Planning Commission review and formal public hearings, would give town leaders more control to prevent the demolition of structures and on the architecture of the new homes.
Currently, the historic district regulations apply to the downtown area, the Paxton Campus and the Greenway Farm property on South King Street.