The discovery of human remains has temporarily put the brakes on the construction of two homes in Leesburg’s historic district.
Work stopped April 23 when town staff was notified by the archaeologist working for Evergreene Homes, the developer behind the Cornwall Green housing development at 102 Cornwall St., that human remains had been found while the contractor was digging the first of three stormwater management facilities. According to Bill Ackman, director of the Department of Plan Review, a Stop Work Order requiring the cessation of all construction activities was immediately ordered.
Since that time, Ackman said, the developer has been working directly with the Virginia Department of Historic Resources to obtain a state permit that authorizes and implements a plan to legally recover the disturbed remains.
“The developer has also requested permission from VDHR and the town to further evaluate the site to determine if additional remains are located near the recently disturbed remains or near any of the other stormwater management facilities,” Ackman said.
Mark Giganti, COO of Evergreene Homes, said the discovered remains were in unmarked graves and it is unclear at this point if it was part of a larger family plot. He said the developer is obligated to recover the remains and re-inter them and they and all parties have been following the proper protocol. He said all parties—including both the town and VDHR—have been “working together great.”
The Cornwall Green development consists of four lots, including two new homes, an existing home on Cornwall Street, and an addition to a garage.
Upon learning that the developer had received an approved state permit from VDHR to recover the remains, town staff issued a partial lifting of the Stop Work Order on May 23 to authorize the developer to resume certain, limited construction activities. Approved construction activities at this time, Ackman said, are limited to the recovery of the disturbed remains and to perform further subsurface investigation at the additional stormwater management locations, provided all state permit procedures and requirements are strictly adhered to.
“The Stop Work Order, now partially modified to authorize recovery efforts, will remain in place until the developer completes the recovery efforts in accordance with VDHR’s state permit; verifies that no remains exist on any other areas of the site where additional excavation is required; and proposes a new comprehensive stormwater plan (acceptable to the Town) for the project,” Ackman said.