In an effort to preserve at least some vestiges of the Rogers Farm, the Leesburg Town Council voted this week to place a portion of the property under historic district protections.
The unanimous vote in support of the zoning ordinance and zoning map amendments places 12.65 acres of the property along Dry Mill Road into the H-1 District. The land includes several structures deemed historic by the Board of Architectural Review, such as the 1929 colonial revival-style manor house and the barn from the same year. As proposed, Stanley Martin Homes, the contract purchaser for the entire 63-acre property, would move the barn onto the portion of the property under historic district controls.
The changes do not impact the underlying R-4 zoning of the property. Stanley Martin has submitted an application to develop a cluster subdivision of 162 single-family homes. Because that property would be developed under current zoning rules, no special approvals are required by the Planning Commission or Town Council.
When word of the property’s impending sale to a residential development broke last summer, the emotional reaction by both council members and the public was swift. Several council members publicly bemoaned the fact that the property, one of the last examples of former rural life in the county seat, would not be saved from development. However, the inclusion of some of the historic structures on the Rogers Farm and maintaining a large tree save area, appeared to have at least calmed some of the emotions. Town staff members and a representative of the Rogers family have stated that the inclusion of the portion of the property in the H-1 is supported by the family.
The area now included in the Old & Historic District also will include five of the new homes, something which some members of council questioned the logic of. The developer would need to garner a Certificate of Appropriateness from the BAR prior to construction of those five homes, and any future additions or certain improvements would be subject to historic district controls, unlike the majority of the homes in the community. Councilman Tom Dunn made a motion to take the five homes out of the H-1 area, but did not receive support.