By Katharine DeRosa
Middleburg residents might be surprised by tentative plans to revamp Federal Street and increase the town population by a couple hundred residents.
About 50 residents convened at the Hill School on May 29 to learn about the town’s draft comprehensive plan, which the Planning Commission and Town Planner Will Moore have been working on with the Berkley Group since March 2017. Todd Gordon, the group’s planning director, gave an hour-long presentation on the draft’s 39 pages, outlining the town’s plans to redevelop Federal Street for mixed use development, Salamander Resort’s plans to build more than 100 new homes and the importance of residents’ involvement in the town and county’s comprehensive plan updates.
Gordon’s main talking point on the draft plan, which looks forward two decades, centered on land use, with an emphasis on a potential $1.8 million Federal Street redevelopment to include the installation of sidewalks, crosswalks, lighting and green space. He referred to the street as, “the biggest opportunity for change in Middleburg.” The two-block streetscape plan could also pave the way for property owners to construct new buildings.
Councilman Kevin Hazard said the plan would be a way for the town to get one step ahead of developers so the staff and residents aren’t surprised by any development plans later on. “We are going to control the process,” he said.
Gordon also told residents that the town’s population could grow by a few hundred people if and when Salamander Resort builds 109 homes on 78 of its 340 acres, which would increase the number of housing units in town by 25 percent and increase population from about 850 to more than 1,000.
Those plans include the construction of 49 estate and village luxury homes, some of which could be up to 3,500 square feet in size on at least 10,000-square-foot lots, while others could be up to 2,500 square feet in size on at least 7,300-square-foot lots.
Another 12 single-family homes and 48 attached multi-family units could be built in the resort’s planned 14-acre multi-use village, which could also feature up to 30,000 square feet of commercial space. That village, if constructed, would provide the town with a space for a new town hall per the resort’s proffer agreement with the town.
While the town has already approved a preliminary subdivision layout for those plans, the resort has yet to submit a site plan. “We want people to know that this is coming,” Gordon said.
In the coming years, another five previously approved homes could also be built in the town.
Gordon urged residents to stay involved in the approval process for the Loudoun County 2019 Comprehensive Plan and to keep their interests in mind when going to the polls this fall to elect new supervisors. “You are residents of Middleburg, but you are also citizens of Loudoun County—you also deserve a voice in that,” he said.
Gordon also talked about sidewalk connectivity around town. One resident said that crossing Rt. 50 right now is difficult and that in the next decade there could be 80 percent more traffic on the highway. “It’s bad enough now—we won’t be able to cross the street,” he said.
Moore added that while the town previously discussed adding a Route 50 bypass, residents have largely not supported the idea.
Mayor Bridge Littleton noted that the county is not planning on installing a bypass and that it does not expect traffic along the highway to increase by more than 18 percent in the coming years.
“What they’re planning to do is create feeder connections to the main arteries in the eastern part of the county,” he said. “The way they’re going to manage the volume is to have secondary roads that take some of the flow.”
Another resident voiced her concerns about the adverse effects a bypass could have on visitors to town. “A bypass is counterproductive if a large part of the revenue comes from tourism,” she said.
Gordon also touched on the town’s utility use. He said that for a town of its size and age, the utility systems are in “very good condition”—with a water system running at 50 percent capacity and a sewer system running at 48 percent capacity.
To get to this point in the comprehensive plan update process, the town held two community workshops and conducted an online survey, finding that a majority of residents want the town to focus on growth management and planning.
Residents can review the draft comprehensive plan at the town office or online at middleburgva.gov.
The Planning Commission will hold a formal public hearing on the draft plan June 17 at Town Hall before it makes a recommendation to the Town Council on a final version.
Katharine DeRosa is a senior at Broad Run High School working at Loudoun Now for her senior Capstone project. She will attend Virginia Commonwealth University in the fall and double major in economics and mass communications.
Reporter Patrick Szabo contributed to this story.