Lovettsville residents who spent part of 2019 worried that a proposed development might crowd the town with hundreds of new residents can breathe a sigh of relief, as those plans have fallen through.
According to a spokesperson for Metropolitan Development Group, the purchase contract for the Engle Tract has been terminated and the firm’s application for a town plan amendment to change the land use designation of the 35-acre property to allow for mixed uses has been withdrawn. Metropolitan had proposed building 130 single-family homes, a 12,000-square-foot farmers market, 6,000 square feet of office space, a 6,000-square-foot restaurant and 5,000 square feet of retail space on that property by 2025.
Metropolitan representatives said the deal fell through because the Engle Tract owners opted to re-market the property rather than extend the purchase contract. Jacque Hansbrough, principal broker with the Landmark Group Commercial real estate company, said that Landmark is busy completing that remarketing initiative and already has a few parties interested in a purchase.
To achieve its development plans in town, Metropolitan in August requested that the Town Council consider amending its comprehensive plan to prepare for the property to be designated for mixed-use, rather than light industrial. Because Metropolitan is no longer considered a contract purchaser, the firm lacks legal standing to proceed with that request.
In May, Metropolitan held its first community meeting to provide residents with information on the proposed development, at which point a majority of attendees voiced concern and opposition to the project.
Some town residents asked where the development’s new children would attend school, seeing that Lovettsville Elementary is already at capacity. Metropolitan had previously estimated that its development would have brought in about 400 new town residents, given its proposed 2,400-2,700-square-foot home sizes.
Other residents asked if the development would increase traffic to the point where the town would need to install traffic lights. According to a July traffic impact study completed by Wells + Associates, the proposed development might have generated more than 3,400 new daily vehicle trips.
Moreover, residents said they were worried that the development would grow Lovettsville more than they were comfortable with, with some referencing their opposition to commercialization such as Purcellville has seen in recent years.
This story was updated at 3:33 p.m. on Dec. 27.