Loudoun Board Moves Toward Westpark Purchase

A local government may be buying the former Westpark Golf Club property after all.

The Loudoun County Board of Supervisors voted 8-0-1 Tuesday night to authorize staff to forward a letter of interest to the property owner to acquire 134.25 acres of the former golf club land. 

The more than 50-year-old Leesburg golf club first went up for sale in August 2017, and since then had been an object of affection for some on the Town Council interested in preserving the land as a park. But a tight budget, high estimates for both acquiring and maintaining the land, and ultimately the lack of a council majority interested in further pursuing the purchase ultimately spelled the end of the town’s pursuit of the property.

Along the way, Cal Atlantic, and later Lennar Homes, first put a contract on the property with plans to develop a residential subdivision there. When that application did not find council support the homebuilder backed out of the sale. JK Moving and Services CEO and local land conservationist Chuck Kuhn was most recently tied to a pursuit of the property. Following Tuesday night’s board action, his continued interest in the property was not immediately known.

In making a motion following a closed session to pursue purchase of the property, Leesburg District Supervisor Kristen Umstattd said the town had approached the county government with a request for county assistance on the purchase. Supervisor Mike Turner (D-Ashburn) credited Mayor Kelly Burk with making the first phone call. He also thanked county staff for the fast action on the potential purchase, though he acknowledged there is still “a ways to go.”

“The Town Council has identified this as one of their projects they’d like to see preserved as a park. The fact that the county is considering negotiations with the owner is a great step forward to ensuring that Westpark remains a park and open for the public to use as a passive park,” Burk said Wednesday. “If this is the way to do it we would welcome it.”

Supervisor Matthew Letourneau (R-Dulles) was absent for the board vote.

10 thoughts on “Loudoun Board Moves Toward Westpark Purchase

  • 2020-12-02 at 3:38 pm
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    When do the voters of the rest of Loudoun get a say on buying the town a nice present they themselves don’t want to pay for?

    • 2020-12-02 at 4:01 pm
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      Hey Chris, guess what? Residents of Leesburg pay Loudoun Co. taxes, too! Are you saying that they shouldn’t enjoy the same benefits from those tax dollars that other county residents get? You certainly don’t think that anyone in the county would be precluded from using a county-funded park, just because it was inside a town? Or that town residents should be precluded from using other county parks? Right? So what’s your point, exactly? That town residents’ taxes should subsidize county dwellers for no benefit in return?

      Sounds like you aren’t used to being kind to or tolerant of your fellow county residents when they might receive a benefit that doesn’t benefit you directly.

      • 2020-12-02 at 6:18 pm
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        Bully, For years, the county has been on a drunken land buying spree. Harrison Street has been throwing our money at everything and anything they can think of, most often without ever asking the taxpayers. All I want is a say in the matter. We just voted on parks. (think this coming up after the election is a coincidence?) On insane school bonds and a new fire station. Why can’t we get a vote on this? I get the whole funding source thing; but that’s the problem – we have no say in what HS spends our cash on. (think big fat soccer stadium we were told would cost almost nothing… and here we are 50 million taxpayer bucks, and counting, later)

        As someone who’s had a Leesburg address their entire life, I’m pretty sure I’d be the last person to exclude my hometown residents from anything to do with county facilities — let’s get that out of the way. Me and mine have been paying taxes in LoCo for a long while now. Thus, I’m very tolerant of paying for a great many things that don’t benefit me directly. No need to throw rocks.

        You have to admit Bull, the town council turned their nose up at it. They won’t let anyone infil development, so where does this go? “Hey lets get HS to pay for it! Those suckers will pay for anything!”
        I don’t care if it’s westpark, or some park out in Neersville. If a big chunk of tax money is being thrown at it, we, every voter, should get a vote. That’s my point. It’s your money too! Don’t you believe you should have a say?

  • 2020-12-02 at 4:03 pm
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    Chris,

    I would agree with you. How does this fit into any existing plans? Why is the county purchasing property to be given to the Town of Leesburg?

    Since the county has money to “throw away” how about we reduce the residential taxes so I can spend the money the way I need to?!!?!!

    Supervisor Saines – are you in favor of this? Please provide us with the reasoning behind why you are in favor of this purchase.

  • 2020-12-02 at 5:05 pm
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    Depending on the purchase price, this could actually be quite profitable, once you factor in the 40% tax credits on the *assessed* value of the land put into conservation easement, as well as the potential resale value of the now-desirable commercial piece to the property.

    Leesburg residents were against the previous offer to buy for a number of reasons, not the least of which was the original buyer (Kuhn) refusing a public-private partnership in the purchase, in order to share the tax credits and potential profit off the commercial land. THAT was a bad deal, paying $3.4mil for just the floodplain land second-hand *after* the original buyer got to reap all the tax credits. That was a very bad deal. That’s why it wasn’t supported before.

    But this… THIS makes sense. Buy the entirety of the property directly, get the non-commercial land assessed at a greater value (because it’s the last undeveloped green space in Leesburg currently zoned for residential), then get 40% tax credits on that assessed value once it’s put into conservation easement. Then turn that land (actually a floodplain) into a Town or County walking park, and then either re-sell the commercial property (clubhouse area) for profit, since that land would then be surrounded by a park and would be quite desirable (especially for someone like Microsoft with a brand new datacenter literally just down the road), or turn that land into a Town or County resource.

    This is, obviously, still an uphill journey, but this is good progress.

    • 2020-12-03 at 9:15 am
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      In a social media thread, a current Town Council member stated that the commercial portion of this property is not included in the purchase discussions. That is a CRITICAL detail missing from this article. If this is true, and the interest is in purchasing the floodplain and the floodplain only, then the LCBoS better have a **firm** grasp of what the assessed value of that land is.

  • 2020-12-03 at 11:57 am
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    Aren’t there more important things to spend money we allegedly don’t have, on? All we hear is how poor we are but they spend like drunken sailors. Let Mitchell buy it and donate for all the perks he gets to develop whatever and however he wants!

  • 2020-12-03 at 3:56 pm
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    Another Modest Proposal.

    I propose Loudoun County purchase the land and build another sports stadium that will remain unused.
    They should also erect a WMATA station that will never open and yet require endless maintenance. The perpetual “empty” status of the property would be fitting tribute to the fiscal accomplishments of our BoS in the last several years.

    Finally, the BoS can build a massive parking lot to accommodate all the cars that new residents of “high density” residential neighborhoods can’t park in their new developments.

    How much property tax are assessed annually on this property? How much money will the BoS spend to purchase the land and then forfeit in annual taxes?

    Is there anyone on the BoS who has any clue what they are doing? They certainly haven’t demonstrated excess competence in the last several years.

    • 2020-12-03 at 7:50 pm
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      Marginal competence might be a bridge too far for this pack of clowns.

  • 2020-12-04 at 2:23 pm
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    “Marginal competence “, Ace?

    You are very generous this Christmas season.

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