The promised public hearing is set for Jan. 13 on a bid to preserve both land in the village of St. Louis and the Aldie Tavern by giving a developer the tavern and $1.5 million in exchange for land near St. Louis.
County supervisors previously voted to buy land near St. Louis from developer Mojax LLC for $1.5 million, averting controversial plans to build a 30-home by-right subdivision. The project was controversial not only for its potential impact on the historic village and its water supply, but for the developer’s impact on wetlands. But the purchase fell through, and now supervisors have a new deal that they hope will also restore the run-down Aldie Tavern.
Supervisors, after midnight at their Dec. 1 meeting, held a surprise vote to buy the St. Louis land for the same $1.5 million, but also to give the developer the land around the Aldie Tavern and set aside another $600,000 to help fund the restoration of the tavern and install an entrance road on the property. That will connect the road to land behind the tavern that is already under conservation easement.
And supervisors will hold a public hearing on that plan, which also has its detractors, on Jan. 13 at 6 p.m.
The Aldie Tavern, known by the county as the Aldie Assemblage, is the second of three plots the county bought for a new Aldie firehouse. Both the tavern site and a previous proposed fire house location were stopped by opposition from neighbors; now plans are to build the station at the corner of Rt. 15 and Rt. 50 at Gilbert’s Corner.
People living in and around Aldie opposed the county’s plans to building the new fire house inside the village and instead pressed the county to restore and preserve the building. Supervisors for a time seemed set to build on that site despite those objections. However, when the county’s Historic District Review Committeedenied the application to build the firehouse there as well as an appeal, supervisors moved to work around that obstacle by removing the property from the Aldie Historic District. Ultimately, however, after buying the new site at Gilbert’s Corner, supervisors stopped that work and voted instead to add more land to the historic district.
County Chair Phyllis J. Randall (D-At Large) has said if the deal goes through, she would like to use the land near St. Louis—where the developer had already drilled productive wells—to address longstanding water concerns in the village.
Meanwhile at Aldie Tavern, the developer has presented a concept plan for “Aldie Park,” with a restored tavern, shops in the two other buildings on the property, a brewery, and a bed-and-breakfast. It would also serve as the entrance and park office for the private parkland behind the property.
In all, the county has spent close to $3 million trying to find land for the new Aldie firehouse; the county spent $1.3 million on land east of town before a lawsuit from neighbors stopped plans there, $1.6 million for the Aldie Tavern property, and $875,000 for the Gilbert’s Corner land.
Watch Board of Supervisors meetings or learn how to sign up to participate at Loudoun.gov/meetings.
This article was updated Jan. 5 at 4:16 p.m. to correct the date of the public hearing.