This text was taken from an email alert sent out on July 16, 2020. Sign up for email alerts >>
Today I wanted to give you an update about the proposed Banbury Cross residential development outside of Middleburg.
This proposal was first submitted back in June, 2019 and was rejected by the Middleburg Planning Commission after the public hearing in September due to deficiencies in the application. Reconsideration of the application has since been delayed due to a variety of factors including Covid-19.
There are still significant concerns about the size, location and impact of the proposed development on the site’s natural and heritage resources and surrounding community.
Now, the Middleburg Planning Commission is taking up the proposal at the end of July and residents have the chance to weigh in again.
Public Hearing: Middleburg Planning Commission
Monday, July 27, 2020
6:30 p.m. (work session)
7:00 p.m. (public hearing)
There are three ways to provide input:
- Send a letter to the Middleburg Planning Commission via Will Moore, Deputy Town Manager: WMoore@Middleburgva.gov.
- Sign up to speak electronically.
- Sign up to speak in-person.
To sign up to speak, call the Town at 540-687-5152. In-person speakers will line up outside and then enter Town Hall one at a time to speak. In-person speakers will go first, followed by those who are joining the online platform by phone.
For those who wish to view the meeting but not speak, please go to the Town website to view the meeting.
Where Things Stand
Banbury Cross is the first major cluster subdivision application in at least 10 years in the AR-2 Rural Policy Area of Loudoun County.
At the county level, rural subdivisions are handled administratively (not by the Board of Supervisors). In this case though, since it is partially within the One Mile Subdivision Control limits of Middleburg, the town planning commission must also review the application.
The 570-acre site is located north of Rt 50 and southeast of Sam Fred Rd. The proposal includes 28 clustered lots (up to 4 acres in size) and 10 rural economy lots (minimum of 25 acres each).
Since the proposal was initially denied by the Middleburg Planning Commission last year, the developer has submitted an updated archaeological survey and addressed missing or incorrect elements required for approval. Now that the final county requirements are met, Loudoun County staff have sent a letter of conditional approval to the town. This takes it back to the planning commission for reconsideration.
For more information, check out the two blog posts about this proposal on our website:
- Groundwater impacts to town wells & sewer: The well studies provide inadequate information to help the town determine potential impacts to their wells. They also fail to provide information that would ensure that there is enough base stream flow to accommodate the town’s sewer effluent.
- Farmland soils: more than one-third (74 acres) of the prime agricultural soils in the development are under the clustered lots and open space area, rather than on the Rural Economy lots where the soils can actually be used for farming.
- Archaeological resources: County staff has asked for additional research to be completed on the site before development begins. This is so that a full history of the site can be studied.
- Design: It’s unclear how the design of the development and its visibility from main roads will fit in with the historic character of Middleburg.
Issues with Loudoun’s Zoning Ordinance
Loudoun’s zoning ordinance does not currently protect prime agricultural soils, nor does it adequately protect wells and groundwater resources.
The Board of Supervisors has initiated a process to improve prime soil protections and the cluster subdivision ordinance. We are also advocating for improved well and groundwater resource protections.
Lack of protection for these resources compounds the impacts that this development would have on the Town of Middleburg and its surroundings.
Ideally, we think this property makes more sense as part of a limited growth area or greenbelt around Middleburg. This would avoid negative impacts to water resources, prime soils and the scenery of the area. We encourage citizens to join us in advocating for stronger local and state regulations that will protect the Rural Area of Loudoun.
Feel free to reach out if you have any questions.
Loudoun Field Representative
The Piedmont Environmental Council