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High-Density Adult Community Proposed for 32nd Street

July 2, 2013 by Blue Ridge Leader filed under Development, News 5 Comments
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TMG Construction Corporation, in partnership with architect Michael L. Oxman and Associates, Ltd., has proposed a gated adult townhome development of 50 units on the 10-acre Ball property in Purcellville. The land is just south of the intersection of 32nd Street and Main Street, adjacent to the Loudoun Golf and Country Club.

TMG is owned by Tanya and Joe Matthews. Tanya Mattews is on the board of the Purcellville Business Association and past president of that organization. She currently serves on the Loudoun County Government Reform Committee.

Joe Matthews and developer Jack Andrews came before the town of Purcellville Board of Architectural Review (BOA) in June to discuss the concept design for the gated community. They also discussed the demolition of an existing nearly 100-year old residence surrounded on three sides by the Ball property. The residence is in the Purcellville Historic District, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Historic structures within the Historic District cannot be demolished without approval by the BOA and according to specific criteria. For example, BOA guidelines state: “There must be a compelling reason to demolish or relocate a significant historic structure.”

The applicant’s argument for demolishing the residence was that it would be necessary to do so for the proposed gated adult community to be “commercially viable.” The applicant also submitted the following reasons for demolition: “a. The house’s design and block exterior walls are not consistent with other homes located nearby and it does not contribute to the scale or consistency of the neighborhood; b. The house is nearing the end of its useful life and its energy consumption is much higher than homes that meet today’s standards; c. Retention of the house would lead to an awkward architectural island that would be inconsistent with future R-2 development as currently zoned or as the center of adult housing project (if it was to remain and this proposed project was built round it).”

As stated by the applicant in the preliminary submission to the BOA, the purpose of the community would be to provide a unique life-style for its residents, and that these residents could possibly acquire country club membership. The development might also encourage redevelopment of the mixed-use commercial property to the north.

The Ball property is currently zoned R-2 which provides “for low-density single family detached residential development;” the kind of single family zoning that currently surrounds the parcels in question.

As the developers want to build 50 townhome units, they would have to apply for both a zoning amendment and a comprehensive plan amendment (neither have been filed). They are proposing a change from R-2 to R-8 zoning. Said BOA Chairman Walter Voskian, “This is zoned R-2 for a reason … [R-8] is just too intense.” Other commissioners added that this type of development would add another 200 car trips daily and something would have to be done traffic wise. The commissioners didn’t know how a gated community would work with the community as a whole, thinking that it would be counter to a neighborhood feel.

Joe Matthews said that the 50 units could possibly be scaled back to within the 40-unit range, arguing that any less would not be economically feasible. The commissioners were not in favor of tearing down the house, noting that this would fly in the face of historic preservation.

5 comments

  1. Paul says:

    Wow! You think that intersection at 32nd and Main is bad now. Making a left turn is almost suicidal on school days. Adding this much density right there will only add to the misery. I can’t believe the neighbors there in their SFH like the idea much.

  2. Concerned citizen on 32nd St says:

    I live on 32nd St with my family and it is already a nightmare on this road-constantly dealing with speeding cars. I agree with Paul in that it is already impossible to get out on Main St. with all the traffic at any time of day. I also find it interesting that Tanya Matthews serves on any type of board with our town and is trying to get this passed through. Isn’t that a conflict of interest? Wow, Purcellville, way to continue taking away the land for development!!

    • Nancy Baker says:

      Sadly, this land will be developed regardless. The Ball family decided long ago to subdivide the land and can build as many as 20 single-family homes on the property. Those homes will be filled with children, who will need transportation back and forth to school, activities, doctors’ appointments, etc. So, traffic will increase dramatically on 32nd Street whether or not the senior community is developed.

      I live on Main Street and struggle with the same issues during rush hour when trying to drive my son to soccer and scouts. However, I support the idea of a small, planned community for seniors that is tasteful and in keeping with the community. Currently, most seniors have to leave Purcellville for lack of appropriate senior housing. As I near retirement, I’d like to have the option of staying in my town.

      I suggest getting more information from the team that is trying to develop the property to get both sides of the story.

  3. Elder Berry says:

    Wake up. We all know it is NOT the job of government to make sure that anyone’s specific development project is “economically viable.” If it is not viable, then fine, don’t build it! Don’t try to stick us with overly dense development so you can make enough money to satisfy yourselves, developers.

    We can never get back a historic property that’s been demolish (anyone remember a silo?). What is the tremendous benefit TO THE COMMUNITY overall with extra density here in this spot? Hard to see one. Too dense is too dense.

    That reform committee is a pet public relations project of a corrupt and out of touch county board of supervisors, who’ve brought traffic messes to other parts of Loudoun County in the name of “progress.” Don’t let the word reform make you think the committee members are anything but mouthpieces for a very particular point of view, which can be summarized as “pave paradise and put up a parking lot.” The developer wars are back in full swing. Give them an inch and they’ll take a mile.

    Speak up now and speak loudly. The current zoning makes sense and what they want does not.

  4. Joe Matthews says:

    PLEASE PAUSE AND CONSIDER

    With regard to the article titled “High Density Adult Community Proposed for 32nd Street” published in the latest issue of the Blue Ridge Leader, a few points of clarification are necessary to provide a balanced presentation of the facts.

    The gated adult community project on 32nd Street in Purcellville is being contemplated and proposed to address a need expressed by many individuals and organizations that the town would benefit from an adult community for those who are retired or nearing retirement.

    The presentation made to the Purcellville Board of Review (BAR) sought to obtain preliminary feedback on issues and concerns to determine the feasibility of and community interest in supporting the project. In making the initial presentation, it was unclear what value the community placed on the historic house located in the center of the property, and a written stated goal of the presentation was to obtain guidance as it relates to this matter. As a result of that discussion, it became clear that the BAR and, presumably, the community value the house. What is missing from the article is the discussion that a development solution would be sought to integrate the house as a centerpiece to serve as a social gathering place or some other integral element to the project. Subsequent to the meeting, the notion of preserving and restoring the house has been explored and is viable.

    Ultimately, this property will be developed by the Ball Family. As currently zoned, it could accommodate 20 new single family houses, which will impact the traffic on 32nd Street and pose other issues for the community, such as impacts on schools and safety. As an alternative, considering an adult community addresses a specific need that the community currently has, in addition to offering other benefits, such as a higher tax basis, no impact on the school system, and possibly lesser impacts on traffic because of the life-style differences of seniors. In addition, the proposed community has been carefully designed to blend well with the character of the neighborhood and give the impression that there are only 2.5 units per acre.

    The project was presented to the Purcellville BAR and is subsequently being presented to the Planning Commission in a preliminary format to determine community interest, concerns, and feasibility. There are a considerable number of issues related to the project that we are willing to work through if our preliminary due diligence suggests that the project is viable and the community is interested.

    I think it is also worth mentioning that this is a collaborative effort by individuals who live and work in Purcellville. Tanya and I aren’t just the owners of TMG Construction Corporation; we are parents who are raising our children in Purcellville, volunteers who invest our time in Purcellville, and employers of many residents of Purcellville. It is our intent to provide resources to fill an expressed need and to benefit the community as a whole.

    We invite your readers to review our proposed master plan, which is available for download at http://www.32ndStCommunity-Purcellville.com. Please take a look and let us know what you think by sending constructive feedback to comments@32ndStCommunity-Purcellville.com.

    Sincerely,
    Joe Matthews
    TMG Construction Corporation

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