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.