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Big Decisions Ahead for O’Toole Property

February 1, 2017 by Valerie Cury filed under Editorial, Opinion 2 Comments
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Packie Crown of Bowman Consulting presented her company’s conceptual architectural design proposal for the rezoning of the O’Toole property at the Jan. 17 Board of Architectural Review.

The O’Toole property was annexed into the Town of Purcellville in 2008 by the previous Lazaro Town Council. Located at the southeast corner of Rt. 287 and Business Rt. 7, near the traffic circle on Main Street, the property consists of two lots totaling 12.46 acres. When under County zoning, the property had one residence on it. Now under Purcellville’s control, the property is zoned Transition X – and located within the Historic Corridor Overlay District. A portion of the site is also located within the minor flood plain – a Federal Emergency Management Agency flood zone.

Through Bowman Consulting, the owner of the property is asking for one of the most dense zonings – MC – Mixed Use Commercial, to consist of 72,000 square feet of commercial, to include restaurants, retail offices, an assisted living facility, and a three-story hotel.

Access to this site would be from the existing entrance on Business Rt. 7, with a secondary entrance from the Southern Collector Road. A memo from the Commonwealth of Virginia Department of Transportation stated, “It should be noted that most of the left-outs from the site are turning right at the roundabout after crossing two opposing lanes of traffic, and then weaving through two lanes in a short distance, which would create not only congestion but safety problems as well.”

In addition to potential traffic safety problems, water resources are also being raised as a concern.

In a memo to the Purcellville Planning staff, Purcellville Capital Projects and Engineering Manager Dale Lehnig said, “Although the mass balance for water shows that using a peak factor of 1.2, there is sufficient water, the Town will need to work towards developing additional water sources. With the addition of the O’Toole property, the Town is at 93-95 percent capacity.”

Town Council Member Nedim Ogelman, the liaison to the BAR said, “I just want to make clear for the record that this review of architectural design for a mixed use commercial complex with a three-story hotel on the O’Toole property is happening before the Town Council has even considered the rezoning necessary to pursue this project. So, there have been no public hearings, no votes on this proposed rezoning.”

Town Planner Daniel Galindo said that it’s a good idea for the applicant to get an idea for the design guidelines before the project could be approved, and the Town has allowed for pre-submission meetings. Ogelman’s responded by saying, “The exercise at the BAR seems to put the cart before the horse. I am not sure it’s right for taxpayer dollars to spend all the time that you are spending on this. This discussion is based on the assumption that there is going to be a rezoning. There need to be public hearings. There needs to be input from citizens. There need to be deliberations on that part of the discussion … I would suggest that you be selective on hearing these things before they are approved or denied. I am thinking about our Town’s resources.”

2 comments

  1. Kevin Feeney says:

    As a retired City Planner and Environmental Program Manager, I am concerned with the plans to build in a designated wetland and floodplain. The requirements for such a degradation will often include an US Army Corps of Engineers waiver (if granted at all) and a also a dedication of alternative wetlands in a two for one swap. There is very little swap land available and it is Very expensive. The drainage for overflows that normally go through this area could also be impacted. Plans for the proposed development would also be necessary prior to the grant of any alternative use of a flood plain plus a review of the raising of the water table in adjacent areas. Overall, flood plains are normally left alone as natural drainage points that keep the eco system healthy. Heavy and dense usage is the opposite use for those lands. Bike paths and golf courses are the normal uses for this type of property.

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