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Leesburg council in ‘wait and see’ mode on Westpark Park Golf club development

Westpark Golf Course opened in 1968. Courtesy Photo/City & Suburban Real Estate Brokerage
About a dozen Leesburg Country Club residents wore neon green shirts to Tuesday night’s Leesburg Town Council meeting. On every shirt, in large black letters, were the words “Save Westpark.”

Citizens petitioned council Tuesday night to preserve Westpark Golf Club, a decades-old public golf course and green space, from potential development. However, council is hobbled until developer CalAtlantic decides whether to buy the property.

“We have to have an application before we can vote on a development,” Mayor Kelly Burk said.

Council will discuss the latest news and the process for making text amendments to the zoning ordinance during its Jan. 8 work session. Right now, Westpark is zoned for 27 “estate lot” residences and a little bit of commercial, and zoning changes would require a text amendment.

Councilman Ron Campbell suggested the discussion, saying council can’t ignore residents’ pleas.

“We owe the general public a response,” he said. “To sit back and wait is a disservice.”

Homebuilder CalAtlantic placed Westpark under contract in November and will hold the property “in study” through the end of the year. Because of the property’s current zoning, CalAtlantic could build within current zoning guidelines without sending its plans past council.

CalAtlantic has met with residents and council members and has considered the idea of donating about 115 acres to the town to run as a municipal golf course.

However, this would require “clustered zoning” and a pass by council for rezoning approval.

Westpark’s neighbors don’t like the idea of their backyards turning into yet another development, even in part.

“We’re losing green space faster and faster each year,” resident Bruce Boyce said Tuesday night, referring to the golf course’s status as the largest natural space south of the Route 7 Bypass.

In November, before the golf course went under contract, town staff reported that buying and running the $6.2 million-dollar property as a municipal golf course would be a money-losing option.

On Monday, Councilman Tom Dunn forwarded multiple options for saving the property, including sending a letter to the Board of Supervisors asking if they would help purchase the land or making a text amendment to rezone the property as recreational only. Neither option, however, is viable while the property is under contract, and council did not support either motion.

Comments


They’re working on a new type of mixed use development that has high density housing, commercial/retail, AND a data center.  All in one development, can you believe it!

That’s definitely what they should build there.


LoCo is just hellbent on making the county look like Fairfax or worse…New Jersey…I just passed the massive Meadowbrook development on US 15 south of Leesburg. What a mess….I cannot believe the builders find people stupid enough to buy those houses on nearly zero lot lines…the houses all look alike, dog ugly. That was a nice piece of greenspace…and now just another cookie cutter, plastic sided econobox probably for about 500k! Stupid people


Dump the golf course and rezone the land for data centers.


Inactivity - by the neighbors who for years kept silent while the land was zoned for the 27 lots and some commercial, and by the Town, for not pro-actively changing the zoning (probably against the wishes of the previous GC owner) to preclude it having any by-right options than private recreation or open space - has led to this. “it’ll never happen”, has happened. Same with Goose Creek GC. Mr. Boyce and his neighbors don’t own that golf course they’ve enjoyed as FREE open space - if they wanted to secure it, they should have bought it.  And maybe they still can.  But being a johnny come lately complainer is a poor way to try to have standing in this situation.


Donatello—you’re right, it’s not a great course compared to many, but we’re losing something much more important.  My son is autistic, now a young adult.  For years, he and his little sister were welcome at Westpark—to ride along in the cart with dad, to camp out in the clubhouse and do their homework, to hit a few balls on the course.  I’d walk in to the clubhouse and they’d ask “where’s the little guy?”  It was a family atmosphere and we loved it.  Try that at some of the local courses these days—no riders policies, clubhouse minimums, money machines first and foremost.  When Westpark goes, and this has been destined for years, we’re losing a golf course like the ones I grew up playing in the 1970s outside of Buffalo—family first.  That’s what I’ll miss—it’s not Lansdowne, Raspberry or even Brambleton…it’s a lot better.  About the only place like that when they’re gone is Village Lanes.

End of an era.


No way could the city buy the course and expect to break even.  Golf is on the decline and the golf course business is struggling.  Courses are going under all over the country. Westpark is unfortunately not a very good course. It would require a lot of money to renovate, and still not command an above average greens fee or come anywhere close to breaking even. The city would see a major budget drain. 

Beacon Hill HOA got given a much better high-end course for FREE and cannot find a financial model to open it as even a break-even venture.

Werstpark is better off as homes.  Given that a portion of the land is flood plain and not build-able, there will still be a lot of open space left.


Keep nine holes (the front nine, much better) open for play and build on the back nine.  Offer home buyers free play on the nine you keep.  Cal Atlantic has a good reputation in the industry—do this the right way and you’ll set yourself apart from the usual “my way or the highway” developers in Loudoun.

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