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Supervisors approve conservation easement for 50-acre Middleburg property

50-acre Middleburg property requesting to be withdrawn from Loudoun’s New Mountville Agricultural and Forestal districts to be put into conservation easement.
The Board of Supervisors approved a request Wednesday to allow a 50-acre parcel of land in Middleburg to withdraw from Loudoun’s New Mountville Agricultural and Forestal districts so it can be put into a conservation easement.

The 50-acre parcel is part of a 600-acre property owned by Traveller’s Rest, LLC, a company jointly owned by Banbury Cross Polo Field co-owner Nelson Gunnell and Alfred Rogers Smithwick.

The company's request to withdraw from the county's New Mountville Agricultural and Forestal districts comes as the company is in the midst of a chapter 11 bankruptcy proceeding.

The company said the bankruptcy reorganization will help them restructure finances and maintain its remaining property.

Before Traveller’s Rest filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy over the summer, co-owner Gunnell discussed with the Times-Mirror plans to add a new sporting clubhouse and 40-room country inn on his polo field, which sits on a 62-acre property next to the Traveller’s Rest property.

However, the company’s attorney, Jeffrey Martin Jr., told the Times-Mirror earlier this week that plans for the 40-room country inn are no longer in the works.

Instead, he said Traveller’s Rest is currently crafting a plan for 38 residential lots that would be spread across the 600-acre property.

“We filed a plan of reorganization that’s set for confirmation on Dec. 21. The plan provides for a refinance of the debt with the anticipation of very a moderate by-right subdivision of the property, but it does not involve any 40-room country inn,” Martin said.

Martin said the plan has been prepared and will be submitted for approval within six months after the bankruptcy plan is confirmed. He anticipates the bankruptcy plan will be complete by spring or summer 2018.

Ahead of the board’s Wednesday vote, the Loudoun Planning Commission and Agricultural District Advisory Committee signed off on the company’s withdrawal request.

County staff said they supported the approving the company’s request as long as it followed through on its plans to put the parcel into conservation easement.

Prior to Gunnell’s 40-room country inn proposal, a detailed outline for a 120-room inn and sporting club on Gunnell’s polo field was circulated on social media, which caused outrage in the Middleburg community.

Many local residents voiced opposition to the early 120-room inn proposal on social media. Some likened it to the 168-room Salamander Resort & Spa, which also faced stiff opposition at the outset from local residents and environmentalists.

Gunnell told the Times-Mirror over the summer that he has lived his whole life on a farm on the 600-acre property that touches Banbury Cross. He said he has an interest in preserving the area in the traditions of Middleburg.


conservation easement. yay.

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