Leesburg’s Goose Creek rezoning decision pushed to May 20

Golf course at Goose Creek

Goose Creek Golf Club, as golfers might fondly remember it, will change in the near future.

On a 6-3 vote at the May 21 Board of Supervisors meeting, the board allowed Kettler, Goose Creek's developer, to rezone 110.8 acres in Leesburg to accommodate up to 158 residential units and 142,000-square-feet of non-residential uses, which would include a 132-room hotel, a 9-hole golf course and a 6,000-square-foot restaurant.

The planned project is located to the east of the Village at Leesburg on Route 7.

It's a sign of the times. Since the housing market crashed in 2009, more than 500 golf courses have folded across the United States, according to Bloomberg Business.

In that time Brambleton abandoned a public golf course project it had planned when the development first began. According to Brambleton's 2020 vision documents, "There are far too many under-utilized golf courses already in Loudoun County and in our region. Ultimately, if a golf course were constructed, the significant cost associated with operation and maintenance of that golf course would be borne by the community association and each of our residents."

On the Goose Creek project, Kettler agreed to build a much-needed bridge over Tuscarora Creek, as part of a proffer package that also included a soccer field.

"I would like to commend the applicant for figuring [the bridge] out, and finding an effective way, where even if it's more [money] than expected they are going to build the bridge. Not a temporary bridge, the real bridge," said Supervisor Suzanne Volpe (R-Algonkian).

"I hope the board does approve this tonight, because VDOT does not have any money to design, engineer or build this bridge and doesn't have any idea about when or how to do it."

A VDOT bridge would cost $4.1 million.

Geary Higgins (R-Catoctin), who is the supervisor for the club, mentioned that the project is already zoned for 36 houses. A provision was written in for 20 affordable dwelling units.

Supervisor Shawn Williams (R-Broad Run) opposed the projects stating that by-right development would generate roughly 28 students with $350,000 in cost as opposed to a rezoning which would put 89 new students in schools at an operating cost of $1.13 million.

He did, however, concede that more homes would help make the Village as Leesburg a more viable town-center community.

Supervisor Ralph Buona (R-Ashburn) also did not support the project, at one point stating, "I think we're mixing too much residential right next to an industrial use. I'm not fond of big dump trucks mixing with school buses in the morning and in the afternoon. I think it's a mismatch."

Buona reiterated the point that the county would incur an additional $1 million a year just for schools.

Both Williams and Buona mentioned that they wished to remain consistent on the rezoning of land to higher density residential.

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