Westpark Golf Course opened in 1968

Westpark Golf Course opened in 1968. City & Suburban Real Estate Brokerage

Last December, the town of Leesburg denied a developer's proposal to build 96 homes on the former Westpark Golf Club property, and now the town is considering purchasing it.

Chuck Kuhn, owner of JK Moving Services, working through his Leesburg attorney David Moyes, sent a letter on May 11 to the town offering the approximately 134-acre Westpark Golf Club property to the town for $3.4 million.

Kuhn said the property is currently under contract, and he is in the process of placing it under conservation easement.

"I'm very excited about having it under contract and am hopeful the town of Leesburg will purchase it post easement," Kuhn told the Times-Mirror. "This is a great open space which needs to be protected and will be a great park for the community to enjoy."

Kuhn will retain an approximately eight-acre commercial site, which he said he is unsure of how it will be used. He said he is waiting to see what happens after the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kuhn said the goal with Westpark is to protect it from development and hopefully to give a park back to the community, which is why he is willing to sell it to the town for less than market value.

Developer CalAtlantic Homes, later merged with Lennar Corporation, entered into a contract purchase of Westpark golf course in late 2017. The course officially closed last September.

Leesburg Mayor Kelly Burk told the Times-Mirror that Westpark will be a discussion item during council's May 26 meeting.

The mayor said she believes it is an excellent opportunity, calling it a legacy project to leave for many generations to come. 

According to the letter from Kuhn's attorney, the town has until July 1 to respond to the proposal.

“I'm hopeful [council] will realize this is an opportunity that won't come along again. It is an opportunity to save some parkland, and the need for parkland has become very clear during this pandemic,” Burk said.

Vice Mayor Fernando “Marty” Martinez sounded keenly interested in Kuhn's offer. He said he'd like to see as much open space preserved as possible.

“We need as much as we can, and there are all kinds of opportunity there,” he said.

Martinez supports Mayor Burk's outreach to residents through social media to join in the discussion about Westpark.

“It's a great way to at least get us to know the direction of what residents are thinking. It's been positive,” he said.

Councilman Tom Dunn offered his comments to the Times-Mirror, saying he feels it is a shame the idea has not been brought before the Town Council sooner, even though he said the mayor has been working on it for months.

"This is only one thing, an election year stunt designed to turn well-meaning citizens who are not at fault and unknowingly turn into a mob by the mayor," Dunn said.

He said the costs involved with purchasing Westpark need to be studied closely.

"And the real corruption is this land could have been free except that the mayor, with the former town attorney, forced the town into a no negotiation process due to self imposed town regulations," Dunn said. "The mayor has not shown any ability to make good deals and now wants Leesburg taxpayers to help a millionaire with a financial deal to his benefit with the fear tactic of 'we will lose this land.' ...  I put before council over a year ago the suggestion that we rezone this property recreation open space so it could never be 'lost,' but Council voted down that suggestion."

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Clarification: This article has been updated to clarify CalAtlantic Homes' involvement with the Westpark property in 2017.

(12) comments

LeesburgFan

Mayor Burk has been working this deal behind the scenes, organizing a meeting with Kuhn and Town Staff. Stop right there.......that's enough deception without other Council members knowledge to stop this deal dead in its tracks. Kuhn is no dummy, he's put a deadline on the deal. That's reason #2 to stop this before going any further. I haven't followed why putting 97 townhomes on the commercially zoned land was voted down.......on the face it sounds like a winner, and the Town would have gotten the remaining land for FREE! But no, there was probably too much traffic going out onto Rt. 7 and the homebuilder got denied! Glad I'm not a Town resident and taxpayer, but I'm left smh on what Burk is doing.

InteliGrowth

It was a bad idea when the land was offered for free with no conservative easement. Now it just plain cost too much for a food plain that would require expensive up keep. Wait for a better offer, hopefully it could be donated to Leesburg with the easement in place. $ 3.4 mil could help a lot more Leesburg small businesses and would be a better investment. long term.

Bud

Why waste taxpayers money? The land is floodplain and unable to be developed. It will remain open land regardless of whop owns it. Town purchase is simply a handout of money to the seller.

RandomName2019

Owning a piece of property that is prone to flooding and requires regular remediation doesn't seem like a great long-term plan for a town that is almost at the upper limit of their ability to collect revenue. Is this really what town residents want to spend their taxes on?

WesternSky

1) Contract the land for $4M after Leesburg hoses prior development. 2) Assess potential development value of the land at $20M. 3) Put it into conservation easement. 4) Take $16M transferable tax credit. 5) Sell undevelopable land for $3.4M to Leesburg. 6) Keep 8 acres on RT 15 valued at $4M. Taxpayers pay for it all. Win, Win, Win, Lose.

ace10

Nice distillation.

Concerned

Read the Hook has an interesting article, Scenic treasure: How conservation lines the pockets of the rich. It says it all. I think this is called a fleecing scheme that the taxpayer should not take part in.

LetsGoCaps

To throw support behind an "idea" that has yet to be contextualized is foolhardy at best, and, given our current financial standing, malicious at worst.

Please allow our Town Staff to review any proposals before throwing $3.4mil in taxpayer money towards a floodplain that a previous applicant tried to *literally give away* just months ago.

Why is it that every prospective purchaser of Westpark wants to get rid of the land in question? Here's a hint: has anyone read the Town Staff report on the long-term maintenance costs?

I want this area kept green as much as anyone, but using the "stop overdevelopment" pitch is a false narrative - no developer in their right mind is going to build (the by-right) residential on a floodplain. The last buyer threatened to do so, repeatedly. Those of us local to the property all got (illegally placed) flyers about it. But for anyone that attended or listened in to the Public Hearing before the Town Council, you heard their lead engineer admit "I think we all know that [building by-right residential in a floodplain] was never a reality."

Turning this land into some sort of park is the right thing to do. Given that approximately 80% of the land in question is a floodplain, it's really the only option. And this is a fair deal - it really is. With this, at least, there's no question of "is this gift of land an illegal proffer?" But for Burk and Martinez to use Facebook to ask for Town support, using her personal profile (vs her professional profile), without initially providing the cost (only revealed after a FOIA request), and then ignoring the previously published reports from Town Staff about the additional millions in infrastructure and flood mitigation efforts needed? For shame.

We have far more questions than answers here.

Was this offer also made to the County? If not, why not?

Why can't the buyer finalize their contract and just maintain the property until a more appropriate time? Why force the Town to make such a costly decision during a pandemic? If the Town doesn't agree to buy it, what then? We need answers if we're going to make an INFORMED decision.

hardworkingamerican

Wishful thinking, but it is Leesburg so sadly don't hold your breath. It should have never been let go to being with. Was a really great Golf course and the people there were so wonderful. Sad they just got thrown away. Remember gathering places are now subject to limitations. So might have to look at that more closely. Again, if it can be messed up Burk and others will do it. After all it could have been a local government run golf course but the you know what town council said the cost of maintenance was too high? Gee, what a bunch of losers and do we really want them running anything if they can't do maintenance on a golf course that is already 100% set up. Leesburg nothing council is more like it.

LoudounPulse

Cut that check tomorrow Leesburg. Cheap land in the middle of some of the most expensive real estate in the area is a once in a lifetime opportunity. This would be a great park and could connect to the W&OD trail to make it a major gathering point.

David Dickinson

Buy it! Don't screw this up again Leesburg. You had an offer to get 100+ acres for free and passed it up (in exchange for 27 housing permits). There will be no other opportunities to establish a 100+ acre park in Leesburg. Dig deep and buy it.

LetsGoCaps

It wasn't in exchange for 27 single family homes - it was in exchange for rezoning the existing commercial property (where the clubhouse is) for condensed residential in order to build 97 townhomes - quite a larger impact on traffic and schools than 27 estate homes. The Town was right to deny the rezoning application.

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