A group of area residents have launched a petition to raise objections to a proposed 38-home subdivision in Middleburg called Banbury Cross Reserve.
The petition has gained momentum, securing more than 1,000 signatures, but stopping the development appears to be an uphill battle: The project is by-right under current county zoning.
According to initial plans, the 570-acre parcel will include 28 homes on two- to four-acre lots and another 10 homes on 25- to 40-acre lots. Four entrances to the subdivision are planned off Sam Fred Road, with two entrances to the smaller lots and two to the larger lots. Known as clustering, the parcel is zoned for 15 acres per dwelling, and the homes will be situated with 70 percent open space.
Glen Barbour, public affairs spokesman for Loudoun County, said the Town of Middleburg has a subdivision control area that reaches one mile beyond its corporate boundary, and Banbury Cross is partially in this area.
“The major impacts of this development would occur within the control area. The development outside the one-mile subdivision control area comes in the form of large rural economy lots,” Barbour said. The preliminary subdivision application, led by Andrew Hertneky, managing partner of Middleburg Land 1 LLC, was rejected by the Middleburg Planning Commission at a meeting Sept. 23 because it was “deficient” on a number of technical requirements, according to Middleburg Deputy Town Administrator William Moore.
Moore said the applicant will need to resubmit a new form and go through the same process again.
“We did meet, and the applicant indicated they have every intention on re-filing, but they are taking time to make sure everything is in order,” Moore said.
Moore said he has heard concerns about driving safety on Sam Fred Road and Route 50. VDOT reviewed the preliminary application, though the plans did not reach a threshold for a traffic impact analysis.
“Further analysis of whether or not there would need improvements on Sam Fred or Route 50 would be examined at a later stage by VDOT,” Moore said.
Hertneky could not be reached for comment for this story.
Daniel Haney, an opponent of the proposal, said he believes plans will eventually include more than 38 homes and will also encompass adjacent properties including Traveller's Rest and Banbury Cross Polo, creating three polo fields, a clubhouse and spa with different levels of membership to develop a 740-acre “Wellington North complex.”
“I don't think this town needs another polo resort,” Haney said.
Haney said his group has raised $6,000 through a GoFundMe campaign and $1,000 through a nonprofit. These were set up to hire land use attorneys, purchase yard signs and hire consultants.
“This project doesn't fit the cultural and historical integrity of rural western Loudoun, and I hope our Board of Supervisors will agree,” he said.
Middleburg Mayor Bridge Littleton said he also has concerns about the proposal.
“I am concerned about the project in general for Middleburg and our environment and surrounding community. It could have a significant impact to our water table, traffic and historic and cultural assets. It has not been done or planned with broader community input and insight. This is a prime example of why the County needs to fix the hole in our county zoning around clustering in AR-1 and AR-2,” Littleton said.
Haney said he hopes the developers will sit down with his group to discuss their plans.
“This started as a handful of concerned citizens and has become a movement. It would be great if they met with us or had a public hearing. So far they have been silent,” Haney said.