The Middleburg Planning Commission voted unanimously on Monday to delay ruling on a proposed cluster subdivision application to bring 38 homes to the largely rural area.
The commission cited concerns with the Banbury Cross application, including the project’s impact to the area’s water supply, potential litigation and ownership issues, and the possibility lots would be converted for commercial use.
A ruling is now expected on Aug. 10.
“I hope it will work for the benefit of both the applicant and the commission, and that we can make a deliberate and well-informed judgment a couple of weeks from today,” Chairman Terence Cooke said.
The Banbury Cross application covers a 570-acre site north of Route 50 and southeast of Sam Fred Road, about two miles east of downtown Middleburg. The proposal includes 28 clustered lots with homes — up to four acres in size — and 10 rural economy lots with homes at a minimum of 25 acres each.
The Planning Commission rejected the proposal last year. The application, led by Andrew Hertneky, managing partner of Middleburg Land 1 LLC, was rejected by the Middleburg Planning Commission on Sept. 23, 2019, because it was deficient on a number of technical requirements, according to Middleburg Deputy Town Administrator William Moore.
The applicant was pressed on providing a list of commercial uses if the lots were to be converted.
Nick Albu, a land use attorney who represents the applicant, said his client could be open to providing that list, but he didn’t commit to such a move.
“We’re really trying to make a community that people will like and respect going forward,” Albu said.
The project is situated in the Rural South (AR-2) district, one of the Rural Policy Areas under consideration for preservation by the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors.
Last month, the Board of Supervisors directed county staff to prepare amendments to the county’s Zoning Ordinance and regulations related to cluster developments and prime soils in the Rural North (AR-1) and Rural South (AR-2) districts.
Prime agricultural soils, or prime farmland, has “the best combination of physical and chemical characteristics for producing food, feed, forage, fiber, and oilseed crops,” according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The county identifies cluster developments as a “grouping of building units on smaller lots within a portion or portions of the site, with the intention of retaining a significant area of the land as a contiguous tract of unbuilt open land.”