47-Home ‘Agrihood’ Proposed Near Round Hill

The Round Hill Town Council last week was briefed on a proposal to annex the 14.93-acre Thomas property on West Loudoun Street, where developers plan 43 townhome-style attached dwellings and four single-family homes.

Casey Chapman of the Mozzell real estate company told council members that the neighborhood would be similar to the 39-home Cortland Square neighborhood in Purcellville and that it would be an “agrihood”—meaning it would use the land’s green space for attractions like parks, trails and greenhouses.

“It really creates an all-around, good, walkable community,” Chapman said. “[The community would be] something that can reconnect people with agriculture.”

The proposed design shows 43 attached homes situated toward the front of the property in a grid pattern, with five detached single-family homes clustered toward the rear. The Thomas family has suggested that their existing 3,428-square-foot single-family home could be converted into a community center or bed and breakfast.

The Thomas property, which the family has owned since the 1950s, is located in an area that the town is considering for annexation. Mayor Scott Ramsey said that a town expansion could happen as early as this year.

In a letter to the town, the Thomas family suggested that a cluster-style development would expand the town’s tax base, warrant infrastructure and other public improvements and enhance the town’s identity and character with new community residents.

The family also compared the proposed development with the 4,000-acre Willowsford neighborhood in southern Loudoun, which features 40 miles of nature trails, a farm stand, camp sites and resident activities like cooking and fitness classes, outdoor concerts and mountain bike races.

“[Willowsford] has proven incredibly popular and successful in southern Loudoun County, gaining even national attention,” the family wrote. “Our goal, simply put, is to better Round Hill as it progresses and moves forward into the future.”

According to the town’s 2017-2037 Comprehensive Plan, most new homes built in the past decade within the Joint Land Management Area, where the Villages at Round Hill are located, have been part of “cookie-cutter” developments that are “out of the price range of people who make 70 to 100 percent of the area median income.”

In their letter, the Thomas family argued that the proposed development would be more affordable for young families and retirees because of its smaller-sized homes. “We believe homebuyers will be attracted to such a housing alternative that will be offered at a lower price point,” the family wrote.

While the proposed community design shows more than three dwelling units per acre, the town’s Comprehensive Plan currently envisions density of only one dwelling unit per acre in that zone. One dwelling unit per two acres is allowed “under a series of conditions,” according to Ramsey.

“We wrote the comprehensive plan for a reason,” Ramsey said. “You need council action to initiative a comp plan amendment.”

Chapman said that the homes in the design were more compact than what the town would like to see because they’re intended to take up less room to preserve the property’s green space.

Chapman said that he would now share the Town Council’s feedback with the Thomas family for a re-evaluation and to develop a new plan.

“We plan to come back and present something that is more in line with the feedback that we got [at the Town Council meeting],” he said. ““We view it as a positive meeting.”

Mozzell LLC is owned and operated by the Chapman Brothers LLC, which has built serval projects in Purcellville, including the KFC/Taco Bell, the 45,000-square-foot medical building off Hirst Road, and the 29,000-square-foot Valley Commercial Center where the town’s police station is currently headquartered.

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Initial plans for a proposed development near Round Hill show the addition of 43 attached and four single-family detached homes on the 14.93-acre Thomas property.

5 thoughts on “47-Home ‘Agrihood’ Proposed Near Round Hill

  • 2019-01-08 at 11:30 am

    Calling the development an “agrihood” would require planning for areas suitable for agriculture. In looking at the provided sketch design, the Prime Farmland Soils are all in the area slated for the most intense residential development, and the only “agri” item on the map, a greenhouse, is sited on some of the worst farmland soils on the property, with prolonged high water tables and poor drainage. Not an ideal place for intense high tunnel or greenhouse production.
    The difference with Willowsford is that soils suitable for various types of agricultural production were set aside all around the community for farming, so the ag side of the development could succeed. From an agricultural perspective, this looks like adding “agri” to make it sound trendy and be able to get more intense zoning approved.

    • 2019-01-08 at 11:36 am

      In examining the map further, there are also areas noted as “crop field.” These are in hydric soils (wetland), again not suitable for crop ground. So again, the areas set aside for agricultural production, are the areas that are unsuitable for that use and would set up the “agri” side of this development to fail. Better to place the agricultural production areas, if that’s part of the “deal” for intense rezoning on the prime farmland soils on the southwestern portion of the property.

  • 2019-01-08 at 3:59 pm

    Just what we need – more particleboard & plastic siding. Another “Town Center” not in the plan? Set up a farm stand and call it an “Agrihood”…

  • 2019-01-09 at 11:05 am

    Networks use “fact checkers” to evaluate political speeches, but you don’t need one to read through this BS. Everything asserted by this developer is, in Harry Truman’s words, “lies and damn lies.” This is just a greedy ploy to cram in a bunch of cheap houses on a bad site. It will hurt the town and the cost of schooling will really hurt taxpayers.

    The claims are so ridiculous that this idiocy gets laughed into oblivion.

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