The Leesburg Town Council on Tuesday set the wheels in motion this week for potentially allowing a spring water bottling operation at an historic downtown property.
Rock Spring Farm, owned and operated by the Cook family at 329 Loudoun St., SW, could be the site of a spring water bottling facility. The Cooks have reached out to town staff and the council about what would be needed to bottle spring water that could be sold locally.
Planning and Zoning Department Director Susan Berry-Hill briefed the council Monday night on town staff’s initial thoughts. She said a Zoning Ordinance amendment would be needed to allow a bottling plant as a special exception use in the R-E district. A bottling facility is not currently defined in the Zoning Ordinance, she said.
Currently, Rock Spring Farm holds both R-4 and R-8 zoning, so a rezoning to R-E would eventually need to be pursued by the family, Berry-Hill said. Staff is recommending that a bottling facility would make the most sense for an R-E district, as that zoning designation is the closest in the town to an agricultural use of land.
“Its intention is for the preservation of land,” she said of the R-E zoning district.
The first step in the process will be for the council to initiate a Zoning Ordinance text amendment, which it did during Tuesday night’s consent agenda. This gives the staff direction to add a bottling plant definition in the R-E district, and also to work on performance standards for the use.
“This is not to allow a bottling plant on the Cook property; this is simply to allow them to ask the town to put a bottling plant on the property,” Berry-Hill emphasized.
The text amendment process is expected to take approximately four to five months, including staff time and public hearings at both the Planning Commission and Town Council. Should the text amendment be successful, the Cook family could then submit a rezoning application to change the property to R-E and submit a special exception application for the bottling plant. The property owner would also need to secure approvals from the state of Virginia, including the Department of Health.