vilTree of Life Ministries’ drive to build a 32 micro-cottage community on the former Weona Villa Motel property near Round Hill has moved a step closer to reality.

The Round Hill Town Council last Thursday night voted to approve a Comprehensive Plan amendment that would consider the extension of town water and sewer service to the 7-acre motel property, if the proposed development meets numerous criteria. That means Tree of Life may now formally request the town provide utility service to the property, which sits just east of the town limits. 

Executive Director Paul Smith last year outlined plans for a micro cottage project to provide affordable housing.

He said the Town Council’s vote to approve the town plan amendment shows it’s committed to addressing unmet housing needs in the area. The nonprofit now plans to continue discussing the micro-cottage proposal with the county government staff alongside a team of civil engineering, construction, design and legal experts.

“Our intentions remain unchanged with the objective of providing small, affordable rental cottages for elderly and disabled adults at the abandoned motel site,” he said, noting that the requirement for affordable housing in Loudoun has intensified since the nonprofit was established 12 years ago.

According to the plan amendment, the town would consider utility extension to the property if it serves a town, county or state-owned public recreational complex; workforce, senior-living or universal design housing; housing that provides services for the elderly, infirmed or disabled; or a nursing home, residential care or assisted living center.

The development would also be required to comply with the goals, objectives and strategies of the comprehensive plan as a whole; not impact the integrity of the historic character of the town; not be townhomes; and make reasonable efforts to mitigate impacts on surrounding properties. The town also would first need to determine if its utility system has sufficient water and sewer capacity for the proposed use.

Following the Tree of Life request, developer John Clark proposed building 20 homes for seniors and first-time home buyers on a 20-acre property along Airmont Road just south of the town limits.

Those proposals prompted the Town Council last March to direct the Planning Commission to review the 2017-2037 Comprehensive Plan to determine whether an amendment could be made to prepare the town for water and sewer extensions to those properties, along with a 12-acre property across East Loudoun Street from the motel property.

After nearly 10 months of review, the commission voted on Jan. 14 to recommend that the Town Council approve the comprehensive plan amendment, with consideration of a utility extension to only the Weona Villa property.

Throughout that time, many area residents voiced concerns that preparing for utility extensions to properties outside the town limits would encourage development that would adversely impact the Round Hill area’s historic character. Many residents living in the Lakepoint Village neighborhood, which abuts the Weona Villa property, said they were additionally concerned about increased traffic impeding their ability to turn out of their community onto Loudoun Street and about the types of people who might end up living in the cottages.

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