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Commission approves Fox Meadow subdivision plan

Westmoreland County’s Land Use Office was bustling with developer activity when the county approved a preliminary plan for Clint and Linda Loeffler’s Fox Meadow Subdivision on June 14, 2005. Development activity had all but come to a halt when the couple returned this Monday to receive Planning Commission approval of a revised preliminary plan.

In 2005 new residential subdivision development had reached an all time high. The building industry was booming and developers such as Branson Cove’s Marty Miller and Northern Neck Subdivision’s Rich Ward had become household names. Money flowed to support the county’s

public sewer projects and officials in the Town of Colonial Beach contemplated development of Potomac Crossing golf community and 2010 Census returns that would make the waterfront community eligible for designation as a city.

The housing market crashed and the Loefflers never recorded the Fox Meadow subdivision plat. Not recording the plat kept the county tax bill lower. Potomac Crossing wasn’t built and the Branson’s Cove and Northern Neck subdivision efforts failed, but smaller residential projects did not take as great a hit in intervening years. The 2005 Fox Meadow subdivision plan called for 10 lots with four-bedroom dwellings and one lot with a three-bedroom home. The Aug.1, 2011 plan expands the subdivision to 13 residential lots.

On May 9, 2005, the parcel’s 9.67 acres were rezoned from the previous Agricultural, A-1 designation to Residential, R-2, Limited uses. The county’s old zoning ordinance was still in force when the application was submitted. A citizen group known as the ZORC (Zoning Ordinance Review Committee) had been charged with reviewing the old zoning and subdivision ordinances and developing new language and controls that would better accommodate the development pressure the county was encountering during that period.

The Fox Meadow subdivision site is fronted by McKinney Boulevard and Mimosa Avenue and is described in the county’s records as Parcel 77 on Zoning District Map 3 in Washington Magisterial District. The project’s road plan was approved by VDOT on June 28, 2004. On Aug. 15, 2005, the supervisors approved a special exception that authorized development of a central water system to serve the homes. The well site was approved on Oct. 21, 2005, and wetlands delineation activity followed in 2006.

On Feb. 2, 2007, two lots were subdivided into four and on April 9, 2010, the project’s waterworks business operations plan was approved by the Office of Drinking Water. Land Use Office staff shared file materials confirming project activity when the commission met this week.

County Planner Charlie Wrightson and project engineer Jeff Howeth provided an explanation of how the preliminary site plan approval had expired during the Aug. 1 deliberations.

To ease the burden on developers after the housing bubble burst, state government intervened, extending the timeline for development of projects. The Fox Meadow subdivision project’s plat was approved too early to benefit from the extension. Additionally, new subdivision and zoning rules were approved by Westmoreland that imposed a stricter timeline for recording subdivision plats.

According to this week’s discussion, the Loefflers were unaware of the new time constraints associated with recording subdivision plats. The preliminary site plan approved in June 2005 expired in December 2006. It cost $795 to make application for Fox Meadow’s Aug. 1, 2011, preliminary plat.

 

Betsy Ficklin

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