Dozens of new homes could be built near the corner of 211 and 229
By Anita L. Sherman
If you are traveling on U.S. 211 west out of Warrenton or heading east out of Rappahannock during the spring to early fall, you’ll usually find a cluster of stands known as the Tri-County Farmers Market at Clevengers Corner at the corner of 211 and 229, with local produce from Culpeper, Rappahannock and Fauquier counties.
By the fall of 2017, there could be the seeds of clusters of single-family homes planted.
At their Dec. 14 public hearing, the Culpeper County Planning Commission unanimously approved a Preliminary Subdivision Plan requested by Clevengers Corner Associates LLC out of Washington, D.C.
“The Planning Commission did recommend approval finding conformance with all relevant Zoning and Subdivision Ordinances,” confirmed Director of Planning and Development Sam McLearan, “by a 9-0 vote.”
Called the Piedmont Estates, the plan calls for 93 half-acre single family clustered lots to be built on a total of 125.75 acres.
The parcel is zoned R-1 (Residential) and VC (Village Center Commercial) and is located on the southwest corner of the signalized intersection in the Jefferson magisterial district. The plan also creates three separate well lots and one open space parcel. The existing 12.599-acre portion that is currently zoned VC is proposed to become a separate lot as well, but no commercial development is proposed with this plan.
All of the lots are to front on proposed public streets (and none of the lots are to access directly to 211 or 229). They will be served by public water and sanitary sewer systems.
In the county’s case analysis and review, the proposed plan falls within the guidelines of the 2015 Culpeper County Comprehensive Plan which designates this area as Low Density Residential.
The proposed subdivision is a “by‐right” cluster division in the R‐1 zoning district. The minimum lot size (clustered R‐1) of 20,000 square feet has been observed for each lot and the requirement for 40 percent open space has been exceeded along with adequate buffering from existing developments.
This development seeks to cluster in order to reduce cost and through dedication of 59.7 acres of open space thereby create a development in keeping with land conservation goals delineated in the Comprehensive Plan. This coupled with three full access connections to primary roads to the north and east provides the adequate connectivity.
The creation of Piedmont Estates would fall within one of the county’s identified growth centers.
Culpeper County is 90 percent agriculture/rural areas and has three growth centers noted in the Comprehensive Plan. The largest growth area is the Town of Culpeper, which is the primary village center and incorporated town with a population of about 48,000. Second is the Brandy Station/Elkwood area containing an existing airpark, industrial uses, historic resources and a small potential for residential growth. The third is Clevenger’s Corner.
Long time coming
More than a decade ago, there were loftier plans for Clevengers Corner that went beyond rooftops to include commercial and retail development. Over the years, none of it materialized but the county did build a sewer treatment plant in anticipation of future growth. It currently services several hundred homes in the nearby South Wales subdivision.
In 2013, Centex homes withdrew their proffer amendment to build 762 single-family homes on quarter-acre lots. Their original proposal was a mixed use plan that included apartments, duplexes and a large commercial component. At that point in time, any development projects had gone “dormant.”
Jim Carson represented the developer for Piedmont Estates at the public hearing. An engineer, he is the president of Carson/Ashley, a land-use consulting and engineering firm located in Warrenton. He remains optimistic that this time the proposed project will take root and become a reality.
While this plan calls for an initial clustering of homes, the open space could well accommodate future commercial development. That mixed-used plan is something Carson would likely advocate.
Others have concerns about a purely residential development. Concerned Culpeper Citizens was formed more than 15 years ago. The group was created out of respect for Culpeper’s historical and rural legacy. They want to keep abreast of what county planners and private developers have in mind when it comes to future growth plans.
Perry Cabot, one of their members, is generally their spokesperson. For Cabot, a commercial development at the northern entrance to the county would be more suitable than clusters of homes. According to Cabot, tax revenue from those 90 plus rooftops won’t support the county services they will require.
Culpeper saw dramatic growth during the housing boom of the early 2000s and weathered the recession that came in 2007-2008.
According to GPAAR (Greater Piedmont Area Association of Realtors) statistics for November 2016, Culpeper County’s dollar volume in housing sales was at $13,600,851. In November of 2015, it was $8,067,045. That’s a 68.60 percent increase.
While only one indicator, perhaps a harbinger of good things to come in the new year.
Final approval for the Preliminary Subdivision Plan for Piedmont Estates rests with the Culpeper County Board of Supervisors at their Jan. 3 meeting.