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November 13, 2013

Warrenton Crossing wins rezonings for 135 homes

As people know, we’ve been working on this for a very long time. The connector is critical.
— Councilman David Norden
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After more than 18 months of negotiations, the Warrenton Town Council on Tuesday approved rezonings to allow construction of 135 homes on 47.6 acres.

The property lies between East Lee Street, Falmouth Street and the Eastern Bypass.

Development of “Warrenton Crossing” also should divert traffic from Falmouth Street, one of the town’s oldest byways.

Town Councilman David Norden (At-large), a Falmouth Street resident, played a major role in the negotiations, Mayor George Fitch noted before Tuesday night’s 5-0 vote.

“As people know, we’ve been working on this for a very long time,” Mr. Norden, an architect, said as he made the motion for approval of two rezonings. “The connector is critical.”

Property owner David Dobson and development consultant Steve Vento agreed to build Williams Way, a new connector street, which will serve as a Falmouth Street bypass. The town’s comprehensive plan calls for that new connection.

Since Walmart and Home Depot opened in south Warrenton, traffic on the old street steadily has increased. The town installed two flashing speed indicator signs — one in front of Mr. Norden’s home — to “calm” Falmouth Street traffic.

As part of the negotiations, the new subdivision got increased density in exchange for a design that has no driveways connected directly to Williams Way. The new street — named for the late school board member and Councilman John Williams — will link Lee Street and the Eastern Bypass to Shirley Avenue.

Williams Way will create a new, four-way stop intersection where Falmouth and Old Meetze Road meet at Alwington Manor.

On the north end, it will line up with Walker Drive, across East Lee Street, where Oliver City Road begins.

Town officials also worked hard to protect Oliver City, a historically black neighborhood just inside the Eastern Bypass, and the historic district homes along Falmouth Street.

Mr. Vento’s company, BRS Partners, will develop the land and sell lots or the whole subdivision to builders.

Mr. Dobson, a real estate investor who lives in Culpeper County, assembled 18 different parcels that comprise Warrenton Crossing. That property includes the former R.L. Rider & Co. heavy equipment storage yard.

Mr. Dobson and Mr. Vento assured town officials and neighbors that the new subdivision will offer safe walkways and new options for pedestrians, along with generous plantings of “street trees.”

To proceed, the subdivision needs town approval of preliminary and final plats, the specific layouts for houses, driveways, streets and sidewalks.

If all goes well, Mr. Vento said he expects site work to begin next summer.

As for demand, he added: “Warrenton’s always a good market. White’s Mill (just east of town) sold out quickly.”

Vice Mayor Norden, Powell Duggan, Bob Kravetz, John “Sparky” Lewis, Yak Lubowsky and Roger Martella voted for the rezoning.

Powell Duggan recused himself because his law firm represents a neighboring property owner.

Joan Williams, an Oliver City resident who represents Ward 2, missed the meeting.

The council attached nine conditions to approval of the rezonings. Those conditions include:

• Landscaping.

• No driveways connected to Oliver City Road, Old Mill Road and Williams Way.

• Constructing no more than three new driveways on Falmouth Street.

• Preserving options to connect streets in Monroe Estates and other neighborhoods.

• A walkway to connect Oliver City with Falmouth Street.

• Efforts “toward mitigation of traffic associated with the development.”

• Completing the purchases of Ball and Gaines family properties on Oliver City Road for proper alignment of Williams Way. Mr. Vento has signed contracts for the purchase of those two properties.

Thirteen people — many concerned about traffic — spoke during the town council’s first public hearing on the project in September. The town planning commission in August unanimously voted to recommend council approval.

Last month, the applicants responded to criticism and changed the development’s name from Mosby’s Crossing.

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darthsmozers · November 14, 2013 at 12:39 pm
While I understand the emotions with a small town growing, sometimes it seems comments are a little dramatic. For example, Fauquier and Fairfax do not approve projects at the same rate, so to imagine this being "Centreville" or "Fairfax" is a really dramatic claim. Gainesville is more like those two "towns", but Warrenton is pretty small. Also, Warrenton today is made up of communities build over decades. I would imagine in 1980s some folks complained about the growth. Maybe even in the 1960s as new parts of town were build. It won't ever stop, anywhere, but its far slower in this town than in so many others in NOVA. The population of the DC area continues to grow, and nowhere is immune to it. Eventually rural places are crept upon. It doesn't make certain people evil, its just how it goes. It can be managed, and there is room for debate on the management of it, but it can't really be stopped. At least the silver lining is that people who move to Warrenton generally really appreciate the businesses and services in the old town, and by visiting these places it brings business and money. If not for tourists and residents, I iamgine the old town would be pretty dead and not as nice as it is. Well anyway, I agree that seeing large neighborhoods can be disheartening. But folks who want to move here love the place - why not let them become a part of it? Its not like Gainesville where new neighborhoods feature hundreds or even a thousand homes...this is talking a hundred.
Silii · November 14, 2013 at 7:58 am
Development like this will continue unfettered as long as local jurisdictions don't have the power to say "no." Virginia is controlled by the Dillon Rule. Look it up and see what you think.
Observer · November 14, 2013 at 6:48 am
Another bloody Manassas in the works.
martinkus · November 13, 2013 at 9:17 pm
Well said! The "Fairfaxinization" of Fauquier County continues. Developers normally win, just like this case where, in return for a road, the developer was able to obtain greater housing density. Who will ultimately pay for this continued growth? The tax payer will because of the future need for additional schools and services.
TodNehman · November 13, 2013 at 5:17 pm
Loved the comment about Warrenton being a good market and that another development quickly filled up....Good for who? the developers and urban sprawl I guess. New Centreville here we come! I remember when that was a country town too. And before the guy that comes on here calling everybody a Nimby...are you on city water? If not then you have no dog in this fight so save it. City water capacity is cited at 90% already. That was before the last two new developments (Winchester ST and this) added 200+ plus homes. Resources are finite and so is the time Warrenton will be a nice place to live it would appear.
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