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September 28, 2018

Winchester St. subdivision design talks proceeding

Ryan Homes representatives showed Architectural Review Board this conceptual drawing of possible designs for homes fronting Winchester Street in Warrenton.
We tried to make sure, going through the historic guidelines and seeing the properties within the area, that we could accommodate and match up with the different designs within the town.
— Ryan Homes Division Manager Brett Sechler
Winchester Chase
• What: Planned 72-lot subdivision, with 49 lots in Phase I.

• Where: 475 Winchester St., Warrenton.

• Site: 25 acres along east side street; entrance would align with North Court Street.

• Property owner/developer: Jeffery K. Rizer.

• Builder: Ryan Homes.

• Needed: Certificate of appropriateness from the town architectural review board; final site plan approval from town staff.

• Previous: Town planning commission in August 2013 voted, 5-2, to recommend approval the preliminary plat; after Mr. Rizer and the town settled lawsuit, the town council approved the preliminary plat in August 2014.

• Next: ARB and Ryan Homes will hold another work session in November.
By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Staff Journalist
Construction of 49 houses along Warrenton’s historic Winchester Street could start next summer.

After five years of debate, litigation and negotiation, plans for the “Winchester Chase” subdivision continue to move forward.

The “by-right” development along the east side of the street has zoning for lots smaller than a quarter-acre each. The subdivision’s lone entrance will align with North Court Street.

In August 2014, the town council approved a preliminary plat for 72 lots along with the general layout and street access.

A year earlier, the planning commission recommended approval of the controversial subdivision.

But, property owner Jeffery Rizer will develop only 14 of 25 acres during the first phase.

Once Mr. Rizer gets final site plan approval from the town staff, he will start installing utilities and streets for the first 49 lots. He will sell “finished lots” to Ryan Homes, which put the property under contract about a year ago.

Mr. Rizer from 2012 to 2014 purchased the five parcels for a total of about $3.7 million, according to county real estate records.

Home prices probably will start at just less than $500,000, according to Ryan Homes Division Manager Brett Sechler.

Fifteen homes will stand within the town’s historic district, requiring architectural review board approval.

Ryan Homes representatives met with the ARB on Thursday night to discuss materials and design of the houses proposed in the historic district.

The four houses fronting Winchester Street would stand about 50 feet from the pavement.

“For most of these lots, they weren’t required to do any of this,” town Planning Director Brandie Schaeffer told the ARB. “They asked to meet with you early. They’ve been very willing to work with us, and we really appreciate it.

“They went out and hired an architect and drew up things they had never done before,” Ms. Schaeffer added.

“It’s really important and we want to make sure they look good,” said Mr. Sechler.

Board members discussed the proposed designs and materials’ adherence to historic district guidelines.

“We tried to make sure, going through the historic guidelines and seeing the properties within the area, that we could accommodate and match up with the different designs within the town,” Mr. Sechler said. “As mentioned, they are very eclectic houses within the area.”

ARB Chairman Steve Wojcik told the Ryan representatives: “We appreciate the fact that you are trying to particularly focus on these homes and customize them as much as possible so they fit in as best as they can to the surrounding (area) as opposed to standing out from Winchester Street.”

Board members generally seemed comfortable with the proposed appearance of the four homes that would front Winchester Street but offered suggestions on how to add variety.

“I’m trying to stress the fact that if these are in fact going to be closer together than other houses on Winchester Street, they are going to be very prominent, hence they should be . . . non-cookie-cutter looking,” ARB member Kevin Roop said.

Board member Laura Bartee suggested using brick instead of HardiePlank siding on at least one of the houses.

Mr. Wojcik suggested Ryan “vary the roof. Consider metal or cedar shake. That would be helpful . . . . Varying the porch material to brick, cement, stone that would help them . . . fit with the surroundings more and not stand out as a subdivision.”

He also suggested reducing the number of windows on the front of the houses because, “that’s a telltale sign of a home that’s a subdivision home.”

Willing to work with the town on varying the homes, Mr. Sechler said, “Our goal is to never sell the same house across the street or right next to each other.”

Driveway access would be behind the four homes, with garages on the side.

The average lot in the subdivision would be 7,325 square feet. But the four lots along Winchester Street would be the largest, approximately 12,000 square feet apiece. Each of those homes would have four bedrooms and 2-1/2 baths.

“I think this has been very productive,” Mr. Wojcik said of Thursday night’s meeting. “I think we are eager to work with you on the next steps . . . . I think this is a good start. Thank you for all of your hard work.”

The ARB probably will conduct another work session with the Ryan Homes representatives in November. The board then will schedule a public hearing on a certificate of appropriateness for the homes.
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brandonj · October 1, 2018 at 4:42 pm
Homes sales are slowing and the schools are aging and in limbo. Let's add a suburban wasteland developer that will tear out the trees to the mix so we can party like it's 2006!

At least they'll be mostly out of view in the "architectural district".
BJ · September 30, 2018 at 1:33 pm
I would rather see Small Home building structures. Why does anyone need 12,000 square foot of living space? The kids move out and you are left with a huge home that takes more heating/cooling, maintenance, etc. How about 2 bedroom/2 bath homes with more yard to grow gardens, and green space? It sounds like a done deal. I've seen an increase in existing houses for sale along that road, and it is quite understandable why they are selling.

Blaine Johnson
Former teacher · September 28, 2018 at 7:00 pm
”Aging in Place” seems to have caught the attention of some national planners and the baby boomers. We would like to be able to stay in our communities, but our current houses are no longer age appropriate. Many of us live in two or three story houses, and we would like to change that. If I remember correctly, many of us aging boomers live in Fauquier County, and I believe a developer who tapped into this market would do well. I would prefer to not live in a cookie cutter development. I have lived here many years and I enjoy entertaining my friends and family, so small living areas do not appeal. I’d like a study and a sunroom, I want a small lot, I want on street parking so that I can host my family and friends and they’d have a place to park. I don’t want a huge house, but I would like something in the area of 2500 square feet. I’d like to live near Warrenton, maybe on the Circuit Rider route in case I need to use that service some day. I’d like a lot of storage areas. I’d like a 0-level entry into my shower. I’d like all of this on one floor, or a Cape Cod with the owner’s bedroom on the first floor. While I’m dreaming, I’d like all of this for between $450-500,000. No one is building anything like this in Fauquier County that I can find. Developers, are you listening? Pat Wine
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