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August 9, 2019

Supervisors delay decision on subdivision age limit

File Photo/Lawrence Emerson
Russell Marks, the developer who has a contract to buy the 434 acres, explains his plan in 2015.
I need more information. I haven’t talked to the applicant for over a year.
— Marshall District Supervisor Mary Leigh McDaniel
Public Hearing
• What: Requested changes to previously approved rezoning, including removal of the 55 or older age restriction for 217 homes on the planned Arrington subdivision site along James Madison Highway (Route 29) at Warrenton’s southwestern edge. The project allows 228 homes.

• When: About 8:15 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 8.

• Where: Warren Green Building, 10 Hotel St., Warrenton.

• Agency: County board of supervisors.

• Speakers: Six, with four opposing and two, including the applicant, supporting the application.

• Length: About 22 minutes

• Applicant: Alwington Farm Developers LLC

• Landowner: Alwington Farm LLC, W. Boyd Laws.

• Next: Board postponed action on application until its Sept. 12 meeting.
By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Staff Journalist
Fauquier’s board of supervisors Thursday night took a month-long pass on whether to remove a 55 and older age restriction for a large planned subdivision at Warrenton’s southwestern edge.

In November 2015, the board approved a rezoning, special exception permits and other requirements for the Arrington project along James Madison Highway, between Lovers Lane and Alwington Boulevard.

Besides parks and a trail, the planned community calls for 228 homes. Of that total, 217 would be age restricted.

Alwington Farm Developers LLC, which has a contract to buy the 434-acre site from W. Boyd Laws, wants that requirement removed.

The supervisors Thursday night conducted a public hearing on the request to change that and other conditions related to the project’s approval four years ago.

> Documents at bottom of story

Six people spoke during the 22-minute hearing at the Warren Green Building in Warrenton. Four objected to scrapping the age restriction and two, including the developer, supported the request.

The Arrington site lies within Marshall District, which Supervisor Mary Leigh McDaniel represents.

The supervisors agreed to delay action on the application so that Ms. McDaniel could learn more about it.

“I need more information,” she told the board. “I haven’t talked to the applicant for over a year.”

The board probably will decide the matter at its Sept. 12 meeting.

Nothing about the project or the kinds of homes that would be constructed at the Arrington site would change with removal of the age restriction, developer Russell Marks said.

As justification for the requested change, Mr. Marks cited a town analysis based on U.S. Census data that points to the significant aging of Warrenton’s population.

Between 2010 and 2017, Warrenton’s 55- to 74-year-old population increased by 39.2 percent, according to a town report cited in a county community development analysis of the Arrington project.

That group climbed from 1,605 to 2,234 people, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

During the same period, the number of residents age 25 to 54 dipped about 2 percent, from 4,008 to 3,930.

Warrenton’s 2017 population stood at 9,875, the Census Bureau estimated.

“They say these trends can have implications for the future size of the labor force and local businesses’ ability to attract employees,” Mr. Marks said.

Removing the age restriction would attract young families to the Arrington project who would add “vibrancy” to the community, he said.

Alwington Farm Developers’ cash contribution of about $1.5 million would help offset the project’s effects on public services, Mr. Marks said.

Eliminating the age restriction for the Arrington project would generate 167 additional students, according to the county school system.

It costs Fauquier $13,084 per year to educate a student, according to school officials. Adding 167 children to the school system would equate to $2.1 million per year in per pupil expenses.

Referring to school data, Mr. Marks argued those students would place no additional burden on the system because “the school population in Fauquier is actually going down.”

During the project’s five- to seven-year construction schedule, “we’d actually be putting students into seats . . . that are actually empty,” he said.

But opponents believe erasing the age restriction would place greater demands on public infrastructure.

“They say it won’t be more dense,” Laura Jenkins, who lives adjacent to the Arrington site, said. “But, of course, if they’re going from age restricted — 55 and older — to families, there’s going to be more people living in each house.”

Other speakers said families would generate more vehicle trips, place greater demands on the school system and require more public water than a seniors’ community. Arrington will be served with town water. 

To make the project more palatable to the previous board of supervisors, the developer pitched a 55 and older community as an alternative to one that would include families and therefore demand more public services, according to opponents.

At its July 15 meeting, the town/county liaison committee, which includes supervisors and elected town officials, discussed a boundary line adjustment that would bring the Arrington site into Warrenton. The committee also discussed the possibility of extending public sewer to the property. 

Contact Don Del Rosso at or 540-270-0300.

Arrington Subdivision Proff... by Fauquier Now on Scribd

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JDwarrenton · August 22, 2019 at 9:34 am
Ms. Arrington had bequethed millions of dollars to her alma mater, Mary Washington University, to be paid out of her estate. The nephew gained control and disputed the will, since it would leave him little if paid to the school. Don't know how the court case ended.
Linda Ward · August 21, 2019 at 3:29 pm
Exactly JDWarrenton! I was asked by another poster on another article, why should owners take a loss by building affordable housing when they can get top dollar by building McMansions? The owner of this property INHERITED it from Annabelle Arrington, he didn't spend a penny on procuring this property, but wants to make sure he get more, much more out of his inheritance. Greed, pure and simple.
JDwarrenton · August 17, 2019 at 8:10 am
I took the time to read the attached proffers, and review the Concept Plan, and the Code of Development.

As expected, there are no cash proffers for schools.

And even though 228 new houses would create 2,280 more car trips on the adjacent roads, there are no cash proffers for transportation. In fact, the only transportation proffer is to build a traffic circle at their new entrance between the Home Depot and the exiting traffic light next to Home Depot. Very light proffers relative to industry norms!! What to expect? Way more traffic at the noted traffic light and surrounding streets.

Also, developer proffered to build an on-site waste treatment plant, and pledged that it would never cost the Town or County one cent to maintain or build. Now he wants the County/Town to accept the project's sewage.

As I said, bait-and switch.

Truepat · August 12, 2019 at 7:05 am
Rover 530, great points, Belmont has a camera at the guard gate that broadcasts to each household which is strange but you can see who's coming in the gate 24/7...JDwarrenton, those are the kind of facts the supervisors should be considering, thanks for your information as well.....
JDwarrenton · August 11, 2019 at 7:36 am
This is a bait-and-switch move by the developer. The Virginia legislature changed the proffer laws pertaining to rezoning after this project was approved, so that the counties cannot demand proffers for rezoning as they once could. Before this change, most counties received cash proffers of $10,500 to $12,000 per housing unit for schools alone. For this project, that would amount to $2.6 million alone.

Most age-restricted communities, like this one, skirted the cash proffers by arguing that senior communities do not burden localities w/ school age children; hence no school proffers. Now that this is approved, and cash proffer demands are outlawed, well, you will get new students w/o cash proffers that help pay for things like school buses, classroom supplies, desks, sports equipment, computers, teacher hires, etc.

Also, the developer promised he could handle the sewerage generated with on site waste treatment system. Now he wants to connect to public system? Sure, that will save him the considerable expense of an on-site waste treatment system, which will shift to the costs to the public.

Further, senior communities generate a lot less traffic than non-age restricted communities (trips to school, soccer, groceries, the list is long .....). The cash transportation proffers, as well as the entire traffic plan must be revisited.
Linda Ward · August 9, 2019 at 7:32 pm
Good questions Truepat. Some grandparents are taking on their grandchildren due to family situations, and some grown children are moving back home due to life circumstances. Would realtors selling the houses down the road have to adhere to the 55+ ago for potential buyers? Is there a time limit for these to be only 55+ or does the house have to be sold to other 55+ buyers when the original owners die?
Truepat · August 9, 2019 at 11:03 am
At Belmont in Loudoun County, Toll Brothers required homeowners to sell their houses back to Toll Brothers the first 3 years of ownership to maintain the integrity they envisioned. How would the Supervisors monitor the age of the homeowners? Would a potential secondary buyer have to submit proof of age or would the Supervisors be happy with the stipend offered and ignore the future buyers? Could buyers meeting the age requirement be allowed to let their children and grandchildren live with them?
Rusty Wheel · August 9, 2019 at 9:13 am
this county is a retirement community the numbers no surprise confirm it

we want farms and retirement homes - if we wanted business we'd need workers, customers, broadband and great schools for kids

change n growth are for others who want change n growth
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