Middleburg Considers Boundary Line Adjustment for Entry-Level Housing
The future is calling Middleburg, and now is the time for residents to seriously think about how they want to answer that call.
Affordable and entry-level housing is increasingly scarce in the city, creating a problem for service staff, teachers and restaurant staff. This problem has been exacerbated by the recent housing crisis in our country, which has seen the cost of the average rent increase by 12.7% since 2019 in Loudoun County, according to a recent report by The Washington Post. This increase, coupled with the scarcity of housing options within the city limits, is straining young residents who work and therefore want to live in or near the city.
On Tuesday April 19, Mayor Trowbridge Littleton held a City Council Public Information Session to present and discuss proposals from two landowners interested in having their land or parts of their land annexed to the City through a process officially called “Boundary Line Adjustment”. (BLA).” This meeting and several others to be held in the coming months are Council’s efforts to present the details of these proposals to the community, obtain feedback and input from residents, and answer any questions.
The mayor’s presentation is available as a PDF file. You can also download the full PowerPoint presentation to see the animated maps/graphs (requires Microsoft PowerPoint).
These two proposals come from two different entities, and both call for the extension of the City limits. Between these two proposals, an additional 55 acres of property would be added to the city with the idea that these acres would help increase affordable housing options and green spaces within the city limits.
On the west side of town, the Windy Hill Foundation, a non-profit organization, is looking to turn Maggie Bryant’s former estate into an affordable housing community.
On the east side, Homewood Farms wants to develop 22 acres of property on Foxcroft Road, east of Salamander and Wolver Hill, and develop a housing community with condominiums, townhouses and small cottage-style homes. Homewood Farms already owns 15 acres in the city, and this project would add 22 acres to their properties.
Middleburg’s changing demographics present challenges
These proposals could help solve Middleburg’s current housing problems, which have been in the works for decades. A look at the City’s demographic fluctuations illustrates these concerns.
Mayor Littleton provided an overview of some demographic statistics in his presentation. In 1970, the city had 833 inhabitants. Fifty-two years later, the city has 870 people, after suffering declines in 1990 (549 people) and 2010 (673). Middleburg’s population has not grown the same as the rest of Loudoun County, and the main reason for this is a lack of entry-level housing. While the average age of Loudoun County’s population is 36, the average age of Middleburg residents is 50–52.
Although Middleburg has a reputation for being a deeply caring community, the fact remains that it does not offer the type of housing options that would accommodate a larger and younger population, which hampers growth. and the vitality of the city.
As smaller, older homes are sold, they are torn down and replaced with larger estate-type homes. From 1973 to today, the ratio of square feet per person has increased from 550 square feet per person to 1100 square feet per person.
The average single-family home in Middleburg sells for $650,000 and townhouses for $690,000.
This kind of activity has upset the balance of the community and limited housing options for young residents. Although Salamander Station originally planned to build housing for its workforce, it did not. Workforce/Teacher Housing approved under Salamander was approved in 2007: Workforce/Teacher Housing. The average teacher salary is currently around $57,000 per year. It is estimated that there is a need for over 70 units just for teachers in the Middleburg area.
Windy Hill Foundation Proposal
This nonprofit foundation’s proposal includes using the 33 acres it seeks to develop to create 20 age-restricted units, similar to the Levis Hill community. It also includes 40 subsidized duplex/quadplex homes with subsidies based on area median income calculations. These communities will include a variety of residential services including roads, trails, safe pedestrian connectivity and access to community services.
The expense for the city would involve no capital outlay, and that community’s revenue would have to offset future expenses such as additional sewer lines and other infrastructure costs.
Homewood Truss Proposal
Homewood Farms’ proposal is for 212 acres outside of town on Foxcroft Road, east of Salamander Resort and Wolver Hill. This is the old Pettibone property. This plan would set aside 190 acres as permanent open space conservation land. The remaining 22 acres would be annexed to the city limits. They would include 66 housing units which would consist of 48 condominium units in a building of two or three stories at most, eight townhouses and ten cottage-style single-family homes. There is also a renovated barn which would have limited commercial use for events.
Access to these accommodations would be via Foxcroft Road. There would be no access off Route 50. The community would use public sewers and new pipes would need to be installed.
Community concerns and next steps
The reason for annexing these properties to the City is simply to maintain control and approval of the development of these properties. Without annexation, the City would not be able to help shape the future of these properties.
Concerns about future traffic issues, sewer capacity and noise will continue to be addressed at future town hall meetings. There is also an online form that residents can use to express their opinion on this proposal.
Continued community input is welcome.
Email: [email protected]
There will be City Council meetings: 2nd and 4th Thursdays at 6 p.m.
A follow-up meeting will take place in the coming weeks and there will be several Board meetings. The community can also provide feedback on this form.