Nov 15, 2021

Winchester, Virginia, Proposed Subdivision Draws Concerns by Neighbors Regarding Storm Water Management

One resident said a better use for the 28 acres would be to install educational trails.

storm water

An age-restricted subdivision proposed for property next to the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley in Winchester, Virginia, has received concerned commentary from neighbors.

Among some of the top concerns by residents in the area are increased traffic, poor storm water drainage and the loss of old-growth trees which will impact wildlife, reported The Winchester Star.

At a city council meeting, a few key points of the proposal were shown: a potential rezoning that would clear the way for construction of The Preserve at Meadow Branch; and a planned residential development for adults 55 and over that would include 74 single-family homes priced at $500,000 each or higher. 

If the proposal is approved, the houses would be built on a 28.26-acre parcel, according toThe Winchester Star. This parcel includes approximately 8 acres of previously undisturbed woodland.

“I’m here to ask you to use common sense when you’re considering how to move forward with The Preserve at Meadow Branch,” said Teri Merrill, a resident who lives on Seldon Drive, reported The Winchester Star. “Common sense will tell you that putting 70 or more houses on 28 acres, with 8 acres of that being virgin woods, will not preserve the tree canopy or green space that is so vital to the city.”

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“My main issues are with the current storm water management systems that will be impacted by this development,” said Jim Wilson, also of Seldon Drive, reported The Winchester Star. “The plan is to connect the underground pipe into the Williamsburg Heights system at the corner of Nester [Drive] and Bellview Avenue. Sounds good, except that existing system appears to be in questionable shape and is probably not capable of taking care of any more storm water.”

One Seldon Drive resident, Mark Leonard, said a better use for the 28 acres would be to install educational trails.

According to city officials, The Preserve at Meadow Branch would generate approximately $425,580 in local tax revenues each year, reported The Winchester Star. According to the council, the current issue it whether to add a Planned Unit Development (PUD) overlay to the 28.26 acres that are zoned Low Density Residential (LR). This addition would give the project’s developer the ability to cluster homes closer together.

Without the PUD, Councilor Corey Sullivan said the developer could go in and build as many as 79 single-family homes on the site without having to seek council’s approval, which is five more houses than would be allowed if the PUD overlay is approved.

Residents’ concerns about The Preserve at Meadow Branch will be addressed in a subdivision plan if the PUD is approved.

A second reading of the PUD proposal is expected at its next meeting on Nov. 23.

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